Thursday, June 24, 2010

Perry's former chief of staff coordinated Greens' ballot petition drive *update*

The Perry campaign has lied their asses off about their involvement. LSP:

Earlier today, a key witness testified under oath that a top member of Rick Perry’s inner circle paid him about $12,000 to convince Green Party of Texas leaders to participate in an elaborate ballot petition scam. (Source: Austin American-Statesman, June 24, 2010)

Mike Toomey, the former chief of staff for the governor, paid Garrett Mize, a 22-year-old University of Texas student, from his personal checking account to present a formal proposal to Green Party leaders. The proposal suggests using out-of-state funds to gather signatures needed to field candidates in the upcoming Texas election. The memo notes that, “many of the donors will be people that simply do not want to see the Democratic Party win.” The proposal by Mize can be seen here.

Toomey’s direct involvement elevates the matter to a level of wrongdoing not seen since the Sharpstown scandal of the 1970s. Mike Toomey is a member of Perry’s inner circle and described as “close friends” (Source: Texas Monthly, February 2005). It is irrational to believe that Toomey would have made such an elaborate -- and likely illegal -- effort to field Green Party candidates without the knowledge and approval of the governor. 

The morning testimony left it unclear what happened after the original plan proposed by Mize fell apart. A second plan was formulated just two weeks before the deadline to turn in ballot petitions. This second plan funneled $532,500 in corporate money to pay for the effort to gather signatures for the Green Party in order to qualify candidates for the Texas ballot. Documents and testimony in the coming days should reveal whether Toomey masterminded this plan as well. (Source: Austin American-Statesman, June 24, 2010)

Their hands are as dirty as we thought.

This would not be the first time Mike Toomey has used secret corporate donations to illegally help elect Republicans in Texas. Toomey was implicated in the TRMPAC scandal and the Texas Association of Business lawsuit after the 2002 elections. The TRMPAC “indictments …noted that TAB board members Mike Toomey and Eric Glenn, both lobbyists, played prominent roles in soliciting money.” (Austin American-Statesman, September 8, 2005)

And a bit more from Postcards (the Statesman):

Mize was approached to run the effort by a family friend, Stuart Moss, who at the time worked for a Republican political consulting and public relations firm run by former Perry communications director Eric Bearse. Bearse said Moss no longer works for him.

Mize quit the effort in April after he grew uncomfortable that Republican interests were driving the initiative and not informing the Green Party.

“Do you know what a Trojan horse is?” questioned state District Judge John Dietz. “Were you a Trojan horse?”

Wow, the Republicans are crooked. Imagine that.

But the revelation here is that should the Greens proceed with this tainted ballot bid, the TDP will sue the living daylights out of them. And the Greens will lose.

The best thing they can do now is withdraw their petition. And really, that is a damn shame. And not just for them.

I think -- unlike the brain trust at the TDP -- that the Greens on the ballot would be a good thing; it would force Richie, Angle, to stop taking the progressive base of the Democratic Party for granted. If they were honestly threatened with losing a few percentage points because they are too conservative, then they could either adapt to the new world or get used to minority status for a generation or more.

The key word there being 'honestly', of course.

Update: TRO granted.

A state judge on Thursday granted the Democratic Party a temporary restraining order to block Green Party candidates from being certified for the November ballot.

Democrats contended that a petition drive to put Green candidates on the ballot actually was an effort to help GOP Gov. Rick Perry by diverting votes from his Democratic challenger, former Houston Mayor Bill White.

State District Judge John Dietz ruled that the effort was “an unauthorized, illegal contribution.”

Lawyers for the Green Party said they plan to appeal.

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