HD-105: Linda Harper-Brown's “I Am Not a Crook” Moment

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Linda Harper-Brown could have provided documents proving her innocence. But she didn't.

Linda Harper-Brown could have responded directly to media requests for a statement. But she didn't.

Linda Harper-Brown could have held a press conference, filling a room with campaign supporters who stood behind her while she pronounced her innocence. But she didn't.

Instead, Republican State Representative Linda Harper-Brown — much like Republican Governor Rick Perry — wanted to work off a script. Harper-Brown got into a small, closed room with her campaign team. She squinted her eyes, looked at the teleprompter, and played the best card she had: THE VICTIM CARD.

It was her only card to play — other than actually telling the truth — and she bet the bank on it. Unfortunately, for Harper-Brown and Texas House Republicans, she's now gone all-in with a losing hand. The video she released online fails for several reasons:

  1. The “I Am Not a Crook” Defense Doesn't Work Unless You Prove Your Innocence

    Harper-Brown provided no evidence to disprove the mountain of evidence against her. Just saying there wasn't a “lick of proof” to the claims doesn't make it so. We get the messaging ploy — Washington D.C. trial lawyer liberals are evil; congratulations, we now know you have the IQ of a potato. Just throwing a bunch of buzz words together doesn't address the serious charges leveled against her.

  2. Blaming the Press Doesn't Work When You Refuse to Respond to Interview Requests

    On Quorum Report right now, there's a link to Harper-Brown's statement, which starts off:

    “State Representative Linda Harper Brown set the record straight today, countering false allegations raised in the press by Democrats, Washington, D.C. political operatives and trial lawyer front groups.  Below are just a few of the facts omitted from recent press accounts:

    Harper-Brown chose not to respond to press. From the WFAA story:

    Neither Bryan nor Harper-Brown would comment to WFAA about the car arrangement or their relationship regarding legislation.

     From the Dallas Morning News story:

    She declined several requests for interviews this week. Her campaign spokesman referred questions to her husband. 

    Linda Harper-Brown will only release controlled statements, and not give interviews, because she knows she's done something wrong.

  3. Harper-Brown and Her Husband's Business Are Not Completely Seperate, Despite What She Claims

    If anything, Harper-Brown dug herself deeper in her statement, by claiming her and her husband's business are “completely separate.” When you share office space and mailing addresses, it's pretty damn hard to pull off the “we're completely separate” line. I'd expect we'll see that claim challenged in the coming days.
  4. Harper-Brown Doesn't Have a Social Network to Get Her Message Out

    Harper-Brown has 850+ followers on Facebook, and 524+ followers on Twitter. I'd estimate, after having searched through her Twitter followers, that anywhere from 25% to 50% of people that follow her through social media are Austin Republicans or other Texas Republicans from around the state she gets to know speaking to conservative groups at conferences, town halls, etc.
    Now, a large e-mail list would be impressive — but it's unlikely she has built one herself. She could have a large e-mail list if another Republican group or consultant — RPT, GOPAC, Dan Patrick, etc. — helped her push her video out. For an effective enough e-mail list, there would be an in-kind to some Republucan group(s), or some Republican group(s) would have to own it themselves by getting their Republican brands behind it through social media. And in any event, you're still not getting your message through to the actual voters in Irving who will see the media reports and be turned off by Harper-Brown's scandalous behavior.
    After all — what Republucan group wants to stand next to someone who could soon be under investigation for bribery?
    If a Republican group does choose to stand by her on this, they've done Democrats' work for them. If no group stands behind her, then the video will solely be seen by diehard supporters and Austin politicos, including lobbyists. Will lobbyists believe such an obvious political statement over the scandal, given Democrats track record of factual, proven research on House candidates in '06 and '08? I wouldn't bet on it.

This is a Sarah Palin type prayer. We've all seen Sarah Palin, and Harper-Brown is no Sarah Palin. Linda Harper-Brown is much more like Richard Nixon, who defiantly proclaimed “I am not a crook” in response to the Watergate scandal in the early 1970's.

And much like Nixon, I expect Harper-Brown to go down in a spiraling batch of flames in the coming days and weeks.


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About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.

2 Comments

  1. 100% agree
    This is a big story, not a little story. A little story you can deflect away, a big story you can't and have to address. This video did nothing but spout cliches, which ain't gonna cut it.

    We are talking about $25,000 or more in gifts from this company to her family. What is the monthly lease on a 2010 Mercedes E550? Is it normal practice for the company to reimburse its accountant by letting he and his wife drive company vehicles?

    These are real charges that deserve real answers, not political cliches. Hard to pin a bribery charge on her, since it would have to be linked to a vote of hers. But it looks horrible politically and should cause problems with the Texas Ethics Commission.  

    • To answer your question

      Is it normal practice for the company to reimburse its accountant by letting he and his wife drive company vehicles?

      Yes, if your an accountant for the mob.

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