The Chron profiles Texans for Public Justice, the group that filed the complaint that led to Rick Perry’s indictments.
[Craig] McDonald’s Texans for Public Justice, which operates out of a small office west of the University of Texas-Austin campus and currently has less than $1,000 in the bank, is known as the state’s preeminent group for analyzing campaign donations, building lobbyist databases and filing ethical complaints. It is at least partially responsible for the downfalls of former state Rep. Gabi Canales, former state Board of Education member Rene Nuñez and, most notably, former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
The only thing unusual about the two-page Perry complaint, McDonald said, was how long it took him and longtime colleague Andrew Wheat to put it together: just two days.
That, and the reaction.
Since the indictment was handed up Aug. 15, Texans for Public Justice has received dozens of interview requests and hundreds of expletive-filled letters, calls and emails, 10 times what followed DeLay’s 2005 indictment, McDonald said.
The group has played no role in the case since filing the complaint, but it nonetheless has become a part of the story as Perry has waged an aggressive campaign to cast the indictment as politically motivated.
Most of the group’s most high-profile targets have been Republicans, including DeLay, Perry and Ken Paxton, the current GOP nominee for attorney general, who last month became the subject of a TPJ complaint over his failure to register as an investment adviser as required by law.
Texans for Public Justice has gone after Democrats too.
One of the group’s earliest efforts targeted Canales, a Corpus Christi Democrat, for allegedly selling her power as a legislator to delay lawsuits. Canales lost her 2004 re-election bid, and the Legislature passed a law requiring all members to disclose when they used legislative continuances during legal proceedings.
Two other Democrats, Nuñez and fellow state Board of Education member Rick Agosto, were targeted in 2009 for not reporting gifts from a firm with business before the board. Nuñez was fined and lost his re-election bid.
National campaign-finance watchdog Ellen Miller said the group likely would target more Democrats if there were more of them in power.
“Texans for Public Justice has a national prominence and recognition for their very active state-based work around issues having to do with money, power and politics,” said Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, which donated $1,200 to the Texas group in 2012.
So there you have it. Elect more Democrats, including some statewide, and you’ll see more of them get into trouble. It’s a lot harder to abuse power when you don’t have it.
Anyway. This story is a lot like the Trib story from last week, and undoubtedly like the others that have been written as well. I hope that in addition to all the attention they’re getting, a few people have also made contributions to TPJ so they can keep doing what they’re doing. If you want to be one of those people, see below the fold for the text of a fundraising email they sent out, with a donation link included. Someone has to do what TPJ does, and they’ve shown they’re pretty good at it.
TPJ is under siege!
After a criminal complaint we filed resulted in two felony indictments of Gov. Perry, we have fielded a flood of media calls and a deluge of telephone threats and hate mail—all on an empty bank account.
Perry says the indictments are a “farce.” They’re not!
He says they’re an attack on his veto powers. He’s wrong!
Perry says they are about a drunken DA. Not true!
TPJ’s complaint – and the indictments — are about Perry’s abuse of his office. They are about illegal threats to a Texas public official.
Perry’s spin machine needs to be challenged!
We need help to fight back!
Please contribute today to get the truth out.
Visit our supporters’ page to donate.
Learn the facts about Perry’s abuse of power:
* “Judge Warns Against Perry Grand Jury Threats,” Austin American-Statesman;
* Media Matters: “Texas Journalists Urge National Media To Take Perry Case More Seriously;”
* Dallas Morning News editorial: “Rick Perry’s Indictment Damages Governor and the State;”
* The Texas Tribune profile “Meet the Group that Sparked the Perry Indictment.”
Texans for Public Justice, is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization. Contributions to Texans for Public Justice are not tax-deductible. It’s sister-organization the Public Justice Foundation of Texas, is a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible foundation.