WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been subpoenaed to testify in a Texas civil lawsuit about his role in using government resources to track down Democratic legislators who fled the state during last year's bitter redistricting dispute.
The subpoena was delivered Wednesday to the Texas Republican's attorneys in Houston after a failed attempt to serve him personally, said Lon Burnam, the Democratic state lawmaker from Fort Worth who filed the lawsuit.
The subpoena calls for DeLay to give a deposition Monday.
"This is a cheap publicity stunt on something that has no connection to Tom DeLay," Jonathan Grella, a spokesman for DeLay, said Thursday. "It's a frivolous matter that's already been rendered moot and everyone should consider the source."
Burnam said there is a "litany of questions with regard to misuse of public funds" to pursue Democratic members of the Texas House who fled to Ardmore, Okla., and DeLay's role in searching for them.
More than 50 state House Democrats, including Burnam, went to Oklahoma in May 2003 to prevent the quorum needed to pass a congressional redistricting map engineered by Republicans and pushed by DeLay.
Texas state troopers were dispatched to find the Democrats and return them
to Austin. The House ethics committee on Oct. 6 admonished DeLay for asking
the Federal Aviation Administration to locate a plane owned by one of
the fleeing lawmakers.
Burnam's suit alleges that the Texas Department of Public Safety destroyed documents detailing their efforts to apprehend legislators and that its troopers had no lawful authority to arrest the Democrats.
© Copyright 2004 Associated Press