Showing posts with label Ethics. Show all posts

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Loaning Campaign Cash: Texas Rep Matthew D. Rinaldi

Texas Representatie Matthew D. Rinaldi joins other republicans in Texas who believe in buying a seat at the table. He shares the table with พนันออนไลน์ ฟรีเครดิตKathleen Wall, Angela Paxton, State Representative Dennis Paul, State Senator Don Huffines, David Mays Middleton, and State Senator Joan Huffman.

Representative Rinaldi, elected in 2012 has raised over $900,000 (post coming soon). He has loaned his campaign about $250,000, over 25% of this total haul. He has a $100,000 loan balance and a Cash on Hand of $256,000. In July of 2015 he loaned himself $100,000 to raise his COH to $272,000. 6 months later he paid his loan off leaving a COH balance of $122,000. It's as if he was padding his COH balance.

Needless to say, Rinaldi is wealthy enough to pad his COH balance. He is a Representative from House District 115 in the Farmers Branch area. He is being challenged by Julie Johnson in the general election. Johnson doesn't need loans for her race. She has a COH balance of over $200,000. BTW:

Bennett Ratliff, a Republican who preceded Matt Rinaldi as state representative for House District 115 in Dallas County, on Friday endorsed Rinaldi's Democratic opponent, Julie Johnson, in the Nov. 6 election. 

in 2017 Rinaldi was listed as one of the worst legislators in Texas by Texas Monthly.

He called Immigration and Customs Enforcement to report that some of the protesters in the gallery were undocumented immigrants. Then he walked over to a group of Latino legislators and taunted them about his call to ICE. This seemed exactly the kind of racial profiling that Hispanic lawmakers had feared. The resulting shoving match was predicable. We won’t try to parse whether Rinaldi had legitimate cause to fear for his safety. But we do know that he escalated the incident when he threatened to put a bullet in the head of Democrat Poncho Nev├írez. The Democrats weren’t blameless, but Rinaldi was the instigator. His conduct embarrassed himself, the House, and Texas.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The GOP: Comrades of Corruption

Remember when the republic party was the party of "conservative"family values? Neither do I.

The list is growing each day of republicans who are stealing their donor's money, profiting from insider trading, committing conspiracy to defraud the United States, tax evasion, cheating on their spouses, etc etc etc. It's sickening. Here are just a few examples of republican values in recent action:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Currently serving and is up for re-election. Indicted 3 years ago on 3 felony counts of security violations. Trial scheduled for next year.

Former State Representative Joe Driver (Texas) Plead guilty to a felony of abuse of office, served 5 years probation, retained his $57,000/year pension and free healthcare.

Former Congressman Steve Stockman (Texas) Found guilty on 23 counts of 24 felony counts of campaign finance abuse. He is currently serving in the Harris County jail pending an appeal.

Former Congressman Tom DeLay (Texas) Resigned from Congress. Was found guilty of money laundering in 2010. 

Congressman Joe Barton. (Texas) Still in office. Divorced 3 times. Was found to have sent "dick pics" to a number of women. Has refused to resign but will not seek re-erection.....election.

Former Congressman Blake Farenthold. (Texas) Resigned in disgrace after he was found to have used tax payers money to settle a sexual harassment suit against him towards staff members. Vowed to repay the tax payers, "I will deliver a check for $84,000 to the Speaker of the House". He never did and never will. He resigned.

Congressman Chris Collins. (New York) Indicted for insider trading. Initially said he would still run for his seat in Congress but has since withdrawn.

Congressman Duncan Hunter (California) He and his wife has been indicted for using over $250,000 in campaign donations for personal use including trips to Europe, braces, entertainment. He has blamed it on his wife and will continue to seek re-election.

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. Resigned from Congress. Pleaded guilty to the felony "structuring" charge, and the charge of "making false statements" (lying to the FBI). Spent over a year in jail. 

Congressman Jim Jordan (Ohio) Has been accused of looking the other way as sexual abuse was occurring in the Ohio State wrestling team.

National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Plead guilt to lying to the FBI. Is currently cooperating with the FBI.

Donald Trump Jr. Dumped his wife for a younger model. Is the Mr. Trump's son.

And you know about Manafort, Cohen, Papadopoulos, Gates, and a slew more stemming from Special Prosecutor Mueller. That complete list can be found here.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Spending Campaign Cash: Congressman Duncan Hunter

After reading about Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter's spending habits of his donors money I thought "There are over 200 more republicans to look at....".

Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife were indicted for misuse of their donors money. According to the 47 page indictment reported by CNN:
"The Hunters illegally used Campaign funds, among other things, to purchase the following: Hotel rooms, airline tickets and upgrades, meals and food, and entertainment expenses for vacations for themselves and their friends and family, including more than $14,000 for a family Thanksgiving vacation in Italy in November 2015; more than $6,500 for a family vacation to Hawaii in April 2015; more than $3,700 for a family vacation to Las Vegas and Boise in July 2015; more than $2,400 for a Las Vegas couples vacation in August 2011; and more vacations to destinations such as Lake Tahoe, Pittsburgh, London, and Washington."

It's staggering to think Hunter and his wife used $250,000 of his donors money on personal items. His treasurer must have turned on him because finding these abuses are extremely hard by just reading financial reports. I should know, I have filed many ethics complaints on the state level. It's not easy. 

Ten years ago a small group of activists found major abuses with republican lawmakers in Texas. These abuses included using donors money to buy a condo, hiding personal purchases behind a credit card, and much more. Over 50 complaints were filed with about 48 accepted. Fines ranged from $1000-$75,000. Here are some of the more interesting complaints:

  • The $75,000 fine was against Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole. The complaint alleged using nearly $250,000 for personal items including antique western wear, antique books, golf, and Starbucks to name just a few.
  • Senator Jane Nelson hid $2000/month behind a fictitious company called Twin Star when in fact the payment was to her husband to buy a condo. The Ethics Commission, after a year, dismissed the complaint and sealed the investigation.
  • Former State Representative John Davis purchased a pair of $1500 cowboy boots using his donors money. It had the State seal on the front.
  • A state representative from Lubbock paid his wife over $30,000/year for accounting services. He only raised $75,000. He was told to stop by the TEC. A year later he was paying an accounting firm $36,000/year for accounting services. The firm was newly created and was owned by his wife. He did not seek re-election.
Maybe it is time to start looking again......

Friday, August 17, 2018

TX State Representative Dennis Paul: Quid Pro DOH!

It sucks getting caught trading political favors for political favors.

According to Reform Austin:
Clear Lake area State Representative Dennis Paul (R – Houston) is in a bit of a pickle. On April 19, 2018, a concerned El Lago residents group in District 129 discovered that the state representative may have recommended a local mayor to a state commission in exchange for Paul’s engineering company receiving no-bid construction contracts with the city.
Quid Pro Quo is the act of granting a favor in return for something. Quid Pro DOH is being caught in the act of Quid Pro Quo. Reform Austin believes Paul might have this problem. One thing is for sure Reform Austin has read hundreds of pages of emails and City Council minutes. They might be on to something. The Mayor of El Lago, Mark Briggs did donate $2000 to Paul which, based upon his ability to raise money, is a very large donation. And he did give a no bid contract to Paul Engineering. The City Council eventually overturned that contract.

Paul has a strange way with money. His doesn't raise money very well. He only has about $37,000 Cash on Hand with a $150,000 loan from his Engineering firm. He has also accepted $5000 from James Dannebaum who owns another Engineering firm which was raided by the FBI in April of 2017 as part of a corruption probe. So could Paul have exchanged a seat on a Commission for a no bid contract? Maybe.

I have not been able to find out if Briggs was actually put on the Commission or even what Commission he was recommended for but it is clear Briggs gave a no bid contract to Paul and the City Council took it away.

In the words of trump: Let's see what happens.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Spending Campaign Cash: David Mays Middleton

David Mays Middleton raised $1.7.Million for a primary race in Galveston County. 87% of that was his own money, $1.5Million. According to his latest financial report he spent over $1.6 Million for his 7,981 primary votes or $207 per vote.

Here is what he spent his money on:

$460,144 on Campaign Services. This included payments to a few individuals for $66k, $41k, $33K, $31k, $28k, $18k. A total of about 25 individuals were paid for campaign services. That is an incredible amount of money to be paying for "campaign services".

$501,530 on Consulting. How much consulting do you need to reach 7981 voters? Many entire campaign budget for a state race are $500,000 or less. This was just for a primary race.

$153,147 on Marketing.
$49,235 on signs.
$50,990 on billboards
$15,000 on postage
$8,864 on legal services

The entire $1.7Million can be viewed on the Texas Ethics Commission's website.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Port of Port Lavaca hires deadbeat Congressman as a lobbyist #NoPlaceButTexas

Harris County Commissioner, Jerry Eversole was hired as a lobbyist for the Harris County Department of Education after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.

Deadbeat Congressman, Blake Farenthold, who owns the country $84,000 and resigned in disgrace over a sexual harassment allegation has now been hired as a lobbyist for the Port of Port Lavaca. From the Texas Tribune
Farenthold will earn an annual salary of $160,000, a slight decrease in pay from his Congressional salary of $164,000, the Associated Press reported.
Farenthold used $84,000 from a tax payer slush fund set up by the House to pay off a secret settlement concerning a sexual harassment lawsuit against him. Farenthold vowed to complete his term but abruptly left after the House was to post details about the allegations. He also promised to repay the $84,000 to the taxpayers saying:
 "Tomorrow I'm will write a personal check and deliver it to Speaker Ryan [chuckle]". 
Yea right. The Texas Republican Party is now looking to hire Roy Moore as their young voter outreach. #NoPlaceButTexas

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Spending Campaign Cash: Former Commissioner Jerry Eversole

From the Houston Chronicle
NOTE: If you steal from a bank wouldn't it be nice if you could use that money you stole to pay your legal bills for the crime of stealing money from a bank? Here is a quick update on former Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole. Lions, and tigers, and bear with me.

Back in 2009 an ethics complaint was filed with the Texas Ethics Commission against Jerry Eversole for converting campaign donations to personal use including purchases for antique books, antique western wear, golf, and a steady stream of coffee from Starbucks for a total of about $250,000. The complaint was reviewed, accepted, and an order was issued fining Eversole $75,000 and ordering him to repay his account over $40,000 from personal funds. From the Texas Ethics Commission, complaints SC-2712236 AND SC-2712237  :
After considering the seriousness of the violations described under Sections III and IV, including the nature, circumstances, and consequences of the violations, and after considering the sanction necessary to deter future violations, the commission imposes a $75,000 civil penalty, contingent upon the respondent reimbursing $41,357.10 to his political funds by July 9, 2009. Any reimbursements to political funds made pursuant to this order and agreed resolution shall be made from the respondent’s personal funds and shall be reported on Schedule G (used for reporting political expenditures from personal funds) of the respondent’s campaign finance reports and indicate that no reimbursement is intended. The respondent must provide sufficient evidence that the reimbursements have been made in accordance with this order.

Besides using his donor's money for personal use, Eversole was under investigation by the FBI and plead guilty to lying. After his probation period was over he became a lobbyist. From the Houston Chronicle:,
Accused of taking $100,000 in cash and gifts from friend and real estate developer Mike Surface in exchange for steering county contracts and appointments to Surface and his companies, Eversole resigned his office in October 2011 and pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents, a felony.

He is now a paid lobbyist for the Harris County Department of Education. Go figure. From the ABC13:

HOUSTON -- Did you know your tax dollars will help pay the salary of a convicted felon? And it's not just any convicted felon. Just one year after a federal plea deal forced long-time Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole to resign, we have news that he will again serve the Harris County Department of Education as a paid lobbyist.

Go figure. But...back to the bank. In July of 2009 Eversole had about $1.6 Million in his campaign account. Elected officials who leave office cannot convert their remaining balance to personal funds. Instead they can donate to other campaigns, charities, pay off campaign debt, or pay legal bills. This is what Eversole did.

Eversole paid $75,000 to the Ethics Commission (using his donors money. He paid his legal counsel, Rusty Hardin & Associates, over $1.2 Million for his legal bills stemming from the FBI investigation. He also paid Haynes and Boone over $92,000.

On top of pleading guilty to lying to the FBI, paying his legal bills with his donors money, using your tax money for his lobbying effort, and probably retaining his County pension and health care benefits, Eversole is seeking a presidential pardon.

#NoPlaceButTexas and Harris County.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Raising Campaign Cash: Dennis Paul Texas HD129

From the Houston Chronicle
This isn't pretty. It's ugly. It includes a raid by the FBI!

Dennis Paul, endorsed by the NRA, can't seem to raise money except from his own company and another engineering firm that was raided by the FBI. Paul owns Paul Engineering which has loaned his campaign over $150,000. His current ethics report has his loan balance at $156,000 with a cash on hand balance of only $37,089.32. He only raised 47,237.93 during his last period which included $5000 from James Dannebaum, his biggest contributor.

According to the San Antonio Express and News Dannenbaum has a "controversial history along the Texas border" which included a raid from the FBI. From the Express News:

Dannenbaum Engineering has stirred a lot of controversy as it has grown into one of the dominant engineering companies in South Texas over the past 30 years. On April 26, the FBI executed a broad raid of its offices across the state, including in San Antonio, to gather records related to the company’s pursuit of infrastructure projects in the Laredo area. A decade ago, reports from the El Paso Times and other media outlets linked the company to another FBI corruption probe in El Paso County.

Ouch. I guess engineers stick together. Other donors include a number of PAC's including $1000 from the USAA Employee PAC. (USAA is an insurance company) But....back to the $156,000 loan. Paul is one of the few individuals who bought his nomination to represent the Republic Party. Much like Kathleen Wall who put over $6 Million of her own money to buy the nomination for CD2. She lost. Paul didn't.

Dennis might want to remember nothing good comes from an FBI raid. Ask Paul Manafort. Or Michael Cohen. He might want to considering returning the $5000 and borrowing from his company again.