This feels like a reach to me, but I suppose you never know.
The Republican Party of Texas is calling for an investigation into a December fundraiser for Rep. Hubert Vo hosted by a supporter who may be more used to scrutiny from the fashion police.
The GOP is questioning the fundraiser at a trendy Rice Village boutique owned by Chloe Dao, winner of the 2006 Project Runway designer competition on the Bravo TV channel.
The Republican Party Wednesday said the fundraiser amounted to an illegal corporate campaign contribution, and asked the district attorney’s public integrity unit and the Texas Ethics Commission to investigate.
The GOP wants to know whether it was legal for the campaign to offer “special discounts” on Lot 8 merchandise to event attendees, who paid $50 to $1,000 for the Dec. 13 event.
Vo, the first Vietnamese-American elected to the Texas Legislature, will face Republican Greg Meyers, a Houston school board member, in November.
GOP political director Hans Klinger said Vo failed to report costs associated with the fundraising event as an in-kind contribution.
Vo did not return a call to his cell phone. His campaign manager, Karen Loper, said in an e-mailed statement that Vo paid for the event.
“No in-kind contribution was made, none was reported, and our campaign report is true and accurate,” she said.
I suppose I should be happy that the Republican Party of Texas has come to recognize the pernicious effects of corporate campaign donations. That’s quite a change in attitude on their part from 2002, when TAB and TRMPAC were “blowing the doors off” the election that year. It’s also kind of amusing to see a small business like this be classified as a “corporation”, as if it were somehow in the same class as Sears, Williams Energy, or Bacardi USA. But we’ll leave that for the lawyers to sort out.
Lot 8 provided the store and ice, but Vo brought in the food and wine, Sydney Dao said. She said most in the crowd of about 30 to 40 were men, and while several brought their daughters, there was little shopping.
Sydney Dao said no one has redeemed the discounts listed on the invitation, which offered a free T-shirt with purchase of $100, 20 percent off Chloe Dao’s shoes and handbags and 20 percent off at the salon.
Doesn’t quite have the same cachet as getting shaken down for $25 grand by Tom DeLay does it? I’ll be surprised if this goes anywhere.
UPDATE: Miya has a great take on this.