Craddick’s lawyer changes story regarding PAC donations


A lawyer for Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick reversed himself Tuesday, saying the Midland Republican specified that he wanted his $250,000 donation to a political committee to go to several House Democrats who supported him.

When Travis County prosecutors began investigating the donations last month, Austin lawyer Roy Minton denied that Craddick had directed how the donation to the committee, Texas Jobs & Opportunity Build a Secure Future, should be spent.

On Tuesday, Minton said Christi Craddick, the speaker’s daughter, who runs his political operation, wrote the Texas Jobs committee a letter in January asking it to give $50,000 each to four Democratic incumbents who had opponents in the March 4 primaries.

“Of course, they were happy to do it,” Minton said. “Tom knew everything that was going on.”

Minton said that his remarks last month were his mistake and that he had turned Christi Craddick’s letter over to prosecutors as part of a package of records that had been subpoenaed.

Here’s some info on the criminal complaint that TPJ filed last month. You may recall that there has also been a lawsuit filed to overturn the Speaker’s race statute.

Austin lawyer Buck Wood said the speaker’s statute, which he helped write in the 1970s, is being misconstrued in some quarters.

He said the law doesn’t prohibit a lawmaker — even a speaker candidate — from donating to a colleague’s campaign. But he said a jury would have to weigh the facts of each case to determine whether the donations were intended to aid or defeat a speaker’s candidate.

He said it would be difficult to convince a jury that a member giving $1,000 was influencing the speaker’s election.

In Craddick’s instance, Wood said, “It’s the totality of the circumstances.”

The Texas Jobs political committee had been mostly dormant throughout 2007 before it was renamed and revitalized this winter with the $250,000 from Craddick’s campaign account. The size of the donations, plus whether Craddick directed where the money should go, also would be considered, Wood said.

Minton disagreed with Wood, saying there is no prohibition in the law against a donor asking a committee to send the money to a certain candidate.

“He’s letting his liberal politics get in the way of what the law is,” Minton said.

That sounds like a fact for a jury to decide. Assuming this gets that far, of course.

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One Response to Craddick’s lawyer changes story regarding PAC donations

  1. Baby Snooks says:

    “Assuming this gets that far, of course.”

    It probably won’t. It hasn’t gotten that far with Tom De Lay. And probably won’t.

    Welcome to Texas. Where justice is bought. On both sides of the scales.

    I have always been amused by this “no corporate contributions” since that is what PACs were set up for. To provide “corporate contributions.”

    Every time they “reform” campaign finance they merely create a new vehicle to funnel money through. The latest is the 527s. But when you get right down to it, the Democrats oppose real reform along with the Republicans.

    It truly is all about the money. Instead of about the people.

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