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Bell files lawsuit against Perry

Well, this could get interesting.

Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell filed a lawsuit against Gov. Rick Perry’s 2006 re-election campaign and the Republican Governor’s Association today claiming they illegally hid $1 million in donations from Houston homebuilder Bob Perry.

The lawsuit claims the Republican Governor’s Association was not legally set up to make donations at the time of the contributions to Perry.

RGA Executive Director Nick Ayers called the lawsuit “political posturing at its best.”

Perry spokesman Robert Black issued a statement calling Bell’s lawsuit retaliation.


If the lawsuit is successful, Bell would be able to collect a maximum of $2 million each from the RGA, Perry’s campaign fund and Perry campaign treasurer, Austin dentist Richard Box, said Bell’s lawyer, Buck Wood.

A copy of the lawsuit is here, and a reprint of a Chron story from January that first aired this information is at the Texas Politics post. I realize that between the Lone Star Project, the Fort Bend GOP, and Ed Emmett, it seems like everyone is suing everyone else these days, but I wouldn’t dismiss this out of hand. Back in 2002, I scoffed at some losing Democratic State House candidates when they filed a suit against the Texas Association of Business. Not only did those plaintiffs win their suit, they uncovered evidence of fund-shifting not unlike what’s being alleged here that led directly to the criminal indictments of Tom DeLay and three of his cronies. You never know what might happen during discovery. Most people have better things to do than file frivolous suits, so let’s see what happens when a motion to dismiss is made.

On a side note, I’d like to see someone answer the commenter there who asked about Grandma Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman filing suits of their own. It’d be interesting to hear what they think about this.

UPDATE: This Statesman story has more (link via V&W).

UPDATE: And here’s the Chron story.

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  1. Baby Snooks says:

    It already is interesting. And the question is whether Bell would have filed the lawsuit if he’d gotten the lobbying contract.

    Is the Republican Governor’s Association regulated in any way by the FEC? If they did it here, they probably did it elsewhere. Especially if Bob Perry had his checkbook out. He has become quite generous in other states apparently.

  2. joe says:

    BS, the question isn’t whether Bell would have filed the suit if you follow Robert Black’s red herring, it’s whether or not Perry and the RGA broke the law.

  3. Baby Snooks says:

    Sort of a red whale actually.

    I wonder if anyone took this to Ronnie Earle’s office?

  4. joe says:

    BS – looks like it is being reviewed by the Travis County Attorney’s office.

  5. Baby Snooks says:

    Apparently Republican Governor’s Association is a 527 organization and doesn’t have to disclose the donors under federal law?

    Does state law supercede federal law in this instance?

    Perry’s office has indicated it provided an online reference for disclosure of donors but it was an incorrect reference?

    It certainly is focusing attention on “campaign finance” again. And on the various loopholes that quite a few use to circumvent the law that apparently isn’t always the law.

  6. Baby Snooks says:

    Apparently, or at least for appearances sake, Perry’s office didn’t know it was a 527 and apparently, or at least for appearances sake, did comply with the law.

    Are 527s allowed to directly contribute to a candidate under McCain-Feingold?