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Archive for October 5th, 2009

Tom Craddick, the former Speaker of the Texas House and currently a Republican  incumbent Texas House Member, has given money to his favorite incumbent Democratic Representatives. So, what’s the problem? Craddick laundered the money through a PAC instead of a direct contribution. In response, Texans for Public Justice, a political advocacy group, has filed a formal complaint to the Texas Ethics Commission, claiming this is illegal.

Here’s what happened: Craddick gave $250,000 to the Texas Jobs & Opportunity Build A Secure Future PAC (Jobs PAC) on January 10, 2008, along with instructions to distribute the money to incumbent Democratic Representatives; Kevin Bailey, Dawnna Dukes, Kino Flores, and Aaron Pena. Each representative was offered $50,000. All the Representatives, except Dukes who was wary of already existing criticism about ties to Craddick from her opponent, accepted the money.
According to Texas Campaign Finance laws (Texas Election Code Chapter 253.001), contributing money through any intermediary organization without disclosing its original source is illegal. However, it probably happens more than voters will ever know, as it does not leave a paper trail back to the original contributor.

Texans for Public Justice Director Craig McDonald says: “Tom Craddick wanted to move tens of thousands of dollars to his favorite Democrats without letting voters know. Hiding the true source of campaign funds is illegal. Craddick could have contributed the money directly and openly. Instead, he used Texas Jobs to launder his money and keep Texans in dark.” This issue, therefore, deals with more than disregarding Campaign Finance Laws; this is behavior that also leads to voter ignorance.

And here comes the rub with most campaign finance problems: it’s not necessarily the recipients who are at fault here.  Craddick, in an attempt at political payback, gave money to those who had voted for him as Speaker.  As in most cases with campaign finance laws, we walk a very fine line between bribery, kickbacks, etc and legitimate donations.  The public can’t know what was in the mind and heart of Rep Craddick, much less those of Bailey, Pena, and Flores (who, we should note, none of whom voted for Craddick’s re-election for Speaker in 2009)– BUT only by instituting a system of public financing can we be certain that our candidates are running clean and are only representing the wishes of their constituents.  I think it would be a great step forward for public confidence in elections and also rid our elected officials of the task of fundraising, something not one elected official I know claims to like.  Win-Win-Win.

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round upThe Texas Political Alliance hopes that everyone reading this today has ensured they are registered to vote in the November election, as the deadline for doing so is Monday, October 5.

The Texas Cloverleaf reviews proposed changes to the city of Denton’s charter that will be on the November ballot.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notices Rick Perry has had a busy week what with Channeling Glenn Beck and messing up a wrongful execution investigation.

TXsharon had a hard time keeping up with all the fracking, moving, shaking and gasping for toxic air in the Barnett Shale this week so there is a BS recap that includes a recently released URGENT alert for all current and former residents of DISH–formerly Clark–Texas to complete and submit a health survey.

Bay Area Houston wonders what $640 a frickin hour buys you in Houston Mayor’s race.

If a Republican holds an on-line event, will they properly provision for the people who want to join it? McBlogger’s pretty sure they won’t and isn’t terribly surprised that they blamed it on the nefarious actions of others.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the Gov. Perry’s latest outrage. It’s another example of why Texas needs accountability in our state’s government, Perry’s pride and the Willingham case.

This week on Left of College Station, Teddy writes about why he gets up early on Saturday mornings to escort patients at Planned Parenthood; guest blogger Litia writes about the frustrations they fell while trying to get students to participate in class at Texas A&M. Left of College Station also covers the week in headlines.

XicanoPwr is encouraging people to vote for Prop 4, the “national research university” proposition, on Nov 3. Texas currently has three flagship universities – The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and Rice University – compared to states such as California, with nine, and New York, with seven. If passed, it would allow seven “emerging universities” – Texas Tech, University of Houston, University of North Texas, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at El Paso and University of Texas at San Antonio – tap into a $500 million education fund to help them be part of the elite three and “achieve national prominence” as a major research university.

WhosPlayin’ has video from Denton County’s “Donkeyfest” where candidates John Sharp for U.S. Senate and Neil Durrance for U.S. Congress spoke.

Off the Kuff has a simple suggestion for how Governor Perry and Williamson County DA John Bradley can counter the perception that Perry’s elevation to Chair of the Texas Forensic Sciences Commission was a blatantly political move designed to bury the findings of the Cameron Todd Willingham case: Reschedule the meeting that the Commission was going to hold before Perry’s maneuver.

Neil at Texas Liberal offered a post this week about the famous Dogs Playing Poker paintings. These paintings have been around for more than 100 years now. How many of our blog posts will last in any meaningful respect beyond next week?

The Doctorate of Shadetree Psychology is hereby awarded to PDiddie of Brains and Eggs, for his compelling dissertation that Rick Perry is a sociopath.

At TexasKaos, Libby Shaw gives Senators Hutchison and Cornyn a chance to put up or shut up . If government health care is so horrible, so “socialist”, give up your govenment coverage. Read the rest here: Senators Hutchison and Cornyn: Get Us What You Have or Give Up Yours.

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