Texas Democratic Party Files Restraining Order, Wants Information on Secret Republican Donor

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Tuesday the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board took a clear stance on the Republican Party's new found partnership with the Texas Green Party.

There's a reason Texas has a tightly woven set of campaign finance laws. It ensures that the public can see who writes the checks to political candidates and parties to affect the outcome of elections.

Today, the Texas Democratic Party joined the Dallas Morning news and legal experts in their criticism of the Republican Party's unethical actions.

According to a release from the Party, the Texas Democratic Party asked a State District Judge to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the certification of Green Party candidates pending a fast track discovery process to gather facts that will determine whether laws were broken by out-of-state Republican operatives.

The Republicans secretly funded and organized a ballot petition operation that may have been funded by illegal, anonymous contributions, according to reports published this week by the Dallas Morning News.  The TDP was forced to take legal action because those involved with this dubious secret Republican-Green Party scheme have refused to be upfront with Texans about the nature of this political contribution, and legal discovery would serve the public interest by shedding light on a murky transaction. As the Dallas Morning News stated in an editorial yesterday, “the legality of the money behind the Green petitions needs to be tested in court.”

Legal expert, Buck Wood, said Monday that such a transaction is illegal under state law.

“That corporation cannot make contributions to political parties in Texas. And to do so is a felony,” he said. “It is also a felony for a political party to accept a corporate contribution.”

Green Party state coordinator, Kat Swift, isn't even sure where the money, gathered by Tim Mooney,originated, who the donors are, or how it was bundled. To be clear we aren't talking about a little money. The money given to the Texas Green Party amounts to $200,000 or one third of the money Rick Perry has spent on the his taxpayer funded rental mansion.

Again from the Dallas Morning News:

Green Party state coordinator Kat Swift said the group intends to report the Missouri corporation as the donor of the in-kind contribution.

She said she didn't know who actually provided the funding, and Tim Mooney, the Arizona operative who arranged the effort, declined to say. He estimated the cost at about $200,000.

Wood said that while an individual donor could legally bankroll petition drives to put a party on the ballot, corporations cannot.

This alone is grounds for the temporary restraining order.

“Even the Green Party has acknowledged the likelihood that the funds originated from an illegal source.  For them to depend on the word of shady out-of-state Republican operatives to determine whether this is illegal would be like depending on the word of BP to determine responsibility for the oil spill,” said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie.  “If the Green Party is truly concerned that no laws have been broken, they will welcome this judicial review.”

[…]

“Texans need to know the truth about Rick Perry's involvement in the Republican/Green Party petition scam,” said Richie. “When the truth is known, we hope voters – especially sincere Green Party supporters and candidates – will realize that their integrity rests on how they address the improper nature of how their candidates' eligibility was bought and paid for by out of state right wing operatives and donors.”

Now, before the attacks come. Let's be honest on two fronts. One, in 2000, I voted for the Green Party in Texas and was part of the organized vote swaps for swing districts. So any argument that BOR doesn't want people to have their voice heard or kick people off the ballot is silly. Second, any political party that will sell itself like this in order to harm its greater cause is foolish.

The Green Party stands for workers rights, consumer rights, safety standards, the environment, fair pay and fair trade. Can anyone come up with a good argument on how accepting $200,000 from a party in direct opposition to these ideals helps?

Plaintiffs in the suit include the TDP, TDP Chairman Boyd Richie and John Warren, Democratic nominee for Dallas County Clerk.  Defendants named include the Texas Green Party, Texas Green Party Director Kat Swift, Republican political operative Tim Mooney, Take Initiative America, and Free and Equal Inc.

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  1. Nothing new
    They used to charge that the GOP also financed La Raza Unida back in the 70s….Having them on the ballot made a few races closer than they should have been…making Dolph Briscoe a “minority” governor, among other things….So I would not be surprised….

  2. Boo Hoo
    So… the TDP bawls about shennanigans of the Reps. Can any Dem claim that this type tomfoolery has never taken place at the hands of a Dem in this country?

    What about the conspiracy of the Dems with Reps to foster and maintain the most restrictive, unfair ballot access rules in the nation here in Texas. I'm an independent who thinks that more ideas from more candidates is better for a voters and citizens of Texas. Dems, save me your sel-righteous belly-aching about the Greens. The petition is legit. The Greens may get hand-slapped for their contribution hiccup.

    Dems…now go out there and earn the votes of all the voters. Including those with Green tendencies.  

    • Is the petition legit?
      Richard Whittaker of the Austin Chronicle:

      Further developments on the mysterious stack of signatures that seem to have given the Green Party of Texas ballot access. The Greens are voluntarily giving the Democrats two weeks to find who was really behind the signature-getting effort.

      The Dems had filed suit in Travis County this morning against the Greens, party president Kat Swift and what TDP General Counsel Chad Dunn described as “Republican conspirators” – consultant Tim Mooney, Take Initiative America, and Free and Equal Inc. A hearing was scheduled in district court for 3.30pm, but at 2.45 the TDP and the Greens agreed to a temporary restraining order instead.

      Dunn explained that the Greens have agreed to give the court 14 days to conduct a full evidentiary hearing on a motion for temporary injunction. That means there will be time for discovery, and an opportunity to play follow the money. “Evidently the Green Party of Texas are as interested in free and fair elections as Texas Democrats are,” said Dunn.

      The Green Party has joined the TDP in wanting answers about this money. Apparently, each party believes that open public financing is the most important issue here.

  3. And Who Is Dave Carney?
    And why doesn't Mark Miner know who Matt Angle is?

    Regarding today's decision, TDP General Counsel Chad Dunn said, “The public should view this as a victory for fair elections.”  Ultimately, he said, his goal is to expose a “conspiracy between Dave Carney and Tim Mooney,” the former being a prominent advisor to Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

    […]

    UPDATE: In a press release that traced Carney's ties to a group Mooney ran to collect signatures for 2004 Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, Democratic consultant Matt Angle called for Perry to drop his advisor. “Carney has worked directly with the Republican operatives who conceived and managed the Green Party ballot scam,” Angle said. “Perry and Carney's failure to disclose their connection to the scam is inexcusable. Both have betrayed the trust of Texas voters.”

    “Who is Matt Angle?” responded Perry spokesman Mark Miner.[emphasis added.]

    Good grief! Those silly, crazy, nutty Republicans. Next thing ya know, they'll be asking, “Who is Matt Glazer”??

  4. 6 yrs removed?
    So the Dems are playing a bit of the Rep/Perry game. Make a claim even though the timeline doesn't work and hope that it just obfuscates the real issues. Dems keep saying that Dave Carney and a Tim Mooney worked together in 2004. But do the Dems have any hard evidence that Carney and Mooney worked together SPECIFICALLY on this shennanigan? Didn't think so.

    And the Reps are pretty stupid, but the Dems won't be able to get back to the true originators of this…including Carney, if he was in fact involved.  

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