One of the state's leading election experts says a petition drive funded through an out-of-state group to put the Green Party on the ballot this fall might have violated state law.
Party officials say the group, a nonprofit corporation, collected 92,000 signatures and delivered them as "a gift" so that the Green Party could field candidates in the November election. The arrangement for the petitions, set up by an Arizona Republican consultant, was revealed Sunday by The Dallas Morning News. ...
It's unclear who paid for the petition drive, but funding went through Take Initiative America, a Missouri nonprofit corporation. Buck Wood, an Austin lawyer and expert in election law, 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."
Wood said that while an individual donor could legally bankroll petition drives to put a party on the ballot, corporations cannot. Wood has represented Democrats in litigation in which corporate money was illegally used to defeat political candidates.
In the case of the Texas Green Party, a Chicago-based petition-gathering company, Free and Equal Inc., gathered the signatures under contract with Take Initiative America.
It's unclear whether the petitions could be disallowed based on how the Green Party reports the donation. But the party and its leaders could face significant penalties if they are found to break the law.
And Harold Cook has a bit more:
But when the end result is that some of the voters who care most about the environment will get duped into voting for a candidate who won't get more than 5% of the total vote, helping the guy who calls the BP oil spill disaster an "act of God" win? That's just plain dirty pool, played at voters' expense.
Apparently, the Republican operative who organized the Green Party petition effort intends to list "Take Initiative America" as the donor of the in-kind contribution to the Green Party. That entity was organized in Missouri by a guy named Charles Hurth.
Who's Charles Hurth? I'm glad you asked. Meet Charles Hurth:
Apparently he's an ... um ... butt-biter. No, really.