Last week, when campaign signs for disgraced former family court judge Denise Pratt popped up at some early voting locations in Houston, several sources said they had seen local Republican political consultant Burt Levine putting them up.
Levine’s name did not make the story, however, as he did not return the calls and messages I left for him (after he hung up on me). A photo sent to me Tuesday would appear to confirm those source reports. In Levine’s right hand, you can see a Pratt campaign flier peeking out.
Despite Pratt’s announcement on March 28 that she would immediately resign and suspend her re-election campaign – later revealed to be part of a deal with the Harris County District Attorney to avoid indictment – her name appeared on the GOP ballot as she missed a deadline to withdraw. Her resignation was, according to a recent statement issued by District Attorney Devon Anderson, “in exchange for her voluntary and permanent resignation from the judiciary.”
Given that stipulation, the questions raised by Levine’s apparent campaigning are: Does Pratt know he is doing this? Is she paying him to do it or is he just a diehard supporter who had some extra signs, fliers and buttons laying around? If Pratt is in on it, would Anderson consider it a violation of their agreement?
See here for the background, and click the story link above for the photo and the circumstantial case that Levine was paid by the Pratt campaign for the sign work. I’m sure a denial will be forthcoming from one or both of them, but again, it’s not like the Pratt campaign has established a baseline of trustworthiness. In one sense it doesn’t matter since Pratt got creamed in the runoff, and can now slink off into a well-deserved obscurity. In terms of her secret resignation deal with DA Devon Anderson, it does matter. Anderson should answer the questions reporter Kiah Collier poses, and frankly she should demand that Pratt prove she had nothing to do with Levine’s actions. I don’t expect either of those to happen, so let that stand as a lesson for why sticking to the normal process and doing it transparently is the better way.