Submitted by Fred on Tue, 10/19/2004 - 4:36pm.
W. Gardner Selby
Express-News Austin Bureau

AUSTIN — In a blow to a group under investigation for spending corporate money in the 2002 legislative elections, a federal appeals court this week dismissed its request for protection from a Travis County grand jury.
Submitted by Fred on Tue, 10/19/2004 - 9:03am.
Jaime Castillo

A newspaper article that raises questions about whether San Antonio state Rep. Ken Mercer's campaign benefited from corporate money two years ago added another flashpoint to the heated District 117 race on Monday.
Submitted by Fred on Mon, 10/18/2004 - 4:18pm.
Laylan Copelin’s Sunday Statesman article appears devastating to the defense of the Texas Association of Business (TAB). TAB’s has defended its $1.9 million corporate-funded direct mail campaign in 2002, contending that the mailers are protected free speech because they are issue advocacy and not electioneering.

The law, however, is clear that if the ads were coordinated between TAB and state house campaigns, then whether they are issue advocacy is irrelevant. The ads--whatever their content-- would be considered in-kind corporate contributions to the candidates.
Submitted by Fred on Mon, 10/18/2004 - 9:43am.
Evidence continues to mount that the Texas Association of Business attack-ad campaign in 2002 was anything but what its leaders say it was — an uncoordinated project to educate voters about issues.
Submitted by Fred on Sun, 10/17/2004 - 7:30pm.
Lawyers debate whether evidence of coordination is enough to force disclosure of corporate donors.
By Laylan Copelin

Two years into a criminal investigation of the Texas Association of Business, documents show that the group's plans to mail to voters ads paid for with corporate money were shared with a campaign, raising questions about whether the association's ads were illegal political mail.

Consultant Kevin Brannon, who worked for Texans for a Republican Majority while advising San Antonio legislative candidate Ken Mercer, discussed the business association's mailings with Mercer and his campaign manager, according to documents obtained by the Austin American-Statesman. Brannon's handwritten notes also show that he knew about two last-minute attack ads prepared for the association and a donor who wanted to finance TAB mailings for Mercer.
Submitted by Fred on Thu, 10/14/2004 - 9:19am.
Fred's Note: This isn't a campaign finance or ethics article, but it's a disgrace, in my opinion, that candidates don't answer issue surveys so voters will know where they stand.

Associated Press:Texas candidates get low rating in response to issues survey

Sixty-nine percent of Texas candidates for Congress and the state Legislature would not answer questions on key voter issues in a study by the non-partisan Project Vote Smart, the organization reported Wednesday.
Submitted by Fred on Wed, 10/13/2004 - 4:07pm.
Hefley: ‘I was threatened’
Ethics committee’s actions against DeLay trigger angry response from Republicans
By Alexander Bolton

House ethics committee Chairman Joel Hefley (R-Colo.) said last week that Republican lawmakers have threatened him in the wake of his panel’s recent admonishments of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).
Submitted by Fred on Wed, 10/13/2004 - 6:42am.

TEMECULA, Calif. — You can sit for a long time at a low-stakes Texas hold-em game in the Pechanga Resort and Casino and not hear a word about politics. But when the dealer slides open the small trap door on the table to make the house's collection from each hand, politicians from this desert community all the way to Washington, D.C., hear a tantalizing "ka-ching."

In the last 10 years, the billions in income from American Indian gambling operations have become an influential source of political money.
Submitted by Fred on Tue, 10/12/2004 - 6:29am.
Ellis, Robold are booked on charges relating to Texas campaign finance laws, then released

By Laylan Copelin

Associates of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay were booked into jail Monday on felony charges of violating state campaign finance laws.

Jim Ellis, indicted on one first-degree felony charge of money laundering, and Warren Robold, indicted on 18 third-degree felony counts of making or accepting illegal corporate donations, were released on bail after their lawyers appeared before state District Judge Bob Perkins. Ellis was released on $20,000 bail, and Robold was released on bail of $90,000.
Submitted by Fred on Mon, 10/11/2004 - 8:25am.

AUSTIN, Tex. - A man who once thought he recognized Ronnie Earle in a restaurant sent a waitress over to ask "if you're the district eternity of Austin."

It can sure seem that way to voters here in the Texas capital. Mr. Earle, 62, has been the Travis County prosecutor since Jimmy Carter won the White House and is now running without major opposition for an eighth four-year term.

In that time, Mr. Earle, a onetime Eagle Scout who is not above sharp-elbowing his adversaries, has collected the scalps of prominent fellow Democrats as well as Republicans, while managing to fend off attacks on his own. And as if an embodiment of the city's unofficial slogan, "Keep Austin Weird," he once even prosecuted himself.