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March 20, 2004

Endorsements for Sale?

By Byron LaMasters

State Representative Ray Allen (R - Grand Prairie) sent out an endorsement letter to congressional district 10 voters urging them to support Ben Streusand in the March 9th Republican primary election for Congress. No problem with that. But what's bizarre about the letter is that a month earlier, the Streusand campaign had paid Allen a $2500 consulting fee. It's one thing if Allen writes a letter to voters in the Streusand district. It's another if he does paid consulting work for a candidate. But as an elected official, it certainly looks a little odd when he does both. I guess we now know how much an endorsement from Ray Allen costs.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

On Jan. 29, federal campaign records show, Mr. Streusand's campaign paid a $2,500 consulting fee to Rep. Ray Allen, R-Grand Prairie, which Mr. Allen said Friday was for advice and written material he provided on the issues of guns and abortion.

Just before the March 9 primary, Mr. Allen wrote a direct-mail letter supporting Mr. Streusand.

The letter from Mr. Allen, under the salutation "Dear Friend of the Unborn," noted Mr. McCaul's endorsement by the Austin American-Statesman.

"This ultra-liberal newspaper has a consistent record of supporting liberal positions and politicians when it comes to pro-family, pro-life issues," Mr. Allen wrote, "... In other words, they support him precisely because they believe he will compromise on our issues, that his pro-life campaign convictions will be negotiable. ..."

In the letter, Mr. Allen recounted his authorship of a successful bill in the 2003 regular session of the Legislature to create criminal and civil penalties for those who cause the death of the unborn. He called Mr. Streusand "pro-life to the core of his being."

Mr. McCaul's campaign said he's a strong abortion opponent and that Mr. Allen shouldn't have used his office to identify himself on the direct-mail letterhead.

"I have never met Mr. Allen, but I find it curious and troubling that he failed to disclose his consulting arrangement while using the stature of his elected office," Mr. McCaul said.

Fortunately, there's a strong Democratic candidate running against Ray Allen, and his pay-to-play tactics. The district leans Republican, but it is about 45% Democratic. A good Democrat who can convince new voters to come out and who can get some crossover Independent voters can win in this district. I've met the Democratic candidate, Katy Hubener. She's a strong, hardworking candidate who has been stumping all across the district in southwest Dallas County. You check out her website, here. I'll have to talk to her about setting up an online contribution form. I'll write more about the race soon. This race is probably the best pick-up opportunity for Democrats in State House races in Dallas County (the county currently has 6 Democratic State Reps, and 10 Republican State Reps, despite the fact that the county is nearly divided 50-50% in Democratic versus Republican performance).

Posted by Byron LaMasters at March 20, 2004 04:43 PM | TrackBack



Send Ray Allen home!

Posted by: WhoMe? at March 20, 2004 06:57 PM

This is a very minor ethicial problem for Ray Allen.

The larger problem is his role as a private prison lobbyist across the country while serving as chairman of the House Committee on Corrections in Texas.

He and his state-paid aide, Scott Gilmore, make tons of money from private prison companies (including competitors!) for either (1) their expertise in correctional issues or (2) their position as directing prison policy in the largest penal colony in America.

Which one do you think it is?

Posted by: notgonnatell at March 21, 2004 10:52 AM

Ray Allen also cashed out by getting in the concealed handgun training business, lining up everything right before he carried the legislation to law.

The key issue about purchasing an endorsement is that if it can be bought for $2.5k, what is the cost of his vote? A man who sells endorsement undoubtedly sells his vote too.

He is a sleaze ball par excellence.

The contrast between candidates could not be greater.

Posted by: WhoMe? at March 21, 2004 12:56 PM

And isn't it interesting that the Dallas Morning News is FINALLY printing negative news about Republicans? Like this morning's front page story about "Smokey Joe" Barton's substantial support from the polluting industries he's trying to protect from the EPA? Or the front page story today on the deterioration in Iraq?

Whodathunkit 4 years ago?

Posted by: precinct1233 at March 21, 2004 01:28 PM
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