Pay for Play; Candidates PAYING for Endorsements

For those unfamiliar with the process (people outside of Harris county And now Tarrant county) the process is- in its rawest state simple. Some political emailers/snailmailers offer to endorse a candidate if the ‘help cover’ the cost of the distribution of the news of the endorsement. And for many of those, the person doing the endorsement has a significant interest (either directly, or through family and friends) in the companies that get paid to do the printing/mailing or maintain the email lists.

This is an inherently corrupt process that has made most lists available locally in Harris County of laughable value; more a measure of the checkbook of the candidate’s campaign than any other attribute. Unfortunately most Harris county voters don’t know any better since this has become institutionalized for quite some time. The Link List, the Conservative Republicans of Texas, and Texas Conservative review are all versions of this. Indeed, this money-making tactic is so pervasive in Harris county, they don’t envision any other way of doing things and wrongly assume all ‘slate lists are done the same way.

Unfortunately, a version of this has recently sprouted its ugly head here in North Texas (Fort Worth) that is somewhat different, but no less inherently corrupt. A candidate forum is widely advertised that a ‘straw poll’ will be held to announce ‘endorsements’. The forum is free for voters, but to attend it, a candidate has to pay $800. A candidate not showing up essentially forfeits any real chance. And, of course, a candidate that can organize (or PAY) bodies to show up will generally carry the day; no expertise of even candidate knowledge is required. Anyone who has been to Austin for controversial hearings understand bussing in attendance (whether an actual bus is used or not), normally paid with meal or actual payments, happens all the time. That’s how the anti-sanctuary city bill and Privacy (bathroom) Bill both had an over 50-1 opposed testimony, Such is hardly a reflection for the actual voting population. (UPDATE: it didn’t take 6 hours to be proven right on this, Charlie Geren’s and George P. Bush’s crews organized a ‘packing’ operation, skewed the vote and won despite the conservatives winning everywhere else. Charlie’s group didn’t even man their table!) (UDPADE2: our old Ft Worth nemesis Bud Kennedy pointed out dishonest approaches associated with these folks in 2014; liberals- like broken clocks- do, on rare occasion, provide useful information.)

Most North Texans and central Texans know that there is a better, more ethical way. There are good vetting groups, based on principles and policies, that vett candidates that way and endorse based on that, WITHOUT any quid pro quo, other than to pledge to support for good policies in office. The lists found here ARE those groups. The endorsements are made, these combined lists were constructed and formatted- all at NO direct cost or financial quid pro quo from anyone on them. They are FREE to be download and printed (There is a spot for the name & address of whoever physically prints them to be added to fulfill the letter of the campaign laws, Any individual can spend up to $200 on such undirected efforts and not have to do any reporting.) They are FREE to be turned into mailers by any candidate or PAC who wishes to do so. (In 2014, an unsolicited donor stepped forward AFTER vetting was done and contributed to the North Texas Tea Party PAC to do just this; 105,000 mailers went out and both Matt Rinaldi and Bob Hall will tell you that they made the difference.)

So, to clarify what the lists here represent, the following disclaimer/clarification has been added to the  voter guides of Tarrant and Harris counties:

The groups listed represent tens of thousands of conservative political activists and no candidate listed was required to pay any of these groups or volunteers that made this compilation for consideration or inclusion in this voter guide.

Know the sources and the background of the sources you use to help you decide how to vote- and whether income or profit is a motive.

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