Monday, February 11, 2008

How Much Does It Cost to Be Texas Speaker of the House?

According to the complaint filed by the watchdog group Texans for Public Justice, it’s going to take at least 250 large if Tom Craddick has his way.

I don’t know, it looks pretty blatant to me. You be the judge and take a look for yourself. Here is the 30-Day before primary February 4th 2008 electronic filing for the Texas Jobs PAC, a PAC that had a zero balance in its January 15th semi-annual filing, but all of a sudden had well over 300 thousand in contributions in its February 4th filing. One of the largest contributions is to be found at the bottom of page 5, a $250,000 contribution from the Tom Craddick Campaign Fund. This contribution is dated 10 January, 2008. On the very next page, the political expenditures, shows three payments of $50,000 each to House Democrats, Kevin Bailey, Kino Flores, and Aaron Peña – all dated 11 January, 2008. Another such payment allegedly went to Dawnna Dukes, but it is said that she refused the contribution. Of the other three, only Kevin Bailey has commented on receipt of the funds.

I mean, really, it takes only one day and the money is laundered? Has it gotten so perversely corrupt in Austin? One day the Jobs PAC gets a tremendous boost, and the next it is all but gone to three House Democrats who supported Tom Craddick in the last speaker election? Can the intent be any more clear? Here is the gist of the complaint:

"Under the so-called speaker’s statute, speaker candidates are prohibited from using any political funds accepted under Title 15 of the Election Code to aid their candidacy. The $250,000 that Texas Jobs PAC received came from Craddick campaign funds that were accepted under Title 15. "

Well, according to the Chron story, the case, filed at the Travis County DA’s office, as are all complaints of criminal malfeasance of public officials filed in this state, is currently under review in their “Public Integrity Unit”. Out of this same organization sprang the criminal money laundering indictments against Tom DeLay, indictments that are still hanging over his head.

That investigation, by the way, cost Tom Craddick’s campaign fund $75,000 in lawyers’ fees. 75 grand just to get his name taken off the DA’ suspect list.

I wonder how much it will cost him this time?

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