Smitherman takes pay-to-play to a whole new level

raining money

Holy buckets Batman, it’s raining money in the Harris County pay-to-play slate system! Dr. Steve Hotze’s Conservative Republicans of Texas PAC (CRT) has blown the doors off of their prior endeavors on behalf of candidates that pay into the system. And Attorney General candidate Barry “the not so proven prosecutor” Smitherman has gone all in with the second largest ad buy in CRT’s history. CRT’s 30 day out report also includes the largest contribution in CRT’s history from George Ryan, a tax consultant and huge Rick Perry donor.

On the contribution side, we see this:

  • George Ryan – 1/03/2014 – $200,000
  • Friends of Barry Smitherman – 1/03/2014 – $100,000
  • Norman Frede (Smitherman’s father-in-law) – 1/22/2014 – $5,000
  • Norman Frede (Smitherman’s father-in-law) – 1/23/2014 – $7,500

On the expenditure side, we see who they paid with all that money:

  • 3rd I, LLC, – 1/03/2014 – $457,693.74 for a mailer

Reading through the list of candidates supported, it is obvious that this is the statewide mailer we’ve heard rumors about as Hotze/Blakemore try to stretch their influence.

Convict contributes to CRT

Guess who else is on the contributor list? Convicted felon Jerry Eversole closed his Friends of Eversole account and gave the amount remaining in the account, $4,370.86 to the “conservatives”. I wonder what the “not so proven prosecutor” thinks about being supported by a convict?

Now the big question – how will the Harris County GOP PAC respond to this effort? We basically have Branch/Hegar in that group going against Smitherman/Hilderbran in this group, the rest are just along for the ride. During the 2014 election cycle, the CRT PAC has received $483,871 in contributions plus Dr. Hotze loaned the group another $200,000. The table below lists the 2014 contributors.

Cook, Trey$10,00012/12/2013Innova ElectronicsFounder
Desroches, Rod$20,0001/17/2014Desroches Roth LLPSenior Partner
Feathercraft Land Company, $10,0001/23/2014
Frede, Norman$5,0001/22/2014Norman Frede ChevroletOwner
Frede, Norman$7,5001/23/2014Norman Frede ChevroletOwner
Friends of Barry Smitherman, $100,0001/03/2014
Friends of Jerry Eversole, $4,3711/15/2014
Friends of Paul Bettencourt, $10,0001/13/2014
Gary Elkins Campaign, $5,0001/14/2014
Head, Vim$2,0001/14/2014Spars SurgicalPresident
Hillco PAC, $15,0001/23/2014
Mike Schofield Campaign, $5,0001/15/2014
Norman Frede Chevrolet, $15,0001/23/2014
Ryan, George$200,0001/03/2014Ryan Tax ServicesCEO
Streusand, Benjamin$25,0001/17/2014SelfBusinessman
Taylor, Hollis$50,00012/10/2013SelfGeneral Contractor

Link Letter doing just fine, thank you

But don’t worry about my little buddy Terry Lowry and his Link Letter. Whoa boy, don’t worry at all. The little fella took in $353,715 in January to put out his slate.

Sitton, RyanThe Link Letter, $50,0001/16/2014Print Advertising Placement
Texans for Dan Patrick, The Link Letter, $50,0001/16/2014Print Advertising Placement
Schofield, MichaelThe Link Letter, $5,0001/16/2014Print Advertising Placement
Friends of Paul Bettencourt, The Link Letter, $10,0001/06/2014Print Advertising Placement
Franklin, AliciaThe Link Letter, $10,0001/10/2014Print ad
Woodfill, Jared R.The What's Up Program, $7,0001/21/2014Print ad
Paxton, W. KennethThe What's UP Program, $50,0001/17/2014Campaign advertisment in campaign mailer
Friends of Barry Smitherman, The What's Up Program, $50,0001/17/2014Campaign Advertising Expense
Walker, Meca L.The What's Up Program, $10,0001/06/2014Full-Page Advertisement
Walker, Meca L.The What's Up Program, $2,1001/06/2014Radio Buy
Opiela, Eric C.The What's Up Program, $50,0001/16/2014Advertising
Paul, Dennis R.The What's Up Program, $10,0001/14/2014Advertisment in LINK Letter Voter Guide Edition
Woodfill, Jared R.The What's Up Program, $5,1001/22/2014Print ad
Flowers, Melanie W.The What's Up Program, $10,0001/03/2014Campaign Ads
Riddle, Deborah A.The What's Up Radio Program, $5,0001/22/2014Advertising in Publication
Miller, SidWhat's Up Radio, $2,4151/07/2014Radio ads
Schmude, Harold JohnWhat's UP Radio Program, $2,1001/07/2014Radio Advertising - 60 Second Political Ad
Pratt, Denise V.What's Up Radio Program, $10,0001/04/2014Political Advertising
Schmude, Harold JohnWhat's UP Radio Program, $10,0001/02/2014Full Page Ad - Link Letter
Cain, Briscoe R.Terry Lowry$5,0001/16/2014Link Letter Advertisement

No fun at all if you’re a little guy trying to win on issues. Oh well, all is fair in love, war, and pay-to-play politics! Tip: it ain’t gonna change until YOU decide to change it.

Click here to view the Endorsement Matrix.



  1. Mainstream says

    I may be unclear about the election law, but I thought all candidates must be offered the same advertising rate, or else it is an illegal contribution by Lowry to their campaign. So if Smitherman paid $50,000 to Terry Lowry, then does that mean he gets 5 full page ads, while Bettancourt gets one page, and Schofield gets a half page?