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Who helped the Greens get on the ballot?

According to Wayne Slater, it was “an out-of-state Republican consultant with a history of helping conservative causes and GOP candidates.”

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, who oversees Texas elections. If the secretary of state determines that enough of them are valid, the party will be able to field a slate of candidates for statewide offices for the first time since 2002.

[…]

Christina Tobin, who heads a Chicago-based petition-gathering company called Free and Equal Inc., said she was approached by [Arizona Republican operative Tim] 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.”

[…]

Kat Swift, state coordinator for the Texas Green Party, said restrictions in Texas – including a short period for petition-gathering and a requirement that signers be registered voters who did not participate in the primary – are tough for third parties to overcome.

“If it hadn’t been for that donation, we wouldn’t have been on the ballot,” she said.

In an online solicitation to supporters, the Green Party offered petition-gatherers $4 per signature, thanks to what the party on its Facebook page called “last minute fairy tale funding.” At that rate, the effort would have cost between $200,000 and $350,000.

She said the Green Party will report the signatures as an in-kind contribution on its next campaign finance report. Take Initiative America will appear as the donor. No law requires the group to disclose its contributors.

Swift said she has no concern that the funding to get her party on the ballot might have come from Republicans who don’t share the party’s liberal philosophy on issues.

“Wherever the money came from doesn’t bother me,” she said. “If it came from Democrats, which I doubt, or if it came from Republicans – whoever made this donation supports an open ballot, open democracy. And that’s the whole point. People are trying to open the ballot to increase democracy and so, who cares how they vote?”

I have a hard time believing Kat Swift is that naive, but whatever. This is far from the first time that Republicans have done this sort of thing – it happened all over the place in 2004, with Ralph Nader – and it’s far from the last. What really bugs me is the anonymous nature of it all. I’ve seen so many cases of big bucks Republican and conservative donors contributing anonymously, or demanding the right to contribute anonymously, to affect the outcome of an election. I have no idea what they’re so afraid of, or why they’re so ashamed to sign their names to their work, but it’s all very typical. Good for the Greens, I guess, but forgive me for not viewing this as some great victory for democracy. BOR, PDiddie, and Harvey Kronberg have more.

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7 Comments

  1. Brad M. says:

    Well, its distasteful how the Greens got on…but would democracy be served by preventing them a ballot access line?

    I fully agree with you that Republicans operatives should not be legally allowed to keep their snakes in the grass and hide their names.

    I wonder how the Reps feel every election cycle when the Dems conveniently leave open a statewide race for the Libertarians to win +5% of the vote to keep their ballot access?

  2. Brad,

    Democracy would be served if they had collected their own signatures, or gotten the funding to help them collect them. Having them handed to them by an outside organization is, as we agree, distasteful.

    The Libs do a good enough job fielding candidates for downballot races that I feel confident they’d get on the ballot regardless of what the Dems did.

  3. Brad M. says:

    Charles,

    I’d have to check when was the last time that a Lib won +5% in a statewide race where there was a both Rep and Dem in it.

    Yes, it would seem better and authentic and genuine if card carrying Green Party members only from the state of Texas had spent their own time and money to collect their own signatures to get Texas ballot access.

    But in that same vein it would also seem better for Texas Dems and Reps to not accept any money from anyone or any organization outside of the state of Texas in their election campaigns. It would also be better for only card carrying Democrats and Republicans (yes, I know we don’t have actual voter party registration in Texas) who actually pay dues and are actual members of a majority party to be allowed to participate in their own party’s primaries. This doesn’t happen. Moreover and more importantly these actual dues-paying party members then have to pay for their own primary election. I wonder why it is that a plurality of the voters in this state who are not self identified Reps or Dems are required to have their tax dollars spent on the Democratic and Republican primaries and runoffs. I don’t think you’d find alot of self-described Republicans or Democrats then.

    I’d like to find a way to limit or eradicate all the election loopholes that allow both majority parties to get up to these type of shennanigans. I am sure there are a number of Greens who might be upset to find out how they got on the ballot (if it even happens) and there will a number laughing all the way to the ballot booth.

  4. […] Slater follows up his previous reporting on the petition signatures that were gathered by an outside organization for the Green Party with […]

  5. Bill says:

    Paying dues to vote sounds a little 1950s to me . . .

  6. Brad M. says:

    Bill, its okay for Dem and Reps to vote for “free” (at expense of all taxpayers…35% who are not Rep/Dem), but the Greens have to spend $000’s to “vote” via a petition? A little inequity there don’t you think?

  7. Texas Libertarians have never polled 5% in a statewide election in which both the Democrats and the Republicans had a nominee.

    However, the Libertarians did poll 2% for Governor in 1990, even though both major parties had candidates in the gubernatorial race. Polling 2% for Governor is an alternate means for a party to remain ballot-qualified.

    This article, and every article, on the subject of the Green petition in 2010 ought to point out the real scandal, that Texas has such stringent laws that only parties with money can get on the ballot. Before 1967, Texas let any party on the ballot with no petition at all, and yet Texas never had more than 6 parties on the ballot. All they had to do was hold a state convention, and county conventions in any 20 counties.