Corruption in Texas Is Like a Cockroach Infestation
Everything is bigger in Texas and corruption is no exception.
Fraud, bribery, exploitation and plain old dishonesty are getting to be like a severe Texas case of cockroaches. For every one you see in the daylight, there are 800 or so hiding in the darkness. Cockroaches prefer the darkness and they scatter like mad when the light is turned on.
Rick Perry, Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz, the newly designated trinity of the nest, are experiencing a bit of blinding sunlight and in true cockroach form, they hide, ignore or attempt legal eagle rhetoric when their unprincipled nastiness is illuminated. They point a finger at Washington for lack of transparency, but their guilt is far greater.
Dark money is growing rampant in Texas. It was a year ago when Rick Perry vetoed a bill that would have forced tax-exempt, politically active nonprofits to disclose their donors. The debate between those who want transparency versus those who prefer to do their business in the dark continued last week.
Jim Clancy, chairman of the Texas Ethics Commission said that in the past, dark money has represented about 2 percent of political contributions, but predicts they will grow exponentially in the next election. He's concerned and he offered the example of a group called "Moms for Healthy Kids".
"That's great as long as it's being paid for by moms," Clancy said. "If it's paid for by Michael Bloomberg, then that's a different situation -- someone out of state with a lot of money who has an agenda. "
I laughed when I read about Empower Texas' Conservative dark money kingpin, Michael Q. Sullivan's preceding press conference and his take on the calls to reveal dark money. "It's the wrong path for the people of Texas."
Of course, he would say that because he is in a heap of legal troubles with the Ethics Commission. MQS should remember that when you spew poison in the way that he has for years, you can't help but get some poison on yourself.
Ted Cruz attempted to daze and confuse many with the claim that revealing dark money is a suppression of free speech and that it was "pernicious". It was typical lawyer-speak; perhaps he intended to force many Texans to run like hell to their dictionaries, thus distracting from the issue; a little like the "rope a dope" trick used by Cassius Clay before he was Muhammad Ali.
What have you got to hide, Ted? Maybe there is some Koch money or foreign oil money from ex-pats in Qatar hiding in those PAC's that bought your election? If Texans were smart, they'd see right through this Canadian grifter.
In the case of Perry and Abbott, it's as if both are trying to out-cockroach each other. Rick Perry's entire time in office has been one of bribery, slush-funds, under-the-table-payments for appointments and a million other gubernatorial transgressions. Maybe that's why he chose to be re-baptized recently. Nothing less than the Pacific Ocean will wash his political sins away.
And what of Greg Abbott? He wants to sacrifice four-year-olds to Pearson, the omnipotent gods of testing, but only for informational purposes. He hangs out with pedophiles and misogynists and worst of all, while he served as watchdog, on the Oversight Board of Cancer Research Institute, his donors' companies received $42 million of Texas' taxpayer money.
Jerry Cobbs, a former high-ranking official with the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, was indicted, but Perry and Abbott, just like Teflon, dodged any blame. You can read the list of insiders that you funded at the Lone Star Project .
Of course, there are many small time cockroaches in Texas politics as well. Ken Paxton remains silent on the securities questions, yet he hopes you will still vote for him for Attorney General. Payday lenders serve in the state's credit consumer office and most all politicians regardless of party are bankrolled by the oil and gas industry. They even bought the office of Railroad Commissioner especially for Christi Craddick. It costs them $600,000.
Dark money is so entrenched in Texas politics that many claim it's a necessary evil to stay in politics; perhaps being corrupt is a prerequisite for holding public office also. It's going to take more than a single election to obliterate it. It seems that only solution is adopt the mantra of "Storm the Bastille, then on to Versailles" as the new battle cry of Texas.
In spite of all the proof, the publicity, the news stories, and all the examples of backroom deals, illegal grant writing, and garden variety political theft, voters will continue their present state of passivity and continue to vote for the political profiteers based solely upon the single letter beside the candidate's name.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.