Rep. McDermott pays $1 M to Rep. Boehner in taped call case
Associated Press Writer
Rep. Jim McDermott has paid more than $1 million to House Minority Leader John Boehner, ending a decade-long dispute over an illegally taped telephone call.
McDermott, a Seattle Democrat, paid $1,093,297 to the Ohio Republican's campaign committee earlier this month, spokesman for the two men said Monday.
The payment is in addition to $64,000 McDermott paid Boehner in January, as part of court-ordered punitive damages in the long-running case.
A federal judge ordered McDermott to compensate Boehner for attorney's fees after Boehner sued McDermott for leaking the contents of a cell phone call that was illegally recorded in 1996.
A federal court found last year that McDermott had no right to release the call, in which Republican leaders discussed an ethics case against then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.
A Florida couple recorded the cell phone call on a radio scanner and gave the tape to McDermott, who at the time was a senior member of the House ethics committee. McDermott leaked the tape to two newspapers, which published articles on the case in January 1997.
The Supreme Court decided in December not to revisit the case.
Boehner's spokesman, Kevin Smith, said the $1.09 million payment includes $628,000 from McDermott's campaign account, and about $465,000 from McDermott's legal expense trust fund.
"Every last penny will be used to help elect Republicans," Smith said, calling it ironic that McDermott - an outspoken partisan - "is helping fund the defeat of his fellow Democrats. I wouldn't expect he'll receive a lot of thank you's come November."
McDermott, for his part, was unbowed.
"While the amount of damages assessed in this case is significant, I submit that defending the First Amendment is beyond measure and worth every penny," he said.
On the Net:
McDermott legal expense trust: http://www.mcdermottlegaltrust.com/
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