March 02, 2004
Yet another overview

The Texas Observer moves the ball farther forward in the TAB/TRMPAC scandal. Among other things:

- The Travis County grand jury expires at the end of March, so any indictments handed down should be made public before then.

- The investigation may eventually touch Attorney General Greg Abbott due to the late intervention of the Law Enforcement Association of America.

- Some people are still attempting to reap benefits from Speaker Craddick's ascension in 2002:

Ben Streusand has long been fascinated with politics. In the Houston offices of Home Loan Corp., the mortgage-lending firm he heads, hang signed letters by Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt. A large man with a jovial smile, Streusand has worked for years as a Republican fund-raiser in Houston. He is the kind of essential cog in the Texas Republican political machine that links the elected officials with their corporate contributors. On October 12, 2002, about a month before the election, Streusand sent a letter addressed to: “Tom Craddick, Texans for a Republican Majority.” Enclosed was a $5,000 check from Aegis Mortgage Corp. to TRMPAC. Streusand wrote, “Dear Tom: Rick Thompson is the President of Aegis Mortgage, a nationwide lender headquartered in Houston. Next time you are in town I would like you to meet him.”

Streusand declined to respond to four calls seeking comment.

Since a number of corporate privateers and other special interests cashed in on the 78th Legislature, it stands to reason that Streusand would get his piece as well. And indeed, Streusand has benefited nicely from the efforts of Craddick, DeLay, and TRMPAC. He’s running for Congress in the newly redrawn, ultra-conservative 10th district that runs from north Houston to Austin. He’s leading in the polls and favored to beat his seven Republican opponents in the primary, which in that district, essentially hands him a U.S. House seat. As for Craddick, his acceptance of at least $5,000 in corporate money on behalf of TRMPAC doesn’t square with his post-election claims that he wasn’t involved with the PAC.

There's no "essentially" about the 10th CD, as there's no Democratic opposition. I've seen Streusand's idiotic TV ads, in which he seems to think that the budget deficit can be blamed on discretionary spending (see Calpundit for the real story), and those were enough to convince me that he's the second-worst candidate after John Devine. If he winds up in Congress, there really is no justice.

Anyway, a good solid read for all interested parties. Check it out.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 02, 2004 to Scandalized! | TrackBack