This is a great analysis of the state of conservatives, and what yesterday’s bailout vote may mean for it’s future, The Coming Conservative Crack-up. The writer, Paul Waldman, shows how the far-right – in particular the Republicans Study Committee (RSC), of which our own John Carter is a member – is becoming less and less relevant.
The members of this group (which has more than its share of extremists and buffoons) offered as the cure to our current woes the removal of regulations on businesses and a suspension of the capital-gains tax, as though they were the congressional equivalent of those Japanese soldiers hunkered down on remote islands, unaware that the war had ended years before and that their side lost.
Not that anyone much cares what the Republican Study Committee thinks. But its desperate attempt to head off government intervention into the smoothly humming operation of the free market, comical though it might be, tells us something about what our politics will look like after this election. The conservative movement that has dominated American politics for the last three decades is sputtering toward the end of its relevance. Its various factions, so willing in the past to put their differences aside in service of the goal of obtaining and holding power, are heading for a civil war.
Waldman goes on to describe how some in the conservative movement are hoping for a “crushing loss” this election cycle like in 1964 that would then bring on a “dramatic rebirth”. Then he shows how GOP presidential nominee John McCain used the Vice Presidential nomination of Sarah Palin to shore up the third pillar (social conservatives) of conservatism – the other two being national security and business conservatives – in an attempt to once again bring them together to elect a Republican president. Putting the social conservatives at the top of the list may just bring about that crushing loss.
Bumping abortion and other social issues to the top of the Republican agenda isn’t how things are supposed to work — those issues are supposed to be the opiate for the Republican masses, doled out generously at campaign time with the understanding that they’ll have little importance once power is obtained.
With a big loss in November the foundation that those pillars stand on will be destroyed.
If McCain loses the election, each of the three main conservative factions will have a case to make about the others’ failure. The war the neocon dreamers cooked up turned out to be a disaster, one in which virtually every Republican was implicated. Future Democrats will only need to say, “Oh yeah? Well you thought the Iraq War was a good idea!” in order to put Republicans on their heels. The Palin pick will no doubt be seen as one of the worst in memory, more embarrassing than even Quayle, offering a rebuke to every social conservative who embraced her with such lip-quivering joy. And the economic disaster that came right before the 2008 election convinced nearly the entire country that deregulation failed, the free market can’t be left to its own devices, and government must be the guarantor of economic security.
In other words, all the pillars that have held up conservatism for so long are crumbling. When the dust settles, it will be difficult to know just what it means to be a conservative. Is a conservative who doesn’t proclaim the perfection of the free market and the evil of government still a conservative? What about a conservative who thinks his comrades ought to quit yapping about gay marriage and get into the 21st century? What about a conservative who wants to accede to the public’s desire for a less bellicose foreign policy?
One of the right’s greatest strengths in the last few decades was that they knew precisely what the answers to these questions were (no, no, and no, in case you’re wondering). But if they go down to defeat five weeks from now, they won’t be so sure. And nothing is less appealing to the public than a political movement that doesn’t know what it believes.
The reason this article is so important is because what it means for Texas in 2010. EOW has long contended that the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary will be a blood bath. And, with Texas usually being two years behind national trends, in 2010 those same three pillars above will more than likely be put to the test all up and down ballots across the state in GOP primary. It will also leave some opportunities for party-switching for the more sensible Republicans.
But here in Texas we have our own group like the RSC, it’s called the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute (TCCRI). If you look at the Board and Staff, it’s easy too notice some of the most extreme conservatives in the Texas Legislature, including state Rep. Dan Gattis (HD-20) from Williamson County. It’s also likely that if the Diana Maldonado’s very conservative, Gattis connected, GOP counterpart is elected, he will fit in quite nicely with this crowd. To see what they’re all about, all one has to do is check out their upcoming event, Election Integrity Luncheon.
Please join TCCRI for the first of many issue-specific policy luncheons that will feature in-depth discussion of the most important issues facing the 81st Texas Legislature. Special guest Todd Rokita, Indiana Secretary of State, will serve as keynote speaker. Secretary Rokita will address the Indiana photo identification law that was ultimately ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Other speakers include State Senator Craig Estes and State Representatives Phil King and Betty Brown
That’s right, with all the real problems we have going on right now, our state’s group of extremists and buffoons want to concentrate on the a problem they invented, a wedge issue – the sham of Voter ID. It’s a solution in search of a problem.
It’s possible losing the majority in the Texas House would be enough for the Texas GOP to take stock of it’s party and change direction. Don’t bet on it though. Instead they can wait two more years for a crushing loss and start planning their rebirth.
The latest Hutto Citizens Group (HCG) newsletter [.pdf] get’s us up-to-date on the latest with the landfill and the transmission lines. First on the landfill:
It appears that the negotiations on a revised landfill contract have stalled out and that Waste Management (WMI) won’t discuss a contract until the county authorizes permit amendment expansion application 1405-B to move forward at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). In the opinion of the Hutto Citizens Group (HCG), moving the permit forward at TCEQ with WMI’s name on it as Operator or Site Operator would be a disaster for the county and its citizens, because TCEQ’s approval of the permit amendment in that form would give WMI total control of the landfill, which also would mean that WMI would have no incentive to negotiate seriously on a revised contract that would be more beneficial for the county than the current contract (approved in 2003) now in effect.
In essence WMI’s case is they won’t negotiate unless the county gives up it’s leverage. What will the commissioners do? Well one thing they should do is seriously pursue an appeal against Judge Carnes’ ruling against the county.
Media reports, including interviews conducted by reporters with county representatives as well as members of the HCG, indicate that the county is simply leaving itself the option of following up with a serious appeal, but not committing to do so at the present time.
However, for the county to preserve the ability to move forward with an appeal without actually pursuing the appeal seriously makes little sense, if that actually is what is happening. What is the upside to a motion which would “reserve the right” to appeal if an appeal isn’t going to be seriously pursued? The intervenors are moving forward with their appeal because of a belief that there is excellent legal basis for doing so, and there appears to be no good reason why the county shouldn’t do the same.
The intervenors of course include the HCG. Also in the newsletter they go through recent PUC vote adopting the LCRA/Oncor Energy path of transmission lines through Hutto.
In addition to rubber-stamping the so-called “fishhook” route which will run along Limmer Loop and proximate to some Hutto ISD facilities, the commissioners also endorsed the location of the much-criticized, transmission-level substation on the west side of Hutto which sits adjacent to a residential subdivision. Noise from the substation facility is expected to be significant as it is enlarged to handle the higher electric loads.
The HCG is not happy that their proposed solution wasn’t even considered.
The City of Hutto and Hutto Citizens Group, who intervened in the case, in addition to Hutto-area citizens, previously had asked the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), the LCRA, and the PUC to utilize right-of-way on the east side of SH-130 for the route of the lines, using monopole structures. However, when SOAH issued its Proposal for Decision (PFD), none of the six proposed routes included included the SH-130 scenario.
The omission of the Hutto citizens’ preferred route from the PFD occurred despite the major effort to have it included. As explained to the PUC commissioners at the meeting on September 11 by John Gordon, the expert witness for the City of Hutto and the HCG, his testimony regarding the preferred route at the SOAH hearing went without challenge through cross examination, yet Hutto’s view was dismissed, and the SH-130 route was not included among the six proposed routes.
Another interesting part is who did, and didn’t, show up to help the citizens of Hutto.
This unfortunate result–ignoring the preferred route along SH-130 using monopole structures–didn’t occur because Hutto failed to state its case at the SOAH hearing or at the PUC meeting on September 11. Gordon spelled out the situation clearly at SOAH, and at the PUC meeting on Thursday a retinue of speakers re-stated Hutto’s position. Those speakers included candidates for state representative from District 52 (Diana Maldonado, Democrat, and Brian Daniel, Republican), a candidate for the position of county attorney in Williamson County (Jaime Lynn, Democrat), the mayor pro-tem of the City of Hutto (David Begier), a Hutto city councilman (Felix Madrid) and the HCG president (Steven Salfelder). In addition to those speakers, also present supporting the Hutto position were Hutto city council members Debbie Holland and Ronnie Quintanilla-Perez, and Ed Broussard, the Hutto city manager.
Absent from the September 11 meeting at the PUC were the Williamson County attorney (Jana Duty), the Williamson County judge (Dan Gattis, Sr.), and the Williamson County Precinct 4 county commissioner (Ron Morrison). In fact, no elected official representing Williamson County was present.
The involvement of Bell County in the transmission line issue presents an interesting contrast to Williamson County. As referenced at the PUC meeting on September 11, Bell County Precinct 2 Commissioner Tim Brown worked successfully to get monopole structures along part of the transmission line route.
Elected officials that show up to help the people that elect them. Maybe our elected officials in Williamson County should try that? Instead of just helping those who fund their campaigns. And, with or without their help the HCG will continue to fight.
This issue involving the SH-130 route isn’t over. LCRA still must acquire right-ofway
for the route adopted by the PUC, and now that the details have been revealed regarding the mistake which was made, the LCRA directors obviously have a moral obligation to take a look at what can be done to fix what went wrong.
It’s certain that the HCG will insist that the LCRA directors look into this matter and provide an answer, including explaining how such an error could have occurred, and what will be done to fix it.
And after the election, with two new commissioners and new County Attorney, they will be able to get their elected officials to help as well. Accountability comes in November.
County Attorney Jana Duty responded to the Williamson County Sun regarding Callie Enlow’s front-page bombshell detailing information about her campaign contributions. Duty wrote a letter to the editor (LTE) entitled “Setting record straight”. It didn’t do that, and appeared to raise even more questions. It’s not surprising that a GOP candidate in Williamson County would react like this, becoming defensive, when they see their record in print. The Williamson County Sun is to be commended for exposing the influence of campaign contributions in local politics, and one hopes it is not the last we hear on this subject.
We must keep in mind that, as the “Editor’s Note” below her LTE points out, Duty never returned calls to her office to report her side of the story before the article went to print. In other words it appears this is how Duty wanted to handle this type of news – lashing out after the fact. In her lede, Duty points to “many inaccuracies, misleading information and obvious implications of improper conduct that are false and need correction”. Duty states she did not hold a fundraiser and wants to know how it was “verified”. Her involvement in a fundraiser for Justice Law, soon after a favorable ruling by the 3rd Court of Appeals that involved Law, had been reported twice before in the Austin Chronicle, without refutation. That added to the fact that she wouldn’t return phone calls makes it pretty clear that being on the fundraising committee and having her assistant, Vickie Vickers, coordinating the fundraiser would at least make her involved. This appears to be a matter of semantics and not an inaccuracy.
After that, Duty’s case fizzles. Only the defensiveness of her tone increases. She puts quotation marks around “suspicious light”, implying that the phrase is taken verbatim from the Enlow article, even though the word suspicious is never used. Guilty conscience perhaps? She takes offense to Enlow’s mentioning, without comment, her $40,000 personal loan to her campaign. But there’s nothing wrong with pointing out that Duty’s $100,000-plus campaign warchest is “staggering” and “unusual”. Because in Williamson County, for a County Attorney’s race, that kind of money is unprecedented.
The main question about her $40,000 loan is how she intends to pay herself back. Generally speaking, when candidates loan themselves money and then win, they are allowed to pay themselves back from campaign funds. Therefore all she would have to do is collect more contributions next cycle, sell more influence in 2009-2010, to repay the loan. It is essentially an indicator of future corruption.
She then tries to rationalize her non-suspicious take from “lawyers, engineers, contractors, and business people” by using the cynical ploy that “all candidates do”. Then she has the temerity to wonder why the Democrats finances are not being scrutinized as are those of the Republicans. Her opponent, Jaime Lynn, at the time of the July filing, had around 1 percent as much cash on hand as Duty. The Democratic candidate for Precinct 3 Commissioner, Greg Windham, is at a decided money disadvantage as well to the status quo incumbent. The Democratic candidate for Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Grimes is not accepting corporate or PAC money, as well as no individual contribution of over $250. That’s probably why their donations weren’t scrutinized. And no, it’s not a partisan witch hunt, since the three GOP candidates are the only ones getting campaign contributions from those that currently get work from the county.
Granted, the facts reported by the Sun reveal no illegal activity by the three GOP elected officials spotlighted. However, it is extremely important that the voters in Williamson County know who is funding their campaings, whose interests they will be representing, before deiciding who they should vote for in this election. Accountability comes in November.
News 8 has started their online video “debates”, (video and written transcript available). This one between Democratic challenger Jaime Lynn and Incumbent Republican Jana Duty, and the race for Williamson County Attorney.
Williamson County Attorney candidates Jaime Lynn (D) and Jana Duty (R) discuss contracted operations, the animal shelter, their open government views and other topics.
Be sure and check it out.
The Texas Progressive Alliance had another great week discussing the politics of Texas and the nation. Here are some of the best of those posts:
The Texas Cloverleaf has the new Palin plan for foreign experience: sitting pretty with puppets.
CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme says welcome to the United States of Corporate Greed.
Dembones at Eye On Williamson posts on the Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) and their status quo endorsements for the November election, TAR needs to be tarred and feathered.
The past week has been one filled with brilliant people trying desperately to accomplish what is extremely difficult (namely, keeping the US out of a depression) and some exceptionally (some might say BREATHTAKINGLY) stupid people who are narrowly focused on the last shreds of a failed ideology. And their own egos. We at McBlogger have done our best to keep up with all the ups. And downs. First up are the always cretinous folks from the American Enterprise Institute who decided to blame the wrong people for the failures of their own plans. Then there was Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R -unfortunately from Texas) who decided his supercharged ego and underpowered little rat-brain had something useful to add. He found out pretty quickly that wasn’t the case.
Off the Kuff projects what the Houston Chronicle endorsements for November will look like.
A majority of voters thought Obama won the first debate, but all the media pundits could talk about was what a great job McCain did. jobsanger wonders what debate the “Talking Heads” were watching.
North Texas Liberal led an interesting discussion on John McCain’s brief campaign suspension.
Vince at Capitol Annex notes that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has refused to answer whether or not the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts should be subject to the Texas Public Information Act and discusses why that was a really stupid move.
Neil at Texas Liberal did not allow the dent in his car to be fixed by the guy who solicited him for the work in a parking lot. That’s just the type of post-hurricane scam people are being warned about.
Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News does not like Bush and McCain’s response to the Wall Street crisis. He has someitems he wants included in a bailout bill and not bags of money thrown at the problem.
Democrats hope to break Republican grip in Williamson County. The article starts by showing the contrast in excitement level between the two campaigns.
In a strip center off Interstate 35, there’s an excitement at the shared headquarters for Williamson County’s fledgling Democratic Party and Texas House candidate Diana Maldonado.
On a recent weekday afternoon, about a dozen party and campaign workers were organizing a revolt of sorts — the first election of a Democrat in this county in a decade.
Meanwhile, at a campaign office in downtown Round Rock, the mood was more low-key for Maldonado’s Republican opponent, Bryan Daniel, who exuded the confidence of a team that thinks it still has home-field advantage.
Democrats are busy raising expectations.
Richard Torres, chairman of the Williamson County Democratic Party, said 33,000 of the 44,000 voters in the March Democratic primary were first-time Democratic voters.
GOP officials say some Republicans were attracted to the showdown between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton because Sen. John McCain had wrapped up the Republican presidential nomination by then. But a portion of those voters reflect the huge influx of new voters from out of state and from Austin.
The Maldonado camp is drilling through that voter data to find the Democratic bedrock on which to build victory.
“We’re very serious and very committed to winning the seat,” said Maldonado, who quit her job with the state comptroller’s office to campaign full time.
This looks like one side is working very, doing everything it can to make sure it wins, and the other side is just laying back and expecting to win. They have differences of opinion when it comes to education. One wants to fund it, the other one was to continue to defund it.
Daniel said property taxes are the top issue. Maldonado, a former president of the Round Rock school board, said it’s education.
In some ways, those issues are two sides of the same coin in a fast-growing county where good schools are a magnet for growth but make big demands on property taxes.
Daniel is proposing a revenue cap for schools, cities, the county and other taxing entities. Local officials would have to ask voters if they wanted to exceed the revenue limits.
Daniel said taxpayers are seeking predictability in their tax bills. “They’re asking, ‘How am I going to know how high my taxes will be?’ ” he said.
Maldonado cited her school board experience and Forbes magazine’s recent rating of Williamson County schools as ninth in the nation. The magazine praised the local schools for delivering “the best bang for the buck.”
“I have a proven track record of giving back to the community,” Maldonado said.
To keep local schools strong, Maldonado said, “we need to invest in our children on the front end. The Republican leadership is starving public education.”
And they point out the sleazy trick the insurance salesman used against local boy Dee Hobbs in the GOP primary.
Although this is his first race, Daniel, a former congressional aide, demonstrated some sharp elbows to win a GOP runoff in the spring. He painted his opponent — a prosecutor — as anti-gun although the opponent had simply failed to fill out a questionnaire by a statewide gun organization.
While there’s a lot of money tied up in this race, no one’s gone up with TV and radio yet, but it’ll probably come soon. While Maldonado’s getting money from many Democratic donors, Daniel is getting money from those interested in the status quo, particularly those who want Tom Craddick reelected Speaker of the House.
The Maldonado team is not being lulled into a typical campaign.
Her campaign bank account — at $129,748 — was four times larger than Daniel’s in July. But she was unopposed in the Democratic primary while Daniel had to spend money to defeat three Republican opponents.
Maldonado is promising a full-blown campaign, including television ads, and last week touted her fundraising success with the Capitol crowd. (The finance reports aren’t due until Oct. 6, but Maldonado told the Quorum Report that she had raised $60,000 at an event hosted by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, and an additional $50,000 from Blue Texas, a new Democratic committee that has pledged to raise $1 million, primarily for state legislative races.)
Daniel is not expected to be hurting for money. Although he said he has not pledged to support Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick’s re-election to that leadership post, Daniel said he does confer with the Midland Republican.
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers are challenging Craddick for the speaker job, so he needs every available legislator to win a fourth term. Toward that end, Craddick has demonstrated the willingness to donate tens of thousands of dollars of his own political money to help legislative candidates and to direct others to do the same.
Daniel, who said he remains uncommitted, said speaker politics isn’t much of an issue locally: “It’s not a topic most voters care about.”
Let there be no doubt this is a pivotal race for the Democrats to take back the Texas House. And electing Diana Maldonado will guarantee a Craddick ally is not elected to the house. Whether it’s a topic voters care about or not, the Speaker race is definitely important and shows who will own Brian Daniel if he’s elected – it won’t be his constituents, it’ll be Craddick. Accountability comes in November.
Revelations that much of the money in local politics is provided by the same folks that receive contracts from Williamson county does not come as a great shock to regular readers of this blog. However, the recent article in the Williamson County Sun, Judge Law’s campaign funds face questioning, Ethics complaint raises questions about Wilco, will bring the story to a very different audience. The fallout from that is yet to be determined, but one cannot help feeling that the accountability moment for the shady behavior is rapidly approaching.
UPDATE: EyeOnWilliamson.org is hearing that Lisa Birkman is not taking phone calls and Jana Duty has taken a leave of absence.
There’s one thing the WCS left out that needs to be made perfectly clear. Every single elected official/candidate running for reelection mentioned in the article is a Republican. Reporter Callie Enlow was meticulously detailed in every other aspect. The word “Republican” appears exactly once in the entire 1200-word piece, and that was to name TRMPAC in describing TPJ’s complaint.
The article contains only one other party reference, that of Democratic candidate for County Attorney Jaime Lynn. Make no mistake about it. This is a Republican scandal that spans all levels of government. It is time they owned up to their failures.
Another thrust of the article which needs to be highlighted is not just the money connection between Republican County Attorney Jana Duty and Republican Chief Justice of the Third Court of Appeals, who is under an ethics cloud. (See this EOW post from last week, Ethics Complaint Filed Against 3rd Court of Appeals Chief Justice W. Kenneth Law). But the relationship – as previously reported in the Austin Chronicle by Patricia J. Ruland, Appeals Court Rules Against WilCo Constable: The fight continues – as it pertains to the county’s fight with Constable Gary Griffin. There are possible conflicts between Chief Justice Law, 3rd Court of Appeals Justice David Puryear and County Attorney Jana Duty:
Maybe it’s politics as usual in Williamson Co., including the connections underlying the 3rd Court’s opinion. First, there’s the obligatory county official family tie – 3rd Court Justice David Puryear‘s son Geoffrey works as an attorney under County Attorney Jana Duty. Duty’s assistant, Vickie Vickers, coordinated a Dec. 13 Georgetown fundraiser for 3rd Court Chief Justice Ken Law, held only a couple of weeks after the opinion was issued (a fundraiser announcement dated Nov. 28 – the same day as the court’s ruling – listed Duty and Sheriff James Wilson as committee members). Law also reportedly sandwiched in appearances at the Republican Women’s Club and the local GOP’s Christmas shindig right after the opinion’s release. The timing alone suggests that Law, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, might have considered recusing himself from the court’s decision, and perhaps Puryear as well.
Politics as usual in Williamson County. With all of that happening in such close proximity to the 3rd Court of Appeals ruling on the case it raises even more questions. Cozy relationships between judges and county officials, as well as the fact that so much money is coming in to our current elected officials from those that get work from the elected officials is not what the people of Williamson Count voted for.
I was asked recently, “How does Duty plan to explain all of this?” My response was, she probably doesn’t and won’t unless she perceives that her reelection is in trouble. The GOP, since they’ve been ruling Williamson County, have never “explained” things to the voters. They know what’s best for us and will tell us what we need to know when they deem it’s appropriate. The only way to guarantee she gets the message is to elect Jaime Lynn in November. Also we must elect Mike Grimes and Greg Windham too. Accountability comes in November.
AAS is reporting:
Former Georgetown police Sgt. Jimmy Fennell was sentenced this morning to 10 years in prison for kidnapping and two years in state jail for improper sexual activity with a person in custody. The sentences will run concurrently
Updates to follow.
[UPDATE]: Fennell’s victim is suing, Woman sues police, Fennell over sex assault.
[UPDATE]: Williamson County DA John Bradley hints at corruption, via News 8:
District Attorney John Bradley said this case would have been difficult to take to trial due to bad investigative work on behalf of the Georgetown Polce Dept.
He indicated that there was corruption at work and that Fennell had been in charge of his own investigation and had altered evidence to protect himself.
Looks like GTPD has some questions to answer.
[UPDATE]: Best I can tell, from the video of KVUE’s report he will have to serve at least a minimum of 2 years in state prison for the sexual assault. And he got 10 years for the kidnapping, although they said he would be eligible for parole on that charge in 2 1/2 years. They also said the he will serve concurrent sentences. So my question is, to anyone out there who knows these kinds of things, does that mean he will could get out in as little as 2 1/2 years?
And MyFoxAustin has a good synopsis of the GTPD’s inaction regarding this case and also points out that Fennell may have tried this before.
A damning article about the cozy relationship between Williamson county Republicans and those who do business with county government appeared in Wednesday’s Williamson County Sun. Reporter Callie Enlow uses the ethics complaint against Texas 3rd Court of Appeals Chief Justice W. Kenneth Law as a lede into a detailed analysis of the campaign finances of County Attorney Jana Duty and Commissioners Lisa Birkman and Valerie Covey.
When Texans for Public Justice questioned last week whether local Chief Justice of Appeals Ken Law collected contributions outside of the law, the government watchdog group thrust other Williamson County candidates’ fundraising into the spotlight as well.
Regrettably, no online link to the article is currently available. The story is familiar to our regular readers, but Enlow’s words in print are likely to reach an entirely new audience, with potential ramifications for the Republicans whose finances were “thrust… into the spotlight.”
Enlow first examined Duty’s July campaign contribution and expenditure report, the most recent available. “Ms. Duty showed a staggering $103,611 in her fund. Ms. Duty loaned herself $40,000 between March 31 and June 27 this year,” Enlow reported.
Chasco Contractors founder Chaz Glace and his wife were identified as major contributors, giving $23,000 to Duty. Williamson county has awarded several large contracts to Chasco.
In Williamson County, Chasco is attached to a number of road and building construction projects, including Ronald Reagan Boulevard North Phase 1, Limmer Loop Phase 1, Lakeline Ranch Townhomes and the liner for Williamson County Landfill. As county attorney, Ms. Duty reviews contracts that Chasco would enter into with the county to provide these services.
Enlow identified other names from Duty’s campaign reports that do business with the county:
Robert Wunsch, developer of La Frontera, the 382-acre mixed use site straddling Williamson; Tim Timmerman, President of Commerce Property of Texas; and Steve Kallman of SD Kallman engineers all donated more than $1,000 to Ms. Duty’s two campaigns.
The stain then spreads to other Republicans currently seeking re-election:
Those three men also donated to the re-election campaigns of precinct commissioners Lisa Birkman and Valerie Covey. Many more developers, engineers and political action committee (PAC) donations peppered both candidates’ reports.
Enlow then ticks off a list of PACs who are funding Precinct 1 Commissioner Lisa Birkman’s campaign:
Hallf Associates PAC, HDR PAC, HNTB PAC, LAN PAC and TCB (Turner Collier Braden) PAC all donated more than $20,000 in contributions from political action committees or individuals associated with developinent-based businesses.
The list gets even longer when examining Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey’s campaign finance report:
In addition, [Covey] reported donations from Bob Gregory, owner of Texas Disposal Systems landfill and Don Bourn, CEO of Bourn Partners, a Phoenix-based development corporation. Bourn Partners are currently developing Westinghouse Pointe in Georgetown and have previously completed Longhorn Junction and Williamsburg Village.
Completing the tie-in back to the Ken Law complaint, Enlow quoted the Director of Texans for Public Justice, a group that describes itself on its web site as “a non-partisan, non-profit policy and research organization which tracks the influence of money and corporate power in Texas politics.”
Craig McDonald, Director of Texans for Public Justice said, “generally in Texas campaign money flows from people who want favors out of their elected officials. It’s no surprise, particularly in a rapidly growing county like Williamson, that many donations come from sources close to development. Anyone with ethical standards finds that troubling.”
It is troubling indeed. Enlow and the Sun are to be commended for their reporting. The September 24 issue is a must-have. Get it now and read the entire article. EyeOnWilliamson.org will have much more to say about this article soon.
From the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) on why her race matters:
Diana Maldonado is running on an agenda to improve public education, expand access to health care, and build responsible transportation infrastructure in the state. She represents one more of the five seats that Democrats need to win to take back control of the House.
They’ve endorsed Chris Turner (HD-96) as well. More from PolitickerTX, Maldonado, Turner named ‘Essential Races’.
Two Democrats in competitive state House races have been named to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee’s list of “Essential Races.” The DLCC is a national organization that helps Democrats win state legislative contests.
On Wednesday, it announced its support of Diana Maldonado, the former Round Rock school board president running for state representative in House District 52. Earlier this week, the DLCC added Chris Turner to its list. Turner, a former aide to U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Waco), is locked in a tight contest with state Rep. Bill Zedler, an Arlington Republican.
The DLCC recognizes and supports candidates in competitive contests. The organization will identify at least 40 Democrats this fall and is asking supporters to suggest an additional 10 candidates.
The DLCC will provide strategic and communications support, as well as improve candidates’ visibility, said communications director Matt Compton. The DLCC may also offer financial support, but that has yet to be determined.
Both Maldonado and Turner were selected because of the strength of their campaigns, according to Compton, and the fact Democrats need only five more seats to take control of the Texas House of Representatives.
“We are pleased that the DLCC has recognized our campaign as a key race this year,” Jill Simkin, Tuner’s campaign manager, told PolitickerTX.com. “With our strong fundraising and grassroots operation, we are well-positioned to win this race and help bring the change we need to Austin.”
Maldonado’s campaign manager Genevieve Van Cleve said, “This endorsement is an indication of how critical Diana Maldonado’s race is to the state. It also underscores the momentum of the campaign.”
More great news for the Maldonado campaign this week.
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