Monday, June 07, 2010

Texas Greens get an assist from an Arizona Republican

Via STC, this news is grating.

The liberal Green Party's uphill battle to get on the Texas ballot this fall has been fueled by a surprising benefactor: an out-of-state Republican consultant with a history of helping conservative causes and GOP candidates. ...

What's unknown is who paid for the previously undisclosed arrangement, pieced together by The Dallas Morning News. Green Party officials said they don't know who funded the effort. The Perry campaign denied any involvement. And Arizona Republican operative Tim Mooney, who set up the petition drive, refused to say.

Green Party officials said an outside group gathered the 92,000 signatures and gave them as "a gift" to the party, which delivered them to the secretary of state ...

Christina Tobin, who heads a Chicago-based petition-gathering company called Free and Equal Inc., said she was approached by Mooney to collect signatures for the Green Party of Texas.

Another group, Take Initiative America, based in Missouri, would provide payment, Mooney said.

Mooney estimated the cost at $200,000, but declined to give a specific figure or say who put up the money.

"Take Initiative America, being a nonprofit, doesn't disclose its donors, nor is it required to," said Mooney, who has little history of working in Texas. "Take Initiative America is a nonpartisan organization. They'd like to see everybody have a chance to get on the ballot – the more choices the better."

More from the Examiner:

Names of private citizens, especially Texan Republicans, are being bandied about, including but not limited to billionaire Harold Simmons of Dallas. Simmons could certainly afford it and there are those who point to the $3 million he contributed to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, to defeat John Kerry. Certainly as a man who likes to be known as someone who knows "more than a thousand ways to skin a cat", this would be an easy and relatively inexpensive amusing  last-minute surprise for Simmons, who has been called both Dallas' Angel of Grace and  Most Evil Genius

Whatever satisfaction one might take in the idea that additional choices are good for "little d" democracy is outweighed by the premise that the whole ploy is a result of conservatives being so afraid that Rick Perry will lost to Bill White that they had to resort to dirty tricks.

Update: Boyd Richie reacts ...

“The Green Party has become just another arm of the Republican Party and Governor Rick Perry's re-election effort and the Republican/Green Party coordination is a blow to the integrity of our election system,” said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie. “The signatures gained through this Republican effort should be withdrawn and Green Party candidates, officials and supporters should save their integrity and repudiate petitions that undermine democracy and fair elections.”

... as does Burnt Orange.

Update II: Harvey Kronberg's commentary for News8Austin ...

The first mystery money in the 2010 election surfaced just this week. According to Wayne Slater at the Dallas Morning News, a secret out-of-state benefactor has coughed up an estimated $200,000 to pay for a petition drive to get the Green Party on the November ballot. The secret money was laundered through an Arizona Republican political consultant who won’t identify the actual source.

A Green Party slate will siphon off a few votes from Bill White and other Democratic candidates. A handful of votes can be significant. Republicans retained control of the Texas House last year when they won a single legislative race by seventeen votes.

Here we go again. Mysterious out-of-state money from secret sources poisoning Texas elections.

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