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DA finally gets around to investigating anti-rail group

Now that November’s election is safely over, Harris County DA Chuck Rosenthal is finally getting around to finishing up that investigation of anti-rail group Texans for True Mobility.

Texans for True Mobility is believed to have spent about $1.5 million waging an advertising campaign against the Metropolitan Transit Authority proposal, which 52 percent of voters approved Nov. 4.

The group established itself as both a nonprofit education foundation and a political action committee, but nearly all its spending went through the foundation. The nonprofit arm said it was not required to disclose its donors because it engaged in educational advertising, not political advocacy.

TTM’s secrecy drew complaints from the Houston Chronicle, Common Cause of Texas and Pro-Rail Houston, a political action committee formed specifically to challenge the group’s refusal to divulge its funding sources.

Citizens for Public Transportation, a political action committee that spent almost as much money as TTM campaigning in support of Metro’s 2025 transit plan, also objected.

District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal said this week he has instructed the head of his government affairs division to complete the inquiry into whether TTM violated state ethics laws that require any organization spending money for political purposes to file disclosure statements.

Don Smyth, the attorney leading the investigation, was gone for several weeks during the holidays, Rosenthal said, explaining why a decision on whether to pursue criminal charges has yet to be reached.

“I asked him Tuesday for a conclusion and to have it on my desk” in the next week or two, he said. “I need to have it come to an end.”

No rush, big guy. I’m sure you have plenty of other important things on your plate. This is pretty much what I expected from you.

Background on this story can be found here, here, and though it’s not directly related, here.

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  1. kevin whited says:

    Has he done anything on that payoff to the Housnitch crackpot yet? Maybe that’s occupying his time. 🙂

  2. […] it’s not like we’ve never seen this sort of thing before. Remember Texans for True Mobility? How about those anonymous attack mailers against Adrian Garcia in 2003? The only […]