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Heritage Alliance PAC Launches Robocalls in Dallas

by: Elsbeth

Sat Jun 09, 2007 at 11:21 PM CDT

(The Dallas Mayoral runoff is only days away. We hope that you'll support Democrat Ed Oakley. - promoted by Karl-Thomas Musselman)

Well, I've been wondering when the religious right assault would kick in. And it finally did today. The Dallas mayoral run-off between Ed Oakley and Tom Leppert is next Saturday, June 16. Early voting started June 4th.

Over the past week, and in Leppert's television ads, his campaign has been complaining about the Oakley campaign's "negative" ads, the recent endorsement of Oakley by the Dallas County Democrats (making the race appear to be overly-partisan according to some) and the stories about Oakley's sexual orientation seem to be getting a fair share of the attention in the press. Here and here. And now this. The robocalls. If you're not sure what that is, this overview from Alternet should help.

But back to the Dallas Robocalls...*Update* ~ Audio here.

According to Carolyn Barta on the Dallas Blog, here's the essence of the robocall:

"Crime, education and homosexuality are the three hot issues in the mayor's race."

The caller quotes The Dallas Morning News as saying Oakley would be the first openly gay mayor in the city. Then the caller urges support for Tom Leppert, noting that he is a Christian, married and the father of three children.

As for crime and education, the other two "hot issues," the female caller says that crime is eight times higher in Oakley's council district than in the rest of the city and that his district has one of the highest dropout rates. The caller identifies Heritage Alliance PAC as payer of the call and directs the receiver to the PAC's Web site for more info, www.txvote.com. [emphasis added.]

The Texas Freedom Network's 2007 Report: State of the Religious Right provides an excellent summary of the Heritage Alliance PAC on Page 43. So, who and/or what are they anyway?

There isn't any contact information on the Heritage Alliance Web site, but their 2004 Form 990 is publicly available on Guidestar.com and provides more transparency about this group.

Richard Ford (President of the Heritage Alliance PAC) appears to be a lobbyist and to have contributed $1,000 to the Texas Republican Congressional Committee AKA Victory 2000 in 2000 and $1,000 to the Bush for President, Inc. Committee in 1999 (Scroll down this list to see his contributions.)

J Keet Lewis (Director of the Heritage Alliance PAC) has a bio on thevanguard.org which lists him as an advisor:

Keet Lewis is a serial entrepreneur, consultant, speaker and trainer. He is Chairman of Lewis Group International, as well as several other diversified corporations. 

He has been involved in politics since the Goldwater for President campaign...is a past chairman of the Deacon Ministry at Prestonwood Baptist Church, has served on the Southern Baptists of Texas Building Committee, and in 2003-2004 was Chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention's Committee on Nominations.[emphasis added]


And Tom Miller (Director of the Heritage Alliance PAC) works for Trinity Consultants and is apparently manager of the Irvine, California location according to their Web site. (The address on the 990 shows his address to be the Dallas location).

All of these men appear to be outstanding human beings. So, why are they associated with an organization that promotes hatred and bigotry? And why are they calling me? Or at least trying to since I didn't answer the phone and only saw their organization's name on my Caller ID.

Oh, and Leppert is denying that he had anything to do with the calls. There's a statement right there on the front page of his Web site. It's still another week before the votes are counted...

*Update* ~ I came across this 2005 article written by Robert Wilonsky for the Dallas Observer. The Heritage Alliance PAC is the offshoot of FreePAC.  What a sordid story...if you haven't read it, there's a lot there.

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