Have you cast your vote in the primary runoffs yet? If you have, you're in select company. And you have until 7 PM today to join that select company, plus Tuesday the 8th, at the limited number of locations that will be available. Take my advice and vote today - I guarantee it won't take you more than a minute or two. And please remember to vote for Dale Henry and Larry Weiman.
Former Harris County government chief Robert Eckels has emerged as the top financial promoter of Pat Lykos' campaign for district attorney with his veiled funding of a $17,500 leaflet that denounces candidate Kelly Siegler without revealing its senders' identities.
Using money left over from his campaigns for county judge, Eckels is this year's sole bankroller of the Harris County GOP Political Action Committee, which has been criticized by Republican Party officials for using the name while lacking any official connection to the party. The committee has received no other money this year and endorsed no one for other offices.
Many Harris County voters this week received the mailed leaflet, which makes no mention of former judge Lykos, from the "Harris County GOP PAC." By law, the committee listed treasurer Jason Miller, a computer technologist. It contains no reference to Eckels, who once employed Lykos, or of committee chairman Bob Pelfrey, a longtime Republican activist. Those disclosures are not required.
Eckels' $17,500 contribution to the committee, however, is listed on disclosures filed this week with the Texas Ethics Commission.
Eckels said he was not trying to hide his role in the mailing, which shows Siegler and her disgraced former boss, Chuck Rosenthal as a pair, calling them "one & the same." It also states, among other things, that Siegler "doesn't believe ethical rules apply to her."
Instead, Eckels explained, he merely agreed to fund whatever mail Pelfrey wanted to send on behalf of Lykos. Eckels and Lykos said they never saw the leaflet until it was mailed and did not discuss its contents with Pelfrey.
"The language is perhaps a little stronger than I might use," Eckels said. Lykos said she thought Pelfrey's mail was going to be an endorsement of her rather than a slam against Siegler -- but added that the allegations in the leaflet are factual and based on public records.
Siegler, told of Eckels' role, said "it's not surprising to me, when Lykos' entire campaign has been based on deceit, false accusations and downright lies."
Jared Woodfill, a lawyer who chairs the Harris County Republican Party, said the use of the name Harris County GOP PAC without additional data about its backers has fooled several voters into thinking the leaflet is the official word of the party, which is neutral in the district attorney's race.
Said Pelfrey: "The voters are smarter than that. People like Woodfill ... will say that if they are not being endorsed."
Lykos pointed out that Siegler has benefited from an endorsement mailing from another group with a generic name, Conservative Republicans of Harris County. Its leader, Dr. Steven Hotze, endorsed Siegler but Hotze does not include his name on his recommendation list.