February 23, 2004
Fill 'er up!

My, my. The TRMPAC scandal investigation continues to expand, as Travis County DA Ronnie Earle's office sends out dozens of subpoenas over the next few days.

Nine subpoenas were officially filed Friday. They went to House Speaker Tom Craddick and eight other people, including six Republican House members.

The subpoenas seek documents related to the 2002 speaker's race, which ended in 2003 with Craddick becoming the first Republican speaker since Reconstruction.


The subpoenas went to Craddick and six of his top lieutenants: Dianne White Delisi, R-Temple; Kent Grusendorf of Arlington; Phil King of Weatherford; Mike Krusee of Round Rock; Arlene Wohlgemuth of Burleson; and Beverly Woolley of Houston; all Republicans. Another went to Bill Ceverha, a former state representative and treasurer for the Republican majority group.

They were ordered to produce pledge cards -- which speaker candidates and their allies typically collect from House members during a race -- and any e-mails or other correspondence related to the speaker's race. The documents are supposed to be delivered to the grand jury Feb. 26.

Beverly Wooley will wake up today to see a front page story about her fundraising activities on behalf of TRM.

Rep. Beverly Woolley, R-Houston, swept through [Reliant Energy's] Houston corporate offices on Sept. 9, 2002, raising money for targeted House races as well as for Texans for a Republican Majority, according to an itinerary of her travel obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

Notes on her itinerary indicate she spoke to some donors about what types of legislation they would like.


Notations on Woolley's itinerary indicate that one energy executive said property taxes are "outrageous" and another energy executive wanted to take the "volatility out" of "severance tax policy." A banker who agreed to make $22,000 in donations directly to TRM-sponsored candidates wanted "to clean up home equity lending."

For financier Charles Hurwitz, it was noted he had an interest in improving the Texas horse racing industry, which he helped sponsor. The note said he had "retained (lobbyist) Elton Bomer -- Talked to (lobbyist Michael) Toomey."

At the time, Bomer was a horse racing lobbyist and Toomey was a lobbyist for Texans for Lawsuit Reform. TLR was one of five organizations targeting Republican House races.


A hand-written note on the itinerary called the trip a "36Kday + 25 Reliant." That meant $36,000 raised directly for candidates plus $25,000 in corporate money from Reliant.

The donation to TRM was made by then-Reliant Senior Vice President Bruce Gibson. Gibson now is chief of staff for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

Gibson said he remembers meeting with Woolley but nothing that was discussed. Gibson said it was not unusual at the time for political organizations to seek corporate "soft money" to finance state and federal campaign funds.

"There were all kinds of soft-money accounts. I got hit hard," Gibson said. "They usually were not involved in races. They were for other expenses."

According to the itinerary, Woolley spent the rest of the day raising money directly for specific House candidates from Houston executives on behalf of TRM.

Woolley went on to be named the chairman of the House Calendar Committee, which is the panel that decides which bills to debate on the House floor. Not that this will stop anyone from attempting the lame "no quid pro quo" defense. Who would ever stoop so low as to think that the person in charge of prioritizing legislation might remember who handed her an envelope full of unmarked bills along with a word in her ear about severance tax policy? The very idea is just so tacky.

The grand jury gets to pore over these documents on February 26. Mark it on your calendar.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 23, 2004 to Scandalized! | TrackBack

I guess I'll just have to quit reading your site - the cynicism is really, really too much.

Honestly, these poor public servants, just trying to give us the best representation money can buy. And what do you do? Ridicule them and cast such vile apersions as to their motivations.

For shame.

Posted by: Charles M on February 23, 2004 10:19 AM