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September 24, 2004

State House Updates

By Byron LaMasters

There's a lot going on in state rep races over the past several days, especially with the indictment of Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC) executive director John Colyandro on 14 counts of unlawful acceptance of a corporate political contribution.

Check out the extended entry for the latest with the Mark Strama, Kelly White and Katy Hubener campaigns.

Here in Austin, Jack Stick seems to be having some ethical troubles:

Stick spoke Wednesday to the Texas Committee on Insurance Fraud, a group created by the insurance industry to devise legislation for the 2005 Legislature.

The panel met for the third time this year in a hearing room offered by the Texas Department of Insurance.


"We will always accept monetary assistance or monetary assistance and if you can't do that, we can take monetary assistance," Stick said, according to an observer who took notes. "We also take checks or credit cards."

Stick, disputing the observer, said he said "financial" help.

A legislative watchdog conceded Stick broke no law but said he crossed an ethical line the same week a Travis County grand jury indicted corporations and Republican operatives on allegations of violating campaign finance laws.

Suzy Woodford of Common Cause of Texas said Stick's request for campaign cash during a discussion of legislation was "unseemly."

She said lawmakers should ban such requests in any facility where state business takes place.

Both Stick's opponent, Mark Strama, and Todd Baxter's Democratic challenger, Kelly White called on their opponents to return donations from the Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC). TRMPAC executive director John Colyandro was indicted this week on 14 counts of unlawful acceptance of a corporate political contribution.

Democrats Mark Strama and Kelly White demonstrated on the Capitol steps Wednesday what their GOP opponents, state Reps. Jack Stick and Todd Baxter, can expect until Election Day: a steady barrage of attacks on their receipt of money at the center of a campaign finance investigation that has resulted in 32 indictments so far.

The indictments were against eight corporations and three fund-raising operatives for U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Stick and Baxter were among seven Texas candidates in 2002 who received money that the indictments say was laundered from corporate donors to the Republican National Committee by operatives of Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee.


Strama and White demand that their Republican opponents give the money back or donate it to charity and pledge not to take any more. Strama charged that Stick and Baxter put a higher priority on following DeLay's congressional redistricting desires and corporate issues than on working on school finance and property tax relief.

"Because of this illegal money, they didn't close the corporate franchise tax loopholes," Strama said. "If you look at how much money of that corporate money came from out-of-state corporations, and when you realize that it's out-of-state corporations that skate under the corporate franchise tax loophole, I think you see how that money directly influenced the problems we have with school finance."

According to the article, neither Stick nor Baxter have any intention of returning their dirty DeLay money.

Finally, the Dallas Morning News profiled the race between Democrat Katy Hubener and Republican extremist incumbent Ray Allen. The article seems a little biased towards Allen in calling Howard Dean a "firebrand", and by not investigating the charges against Allen using state employees for personal gain - which the Fort Worth Star Telegram editorialized against (but this is the Dallas Morning News after all, so what else would you expect).

Who would have thought a race to represent the working-class residents of Grand Prairie and South Irving would include cameo appearances by Howard Dean and the Moonies?

Anything's possible in the spirited race for state House District 106 between Republican state Rep. Ray Allen and Democrat Katy Hubener, who moved from nearby Duncanville for the chance to unseat the incumbent.

The battle, waged without expensive TV and print ads, has touched on public education, the environment and children's health care. But it has most intently focused on Mr. Allen's legislative and business practices during his decade in office.

"I decided to run for state rep primarily because we need more balance and integrity in the state House," Ms. Hubener said.

Mr. Allen accuses his opponent of "telling lies" about how he does business, while seeking to make him look like a corrupt money-grubber in the pocket of the gun-and-prison lobby. His business practices, he said, are legal, ethical and capitalize on an extensive knowledge of criminal justice issues.

Mr. Allen, 53, is a self-described conservative Republican, backed by business and law enforcement. He is anti-abortion, pro-gun rights and a nationally known expert on criminal justice. He is married with five children.

A former environmental lobbyist, Ms. Hubener, 33, advises nonprofit groups on fund raising and media relations. She is a teacher and Realtor. She grew up in Duncanville and is single with no children.

Lies? If Katy Hubener's charges are a bunch of lies, then Ray Allen ought to take up the issue with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, not Katy Hubener.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at September 24, 2004 01:21 PM | TrackBack


When is some source going to finally report the fact that Ray Allen hasn't lived in his district in months? He lives in Austin amost full time with his 20-something committee clerk. He is unethical and a general scumbag.

Posted by: ZW Air at September 24, 2004 01:33 PM

I don't see eye to eye with Stick, but he is my rep and he hasn't been all bad. That being said, his refusal to return this money is depressing and inexcusable. The only thing I can figure is that he needs it because his race is so competitive. It is a big chunk of change (about $50K) and his war chest is kinda small as of the last filing period: He had raised about 121K and spent 50K of that. According to the Austin Chroncile this puts him 100K behind Strama.

Posted by: utlaw guy at September 24, 2004 02:42 PM

I don't see eye to eye with Stick, but he is my rep and he hasn't been all bad.

The guy is worthless. Instead of voting the interests of Austin (or redistricting and other issues), he served as a yes-man to Craddick and DeLay last session. He had no experience in Austin politics prior to being a state rep, and only won his seat by squeaking into a GOP runoff and got by on the anti-Bob Richardson voter, then beat a lackluster Dem opponent in a good GOP year. Unlike Keel or Baxter, Stick has no real base, and that's why most analyists say this is one of Dems top two or three pick up opportunities this cycle.

Posted by: Byron L at September 24, 2004 07:53 PM

The only thing I can figure is that he needs it because his race is so competitive.

Oh, well, that makes it okay then. Even if it was illegally raised and there are felony indictments against the guys he got it from. He needs it to get re-elected, so no prob...

Posted by: melior at September 25, 2004 12:46 AM
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