Ted Cruz and Dan Patrick sure know how to pick their friends.
Things have been looking rather shady lately for Tony Tinderholt, Tea Party candidate for the House District 94 race in west Arlington, who is backed by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and state Senator Dan Patrick.
If Tinderholt’s xenophobic and violent campaign messages weren’t already enough to turn off voters from HD 94, perhaps the latest news from Tinderholt’s campaign financial reports will. In the latest financial reports released this week, Tinderholt’s campaign finances show that close to $15,000 in loans were inexplicably lost by his campaign.
Tinderholt’s reports also show Tinderholt made payments to himself out of his campaign funds as a “campaign expense,” an act ruled out and banned by the ethics commission. On top of that, his campaign reports fail to explain why over the past months he has given thousands of dollars to his wife’s staffing company from his campaign funds.
According to previous report filings by Tinderholt in July, his campaign reported $33,672.21 in loans. In the latest filing of October, Tinderholt’s campaign is reporting $18,773.00 in loans, a difference of approximately $15,000 dollars.
How does a campaign just inexplicably lose $15,000 dollars?
For those familiar with Tinderholt’s past, these red flags may not come as much of a surprise. Tinderholt has a long troubled history of mismanaging his finances, including having to file for bankruptcy in 1999. According to information gathered by the Lone Star Project Report, Tinderholt had to file bankruptcy after a child care business he invested on became insolvent. This occurred after an embezzlement became known of the business’ money by Tinderholt’s wife to acquire drugs. Tinderholt was aware both his wife and at least another child care provider were consuming illegal drugs, including crack cocaine.
Tinderholt’s past problems don’t just end there: He also has lied about his occupation status and employment history. Up until lately, Tinderholt claimed to be the Vice President of Education at Ancora Education. Yet, in reality, Tinderholt has not worked at Ancora since December 31, 2013. His campaign continued to list him as an Ancora employee until this lie was pointed out as untrue during the campaign.
Earlier employment records in 2000 also show Tinderholt allowed a minor to become intoxicated and drive, causing “severe injuries,” when Tinderholt worked as a bar manager at a location called the Horseman Club.
But not all news is bad.
Reports by Cole Ballweg, Democratic candidate for HD 94, show that Ballweg has over twice as much cash on hand than his Tea Party opponent.
Ballweg, a successful local business person, has gained support from groups and organizations that previously supported Rep. Diane Patrick, moderate Republican ousted from office by Tinderholt during the Republican primaries. These key groups and organizations believe Ballweg to be a trustworthy candidate who, unlike Tinderholt, can utilize his proven business skills and work across Democrat and Republican party lines in the Legislature. Put simply, we need more candidates like Ballweg in the Texas Legislature — not shady, divisive candidates like Tony Tinderholt.
One of these two men is less than a month away from being part of the legislative body that produces our State Budget. How can anyone trust a candidate like Tinderholt to make the right financial decisions for HD 94 — and the rest of the state — if he cannot even manage his own personal and campaign finances?
Our current legislative body is already saturated with Tea Party candidates like Tinderholt. Few Republicans like Diane Patrick remain in the party; moderates with enough logic and reason to consider working on important issues on behalf of all Texans. Voters in HD 94 would be doing themselves — and all of Texas — a disservice by sending Tony Tinderholt as a replacement.
Follow Omar on Twitter at @AraizaTX.