The Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) has entered the world of pay-to-play politics. Hey, they might as well, everyone else is. Still, it is sad to see this group go down that road. But it does explain some things. Here are their contributors:
|Empower Texans PAC,||$12,000||1/22/2014|
|Glenn Hegar Campaign,||$7,000||1/22/2014|
|Justice Phil Johnson for Supreme Court,||$7,000||1/17/2014|
|Sid Miller Campaign,||$7,000||1/14/2014|
|Texans For Dan Patrick,||$7,000||1/14/2014|
|Wayne Christian for Texas,||$7,000||1/14/2014|
|Jeff Brown Campaign||$7,000||1/23/2014|
|Chief Justice Nathan Hecht Campaign||$7,000||1/22/2014|
They might want to change their name to Young Social Conservatives of Texas after reading that list. It explains why they were handing out slate cards at the Tarrant County Straw Poll last weekend. Notice that their slate of candidates won their respective polls.
And it also explains the YCT attack on Jerry Patterson last week that Patterson attributed to the Dan Patrick campaign. Yep.
Interesting that these candidates would affiliate themselves with a group that tried to hold a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” day at the University of Texas. But if you look at the candidates’ rhetoric on illegal immigration, I suppose it makes sense.
Thanks to an observant reader, there are two additional pay-to-play candidates on the YCT slate. They are Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court Nathan Hecht and Justice Jeff Brown. I have updated the table to include their contributions – they paid the same $7,000 that the other candidates paid.
The contributions are on Justice Hecht’s 30 day campaign finance report and on Justice Brown’s report for the same period. I have left a message for YCT Executive Director Jenna White to find out why the YCT did not include them on their report. This brings the total amount YCT received for their slate to $61,000.
I received a call back from Jeff Morris, current Chairman of the YCT. He explained that although the YCT knew that the two checks in question were coming, they did not arrive before the reporting period ended and thus were not on the report. They will be included on the 8 day out report.
Morris also took exception to my characterization of their slate as pay-to-play. He told me that the group had endorsed the candidates months before taking the money and were simply trying to help their endorsed candidates win.
Mark McCaig at StopTLR finds a legal problem with the donations to the YCT by three sitting Texas Supreme Court Justices:
Campaign finance reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission earlier this week by the campaigns of Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and Justices Jeff Brown and Phil Johnson reflect expenditures by each campaign that may be in violation of Texas campaign finance laws. The Hecht, Brown, and Johnson campaigns each reported a $7,000 contribution to the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) Political Action Committee. According to areport by blogger David Jennings of BigJollyPolitics.com, the contributions to the YCT PAC are for the purpose of subsidizing an “endorsement slate” mailer by the organization.
These contributions to the YCT PAC appear to be in violation of a state law. Section 253.1611(b) of the Texas Election Code states:
“A judicial candidate or a specific-purpose committee for supporting or opposing a judicial candidate may not use a political contribution to knowingly make political contributions to a political committee in connection with a primary election.”
Do candidates not understand that there are lots and lots and lots of eyes on them in this age of transparency and crowd-sourced information?