A Bit Too Cute…

The media this week revealed a campaign by a shady, dark money funded entity to stalk, entrap and film members of the legislature. The stories revealed that this effort was operated and funded by a group with close ties to Senators Huffines, Kolkhorst and Burton.
Staffers on our hall the last two weeks have reported the comings and goings of creepy characters into several of the offices nearby. A number of these offices belong to members closely aligned with Tim Dunn, much like Senators Huffines, Kolkhorst and Burton. The common thread between those senators is consultant Luke Macias, with some assistance by TLR. There were even sightings of mega-lawyer to Dunn, Tony McDonald making appearances about the same time.
This dark money funded operation doing the stalking claims that they are here at the behest of their funders to find members that “campaign one way then act differently” after they are elected.
In the Mike Sullivan weekly call last night, Mike used almost the same verbiage to describe his criticism of the House and Speaker, while praising the actions of the senate. Coincidence? Doubtful.
All the evidence points to a collaboration between Dunn, the senate and this dark money stalker group. The stalker group also claims to certain staffers to have damaging information concerning Senator Fraser. Recent media reports attacked Fraser for his position on certain bills, asserting a conflict of interest. This attack was furthered by Dunn lawyer McDonald through the lobby machinery of Dunn.
We have made it clear on numerous occasions that the attacks being leveled by Dunn operations on the governor and speaker are clearly condoned by Lt. Gov. Patrick, as he has put Dunn and several of his cronies on his “advisory groups”. There is every indication that Patrick is ultimately responsible for and possibly coordinating these attacks on Abbott, Straus and now his own senators and house members.
Patrick has been lost  this entire session except for a few movements of clarity.  It is apparent that he as been doing the bidding of Dunn in repayment of his substantial campaign funding. But now he had gotten too cute and enabled Dunn and his dark money operatives to stalk members of both houses in his drive to get what he and Dunn want at any cost. This will be a defining moment of the session.

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A Week of Legislative Musings…

The recurring efforts by Tim Dunn to recruit Rep. Smithee to run for Speaker suffered a severe setback today when the House spurned his Dunn-backed and promoted a floor amendment to scale back the franchise tax rate reduction in the bill by Chairman Bonnen. Dunn crony legislators Stickland, Rinaldi and 6 others joined with 8 far left Democrat members to increase the margins tax rate in the bill by 20%. But the House, after just minutes of debate on the Smithee amendment, slammed the door shut on his challenge to the Speaker and his team by a whopping 120-16 margin.

Dunn and his operatives have tried to recruit Smithee for several years to run for Speaker against Straus according to reports from inside the Dunn-owned member offices. This last election cycle found Rep. Smithee traveling the state to do fundraisers for many of the Dunn backed candidates. Their plan reportedly was for Rep. Scott Turner to make a hard run at it for a time, then hand the race over to Rep. Smithee. However, it was reported that Smithee could see the challenge was going to be unsuccessful and chose to stay behind the scenes in the challenge and retain his chairmanship. But continuous pressure on Smithee from Dunn and his lobbyists convinced him to make a run at the floor amendment as a test vote for his potential run for Speaker against Straus in 2017.

Setting aside the Democrat votes on the amendment, which were most likely just protest votes for some perceived wrong, Smithee garnered just 7 votes other than his for this test run against Straus. The vote on the tax bill was a clear indication that should shut down any future designs Dunn may have on fielding Smithee, or any other member, as a challenger to the Speaker in 2017.

The attacks by the Lt. Gov. on Gov. Abbott continue unabated. The “grassroots” advisory group that the Lt. Gov. made even remotely relevant by giving them titles and letterhead has already attacked Abbott on several matters. Most recent was calling his Pre-K plan “godless” and “socialistic”. Additional members of these nut groups that are part of Patrick’s designated “advisory group” have now joined in the attacks. Calling Abbott a “disaster” as governor and charging that the governor is only supporting the bill because of his wife, these operatives of Patrick are ramping up their support of Patrick for his gubernatorial run against Abbott in 2018.

Abbott is having a much more successful session, by far, than Patrick is. Thus the attacks by the various Patrick operatives… The “advisory group”, along with Dunn cronies, have shown no qualms about leveling false and shrill attacks on Abbott in an attempt to make Patrick look more successful. This will fail and the few people that pay attention to these advisory groups will probably still end up voting for Abbott. Has anybody else notice that Patrick didn’t have even one minor life bill as one of his “priority” bills? For a guy that claims that God and Jesus visit with him about state issues, it’s surprising that he ignored all the pro-life measures. Jim Graham raised this very issue in our weekly call last week hosted by Mike Sullivan.

Despite the shortcomings in the operation of the senate, the senators themselves are being assertive and ensuring that the conservative business of the state doesn’t get sidetracked by the rookie mistakes of the new Lt. Gov. Kudos to Senator Hancock and Senator Eltife for keeping the senate on track this session.