Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hank Gilbert’s Money Troubles

Hank Gilbert, running for the Democratic nomination for Texas Ag Commissioner has gotten himself into some money troubles of late.

No, not the money troubles that millions have gotten themselves immersed in courtesy of the deregulation of the banking industry, a wholly owned production of the Republican Party, Phil Gramm and his Chief of Staff, Pete Olson.

Not that kind of money troubles.

The kind of money troubles that a candidate, any candidate, of any political persuasion doesn’t need in the heat of battle.

Hank Gilbert has “bad check” money troubles.

From this article in the Austin American-Statesman, it looks like someone discovered Hank Gilbert’s 2001 guilty plea in a Class C misdemeanor case against him for writing bad checks.

Hank says it was all a mistake and a comedy of errors.

Hank paid the $100 fine and eventually covered the checks.

I won’t dwell on it, it’s all here for you to peruse.

But that’s not the end of Hank’s money troubles. It seems another kind of bad check has been dogging Hank Gilbert’s campaign recently. Two of them actually.

Not “bad checks” in that they weren’t covered by the issuer, they were. “Bad checks” in that they simply stink to high heaven.

All of this sprung on us last week by the Texas Tribune.

From the Texas Tribune:

“Gilbert announced on Friday, December 4 that he was getting out of the race for governor and into the race for agriculture commissioner.”

“Shami donated $100,000 to Gilbert three days later — on the following Monday according to Gilbert's report with the Texas Ethics Commission. And the Houston air care potentate gave Gilbert another $50,000 on New Year's Eve, the last day of the year, and of the reporting period. That accounts for two-thirds of the $225,000 Gilbert raised during the last six months of 2009.”

OK, the timing was bad. The timing was very bad. Anyone can tell you that. You just don’t quit a race, throw your endorsement on your former opponent, and then accept a hundred and fifty large from him a few days later.

You just don’t. That just smells like a 2 day old pole cat carcass baking on a hot Texas Farm to Market road.

And then you don’t do this. You don’t deny that there was ever a check, or there ever was a quid pro quo.

You don’t do this:

“Vince Leibowitz, now Shami's campaign chief, held a similar post with Gilbert at the time. And he was busy trying to knock down two stories in the first two weeks of December.”

“One was about the money. "It's just bulls--t," he told me at the time.”

“He now says he didn't know about the contributions until later. And in any case, he says, there was no connection between the contributions and Gilbert's decision to get out of the race for governor. ‘I was not aware that he had [given that money] when we talked in December.’”


And predictably, Kinky Friedman, Hank Gilbert’s primary opponent for Ag Commissioner wasted no time calling on Gilbert to return the checks.

From the Dallas Morning News Trailblazers blog:

“The Friedman campaign called the exchange "a bribe" and said the East Texas cattle rancher went from ‘attacking Shami to endorsing him and attacking Mayor Bill White.’”

“Gilbert mentioned his hurt feelings in today's DMN story. Friedman said in the statement that there's one ‘sure-fire way of fixing that...give the money back to Farouk.’”

Now anyone who reads this blog with any frequency (yes, all 7 of you) knows that I think the reason that Kinky Friedman is running for Ag Commissioner for nothing more than to promote himself, along with the sales of his salsa, action figure and cigar brand.

I still do firmly believe that.

And I really don’t appreciate how he promotes the purchase of carcinogens on his campaign website. And how he makes sticking a rolled up bunch of leaves in his mouth and lighting it up look too cool for the room despite his dehumanization of women who volunteer for the task. People are people, despite their frailties.

But the man has a point.

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