Fighting for Transparency & Fiscal Responsibility in Local Government

Donations to this State Rep. Candidate are Tax Deductible?

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Carlos Antonio Raymond doesn’t need to be elected as State Representative for House District 117, he is already rewriting the laws for himself. This long time Democrat is on the Republican ballot in a swing district in Bexar County, on the Western side of San Antonio. He is running against C.P.A. Michael Berlanga. He perhaps should have asked his opponent’s advice before making his campaign signs. They boast that donations given to Raymond are “Tax Deductible Donations.” He either doesn’t know the law or has a complete disregard for it.

First of all, Raymond is a Democrat. He campaigned for Leticia Van De Putte against Dan Patrick for Lt. Governor and numerous other Democrat candidates. In 2015 he applied to be on the Democrat Primary ballot as a candidate for HD117 but was rejected. He then sued the Bexar County Democrat Chairman for wrongfully keeping him off the ballot. When the lawsuit failed, he ran as a write-in candidate in November of 2016. He received less than 1% of the vote.

Control of District 117 swings back and forth from Republican to Democrat depending on the cycle. Right now, the seat is held by a Democrat, so chances are the next to be elected will be a Republican. This could be why Raymond chose the GOP this time around, or maybe it is because he burned his bridges on the other side when he sued the Dem. County Chair. Either way, voters need to know that Carlos Antonio Raymond is a conservative of convenience, not principle.

One thing is clear, supporters of Carlos Antonio Raymond will not be able to deduct their campaign contributions from their taxes. Hopefully a competent accountant will clue them in, or they will get an unpleasant visit from the IRS. Perhaps Michael Berlanga could offer his services to these unfortunate victims. The District Attorney’s office may want to look into this as well. Is Raymond guilty of fraud for claiming his donations are tax deductible?

State Law: Separation of Campaign and State

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According to Facebook photos, Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks’ campaign appears to be using county vehicles for campaign purposes.

The photos show Brooks’ Executive Assistant, Leon Polk, driving and posing with a county vehicle with campaign signs attached. We know that one was used in the 2018 MLK Day Parade in Downtown Fort Worth. The other, based on the date and location of the photo, was presumably used in the 2016 Juneteenth celebration. All elected officials should know that anything publicly funded cannot be used for campaigning. Elected officials must separate campaign and state–public resources cannot be used for campaign purposes.

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Commissioners Declare War on Legislature

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This week Tarrant County Judge Whitley declared war on the Texas legislature. Whitley is attempting to blame the legislature for the massive increases homeowners are experiencing in their local property taxes. In so doing, he declares the legislature the enemy. All 4 senators representing Tarrant County responded in one unified voice, you can read that response HERE.

Whitley is obviously in deflection mode attempting to draw attention away from his tax and spend ways and toward a way to blame others, typical politician. But he is not alone.

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Rep Swanson Pays Out of Her Own Pocket to Serve Constituents

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It’s primary season and Valoree Swanson’s (HD150) opponent has come out with a new ad with some creative accusations.

Not only are the accusations made against Swanson false, the facts show the opposite; the conservative lawmaker is actually taking money out of her own pocket to serve her constituents. Unlike many lawmakers who use their campaign accounts for personal benefit, and other non-campaign related costs, Swanson should lauded for her integrity and personal sacrifice, not scorned.

Swanson is a freshman from Spring Texas, and the only female member of the Texas Freedom Caucus in the House. The establishment and lobby are not happy with the Freedom Caucus and are coming after them as best they can.

To do so they scraped the bottom of the barrel and put up James Wilson to primary Swanson. (Similarly the lobby recruited Terry Sain against Briscoe Cain, only to have him drop out once he realized he was just their pawn.) Wilson and his posse have come out with an attack ad today claiming Swanson has enriched herself using campaign funds to reimburse herself for mileage and travel expenses which are in the tens of thousands of dollars. Outrageous!!!….or is it? Read More

All Four Tarrant County Senators Response to Glen Whitley’s Misinformation

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February 11, 2018

To the Editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley tells a bold-faced lie about the state budget and local property taxes and is hailed as a “truth teller” by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram?

Let’s set the record straight. Local property tax rates are set by locally elected officials. Period. They are not determined by an informational rider in the state budget as Judge Whitley dishonestly suggests. He well knows our school finance formula dictates that local property tax revenue go into the system first, with state funding added on top. This has been the case since the 1940s. Local property tax collections dictate the state’s share of education funding – not vice versa.

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