SANTA CLARITA – Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon has donated $10,000 to House colleague Rep. Tom DeLay’s legal defense fund over the past year as the embattled Texas representative and former House majority leader faces money-laundering and conspiracy charges. McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, contributed the funds through his 21st Century PAC, a political action committee through which he raises money for Republican candidates and causes, his office said Friday. The first $5,000 donation was submitted in September 2004, with another $5,000 in July. McKeon, whose district includes the heavily Republican Antelope Valley, attended a re-election breakfast fundraiser for DeLay on Thursday in Washington, D.C., but made no further donations. “He supports and wants to help Mr. DeLay and help him fight these charges, which the congressman believes are false,” said Bob Cochran, McKeon’s chief of staff. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals DeLay, 58, and two others are accused of illegally funneling $190,000 in corporate donations to 2002 Texas Legislature candidates. Under Texas law, corporate money cannot be directly used for political campaigns, only for administrative purposes. DeLay, who resigned as majority leader in the House of Representatives after indictment in September, has pleaded not guilty. Pretrial hearings are scheduled after Christmas, with trial tentatively scheduled for January. McKeon’s Washington-based PAC has dished out $342,274 so far in the 2006 election cycle, according to Opensecrets.org, a Web site that tracks political contributions. It has funneled $164,500 to House Republicans, including $5,000 to DeLay’s re-election committee in April. The group received $394,673 so far for 2006, of which $248,650 came from donors who gave $200 or more, including various business and education interests. McKeon is a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Cochran said McKeon has been a longtime ally of DeLay, working with the Texas congressman during his years as party whip beginning in 1994. DeLay served as majority leader from 2002 until he resigned. “Obviously, (McKeon’s) contributions to both his campaign committee and legal defense fund is because he supports the (former) majority leader,” Cochran said. But for local Democratic activist Bruce McFarland, it’s cronyism. “It’s just the good ol’ boys taking care of each other,” said McFarland, president of the Democratic Alliance for Action. “McKeon obviously has no fear of (not) getting re-elected. … There are a lot of people who will vote for McKeon who don’t have a clue what he’s done, good or bad. “He is just a political minion to DeLay. … I’ve never heard him come out against any Republican leader on any issue.” DeLay’s legal defense fund is flush with donations – $318,020 was received between July 1 and Sept. 30 from at least 70 individuals and 35 corporations, political action and campaign committees, according to the Web site. That’s up from the $90,650 the fund received in the first six months of 2006. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Eugene Tong, (661) 257-5253 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!