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.