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Tom DeLay's 1.3 Million Reasons for Calling It Quits

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Wondering why Tom DeLay is so eager to pull the plug on his political career, calling it quits "sometime before mid-June"?

As is so often the case, the answer can be found by following the money.

In this morning's Washington Post, R. Jeffery Smith reports that under federal election rules DeLay is permitted to "convert any or all of the remaining funds from his reelection campaign to his legal expenses, whether or not he resigns, is indicted or loses the election. Election lawyers say one advantage of bowing out of the election now is that the campaign cash can be converted to pay legal bills immediately, instead of being drained in the course of a bid to stay in office."

Now that's what I call a money graph!

Lending credence to "the money made him do it" theory is the Hammer himself, who said of his sudden resignation: "I think I could have won this seat but it would have been nasty. It would have cost a fortune to do it."

A fortune he apparently thinks would be better spent on his pending money-laundering trial and on the federal conspiracy charges that could be heading his way. Take note: as of February 15th, DeLay had close to $1.3 million squirreled away in his campaign war chest -- 1.3 million reasons for moving out of the House sooner than later.

In his announcement, he said that following his resignation he plans "to begin focusing on the next phase of my life as a private citizen."

It looks like DeLay believes a big part of that next phase will include lots of billable time spent sitting next to lawyers.