Saturday, February 24, 2018

#TXLEGE: Past few days illustrate EXACTLY why Sullivan left Austin


"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 5:10

We've said our piece about the stupidity of the Charlie Geren campaign's criminal complaint against Michael Quinn Sullivan.  It's laughably absurd.  But, in a discussion with the Texas Monitor about the Geren campaign's action, Sullivan makes a point that deserves further elaboration:
It only amplifies what we’ve been saying all along about the weaponizing of the criminal justice system in Travis County.
BINGO.

A few years back, during a previous round of politicized intimidation, Michael Quinn Sullivan moved to Denton county specifically to escape the jurisdiction of the Travis County DA and the hack Democrat judges in Travis County.

With another frivolous complaint percolating in the Travis County DA, it would seem that Sullivan's original motivation to leave town has been vindicated (again).

To be certain: Given his professional responsibilities, Sullivan does come through town from time to time (usually towards the end of legislative sessions and prior to elections).  But he doesn't live here.  Anybody who actually does live here can tell you that.

Bottom Line:  Adding yet another featherbrained political prosecution to the mix does nothing but confirm everything Michael Quinn Sullivan has ever said about the Travis County DA and the hack judges in this town.

Friday, February 23, 2018

#TXLEGE: Public Sector Unions for Charlie Geren


Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
1 Corinthians 15:33

In working on a longer piece about Charlie Geren (probably out tomorrow), we noticed interesting tidbits on the "endorsements" section of his campaign website:



Bottom Line: If you're wondering why so much of the conservative agenda seems to stall out session after session, look no further than the pro-big government special interest groups supporting leading "Republicans"....

Thursday, February 22, 2018

#TXLEGE: Campaign that filed false CPS report last cycle files frivolous criminal complaint this cycle


"A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones."
Proverbs 17:22

One of this website's longstanding frustrations with Republican campaigns is the lack of creative thinking.  We tend to use the same, stale, rhetoric over and over again...then we wonder why large segments of the population tune us out.  In that spirit, we welcome Empower Texans' recent mailer in the Charlie Geren/Bo French race.

At its core, the mailer is about Charlie Geren's decade plus sexual relationship with a (female) lobbyist.  True, he finally did marry the poor girl last year.  But, prior to that, they had been living in sin for a long, long time.

The satirical mailer purported to be from the "Texas Ethics Disclosure Board," an obviously fictitious entity.  It gave voters written "NOTICE" that Charlie and Mindy have engaged in a decade long sexual relationship, then listed several of Mindy's lobby clients.  Honestly, we wish we'd thought of it.

But you know an attack has been effective when it begets this level of ludicrous overreaction:
A criminal complaint against Empower Texans, a conservative group that mailed out an attack ad resembling an official government notice that targeted GOP state Rep. Charlie Geren, is “under review” by the Travis County District Attorney’s office, The Texas Tribune has learned.

A person who self-identified as a Tarrant County voter sent a letter to the DA’s office alleging that the group ran afoul of a criminal law that prohibits people from posing as government authorities, correspondence obtained by the Tribune shows. Mindy Montford, Travis County's first assistant district attorney, confirmed that her office had received a complaint about the group on Tuesday.

The controversial mailer attacks Geren for his “relationship” with a lobbyist — who happens to be his wife, Mindy Ellmer. What voters see in bold letters when they open the mail piece is “NOTICE,” above a slightly smaller font that says, “Of Relationship With Registered Lobbyist.” Then it lists Ellmer's long list of corporate lobby clients.

The mailer purports to come from the “Texas Ethics Disclosure Board,” an official-sounding name that Empower Texans registered with the Secretary of State's office late last month. There is no such government agency, though there is a Texas Ethics Commission that polices campaign and lobbyist disclosure rules.

....

"They're trying to deceive my constituents," said Geren, a top target of the group. The longtime Fort Worth lawmaker, one of outgoing House Speaker Joe Straus' top lieutenants, said the advertisement was designed to look official.

"It looks like it's coming from a state agency and it's not," Geren said. "A guy at church handed it to me and said what is this. I said it's another lie by Empower Texans, and he said, 'Well it looked real.' "

The complaint alleges Empower Texans may have violated a provision of the Texas Penal Code, under section 37.11, which prohibits people from posing as government officials. Specifically, the law says a person commits a third degree felony if he “knowingly purports to exercise any function of a public servant or of a public office, including that of a judge and court, and the position or office through which he purports to exercise a function of a public servant or public office has no lawful existence under the constitution or laws of this state or of the United States.”
Obviously, the Geren campaign's position is absurd.  The law in question was designed to protect actual governmental entities.  In other words, if the mailer in question purported to be from the actual Texas "Ethics" Commission, that would have been highly illegal.

That's not what happened.

In this instance, the entity in question was not an actual governmental body.  Thus, the law in question doesn't apply.  Furthermore, fictional organizations that are not what they purport to be are nothing new in Texas politics.

[Note: That being said, this is the Travis County DA we're talking about, so anything's possible.]

But here's the kicker: Charlie Geren is the guy whose campaign operative filed a false CPS report against Bo French's family last cycle.  Now, they're filing a frivolous criminal complaint.  We've seen this movie.

Finally, not that it's relevant to the discussion, we have to include a clip from this Texas Monthly screed because it's too funny not to share:
Michael Quinn Sullivan’s Latest Stunt Aims to Undermine our Democracy

As if anyone needed further proof, MQS’s bogus mailer shows that he is no better than Russian trolls.

At a lanky six-foot-four, Michael Quinn Sullivan is hard to miss around the Capitol. And even when he’s not there, it can feel like the specter of him still is. As president and CEO of Empower Texans, he has been an organizational force among the tea party groups of Texas, feeding them misinformation about state politicians. The man is known as Mucus (a play on his initials, MQS) because he engages in yucky deceptive politics, with a win-at-any-cost philosophy. His methods, like those of the Russians who meddled in the 2016 election, foment distrust in government and diminish the desire of citizens to vote, which then primes the pump for abuse.

Sullivan’s latest political stunt is case in point. On January 28, Empower Texans, operating under the assumed name of the Texas Ethics Disclosure Board (there’s no such thing) sent postcards to voters in the Fort Worth district of Representative Charlie Geren. It read: “This notice from the Texas Ethics Disclosure Board is directed to voters in HOUSE DISTRICT 99 concerning a candidate for office who must disclose a relationship with a registered lobbyist pursuant to Tex. Gov’t Code 572.0531.” It then lists the clients of lobbyist Mindy R. Ellmer, who, it just so happens, is Geren’s wife.

The clear intent of this mailer was to mislead voters into believing that Geren had done something wrong, or at least suspect.

....

Because of their dark money, groups like Empower Texans thrive in the shadows of secrecy and misinformation, using the same kind of loopholes that allowed Russian spies to try to manipulate voters in the 2016 elections. A cockroach that dashes across a plate at a picnic only spoils a small portion of the meal, but almost everyone will throw away the entire plate of food rather than risk contamination. That is how a democracy is spoiled.
[Note: You can read the whole thing here; that being said, given that Texas Monthly was recently caught in a pay-to-play scheme for website traffic, you might want to think twice before giving them the clicks.]

Bottom Line: It's common sense.  If you don't want people to come up with creative ways to inform voters that you've had a decade long sexual relationship with a lobbyist, don't have a decade long sexual relationship with a lobbyist.  If you choose to have a decade long sexual relationship with a lobbyist, and a watchdog group informs the voters in a creative way, that's no excuse to file a bogus criminal complaint.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

#TXLEGE: Parker, Huberty illustrate Good Ol' Boy network's Entrenched Mendacity


"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage."
2 Peter 2:19

From Empower Texans:
The Texas House Republican Caucus is using its financial muscle to defend liberal lawmakers opposed by grassroots conservatives and the governor.

On Monday, the Texas House GOP tweeted its support for pro-abortion State Rep. Sarah Davis (R–West University Place) as well as State Rep. Wayne Faircloth (R–Galveston), two incumbents with anti-taxpayer voting records during their time in Austin. Both Davis and Faircloth have earned failing grades on the Fiscal Responsibility Index with Davis performing worse than two Texas Democrats.

Both are facing conservative challengers in the Republican Primary. Businessman Mayes Middleton is squaring off against Faircloth while Davis is opposed by conservative attorney Susanna Dokupil. Both challengers are gaining grassroots support and working to retire the incumbents from the Texas Legislature in the upcoming primary election on March 6th.

Both challengers also received a substantial boost earlier this year when Gov. Greg Abbott endorsed them.

....

But despite Abbott’s endorsements against the two incumbents, the House Republican Caucus, which is chaired by State Rep. Tan Parker (R–Flower Mound) and for whom State Rep. Dan Huberty (R–Kingwood) serves as PAC treasurer, took to Twitter to support the liberal lawmakers.

....

“I think it’s dumb for Tan Parker to thumb his nose at our grassroots supporters and our governor, both of whom have decided that Sarah Davis and Wayne Faircloth need to be removed from the Texas Legislature,” said Stickland. “I’ve reached out to Chairman Parker and asked that he rescind these remarks that he’s offered without consent from the caucus.”

Neither Huberty, Parker, nor the House Republican Caucus responded to requests for comment.
This is rich.

For every bad incumbent Abbott has endorsed against, he's endorsed in favor of (at least) one.   Yet they still passive-aggressively tweet at him.  But they don't put their names behind it.

To be certain: Abbott's activity is welcome in the Susanna Dokupil (v. Sarah Davis)/Chris Fails (v. Lyle Larson)/ Mayes Middleton (v. Wayne Faircloth) races.  But Abbott is leaving plenty of opportunities on the table.  That's still not good enough for the good ol' boys.

The past few years have been so difficult because we're going up against a century and a half old good ol' boy network that never received a real challenge prior to 2010.  Thus they throw tantrums anytime anyone challenges them.  Yesterday's activity on Twitter is the latest example.

It's so pathetic.

Bottom Line: To feel so-entitled to political power that you passive-aggressively tweet against the Governor when he modestly challenges it is, simultaneously, sad and revealing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

#TXLEGE: Ted Cruz ENDORSES McNutt, praises French....


"As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
Proverbs 27:17

From the first day early voting inbox.

First Thomas McNutt:
I'm honored and humbled to announce Ted Cruz has endorsed our campaign!

"We are blessed in Texas to have so many solid conservatives running for office. I’m asking Texas voters to carefully consider the choices before them this election cycle, and to stand with those who have proven themselves to be conservatives of conviction. I am proud to endorse Thomas McNutt for Texas House and urge the voters of the 8th District to join me by supporting him." 
~Senator Cruz

When EVERY campaign tries to act like the conservative choice on the ballot, it’s extremely helpful for a warrior like Senator Cruz to provide clarity on the true conservative choice.
Next, Bo French:
Sen. Cruz Applauds Bo French's Conservative Leadership
French running against Liberal Charlie Geren for Tarrant County District

(FORT WORTH)-- Today, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz released a statement praising the campaign and candidacy of Bo French for the Texas House of Representatives in District 99.

Sen. Cruz said: "Bo French has displayed a passion for his conservative principles and a commitment to his community that is not often seen in politics. Numerous trusted conservatives have endorsed his campaign, including Texas Right to Life, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, the Texas Home School Coalition, and Gun Owners of America, among many others - a testament to his hard work."

French is a businessman, rancher and investor from Fort Worth. In the primary he faces long-time incumbent Charlie Geren, who has represented the district for the past 18 years. During that time, Geren has consistently received failing grades from conservative organizations around the state such as Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and Texas Right to Life.

Sen. Cruz continued, "Bo's experience as an entrepreneur, service to his hometown of Fort Worth, and conviction in defense of his values have been widely recognized and are important characteristics in any GOP candidate."

Bo French and Charlie Geren are the only two candidates for District 99 in the Republican Primary being held on March 6, 2018. District 99 covers the northwest corner of Tarrant County. French and Geren also faced each other in the primary in 2016. The Texas House of Representatives has 150 members elected to two-year terms.
Bottom Line: Obviously, these races are no-brainers for anyone paying attention (ie. people who read this website), but Cruz's actions clarify matters for the broader public.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Texas "Medical" Association attempting to force Chiropractors out of business...AGAIN!!!


"So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship."
Acts 19:27

Gregory Johnshon is a Houston-based chiropractor with a popular YouTube Channel.  We first discussed his advocacy with the Texas Chiropractic Association, in the context of the Texas "Medical" Association's longstanding war on Chiropractors, back in August.  There have been several developments in the past few weeks, none of them good for freedom of choice for health care consumers:



Highlights:

  • Texas Chiropractors are under assault by the Texas Medical Association.
  • TMA filed (another) lawsuit to shut down chiropractors over a year ago; the appeal in that lawsuit will be heard next week in Austin.
  • Hack Travis County Democrat judge ruled in favor of TMA in the first round; the appeal will be heard in the Third Court of Appeals.
  • "I have given thousands of dollars and will continue to give thousands more [to the Chiropractic Association."
  • "We are in jeopardy of losing our professional rights in the state of Texas."
  • TMA is seeking to alter scope of practice laws to require a recommendation from a medical doctor before you could see a chiropractor.
  • "The Evil TMA."
    • Note: Have we mentioned how much we love this guy?!?
  • "The Texas Medical Association is trying to take away your right, as a citizen...to come and see a chiropractor."
  • Big Pharma supporting TMA.
  • "The TMA is trying to monopolize health care in the State of Texas."
  • If TMA is successful in Texas, it will happen in other states.
Bottom Line: Our primary objection to the Texas "Medical" Association will always be their rabid support for abortion, euthanasia in hospitals, and Obamacare.  But they do a lot of other bad things.  This assault on choice and consumer freedom cannot succeed.

#TXLEGE: Team Geren seeks to DELAY ACCOUNTABILITY for false CPS report


"Woe to those who rise early in the morning,
That they may follow intoxicating drink;
Who continue until night, till wine inflames them!"
Isaiah 5:11

[Note: Empower Texans has more here.]

From the Inbox:
Democrat Activist and Former Geren Staffer Tries to Delay Deposition

(Fort Worth, TX) On Friday, David Sorenson, the Democrat activist and former paid staffer for Representative Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) who is accused of filing a knowingly false CPS complaint against the French family sought to delay his court-ordered pre-election deposition, which is currently scheduled for next Friday, February 23.

Sorensen’s last-ditch attempt to delay his deposition until after the election began with changing legal counsel. Late Friday afternoon, Steve Maxwell entered the case as lead counsel for Sorensen. Maxwell is a former Democrat Party Chairman in Tarrant County.

Sorensen’s new legal team immediately filed an Anti-SLAPP Motion to Dismiss. This Anti-SLAPP Motion to Dismiss automatically stays discovery—which would include staying Sorensen’s court-ordered pre-election deposition scheduled for this upcoming Friday. Sorensen’s responses to the French family’s written discovery—which would have revealed Sorensen’s role in making the false CPS report on the eve of the 2016 election—were also due yesterday, but were not provided due to the 11th hour stay triggered by the Anti-SLAPP Motion. Notably, a word-for-word identical Anti-SLAPP Motion was filed by Sorensen last fall, and then denied by a Tarrant County District Court.

French commented on this desperate legal maneuver stating, “Charlie Geren's political machine is pulling out all the stops to keep the truth from coming out. We were set to depose Mr. Sorenson next Friday, but they can't let that happen. Today they filed a motion, claiming that our suit violates their client’s First Amendment right to file the false report with CPS. They are seriously claiming that the First Amendment creates a right to file false reports with law enforcement to hurt a political opponent. I find that absurd.”

Chris Kratovil, counsel to Bo French also commented stating, “I have been practicing law in Texas for 17 years, and this is the hardest I have ever seen any witness in any case resist being deposed. It certainly begs the question why this defendant is fighting so desperately hard to postpone answering questions under oath.”

Charlie Geren claimed to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that not only did he not know about the CPS complaint, he was also unaware that multiple staffers were in a legal battle going back to last June 2017. Geren has attempted to convince his community that the entire Fort Worth legal community knew that his staff was in a legal battle but he was completely unaware until he received a phone call from the press six months later.

This last-minute legal maneuver will likely delay the deposition of Mr. Sorenson until after the March 6th primary election.