Posts by Christine Welborn

Should We Care About the 2018 RPT Convention?

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Last week 7961 delegates and 1964 alternates* from around the state attended the 2018 Republican Party of Texas (RPT) State Convention in San Antonio. Was it worth the time and treasure spent by those 9925 individuals? Priorities were set for the legislature, but there is no guarantee they will listen. No actual bills were passed. Was this just an exercise in futility, or was it a chance to establish a new brand, a new marketing campaign for the RPT?

For some the convention is a chance to network, socialize, connect with elected officials from around the state, and enjoy the party part of the Party. Others come to try their hand at legislating and navigating Roberts Rules of Order. Many come to just watch and learn.

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Another Judicial Candidate in Hot Water, Again

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The spotlight is on Kimberly Fitzpatrick, candidate for District Judge, once again, for violating the law. This time it is for illegally accepting $2,000 in campaign contributions from a corporation.

Last month Direct Action Texas filed a complaint on Fitzpatrick with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct concerning an illegal endorsement. We also filed a complaint on Probate Court Judge candidate Catherine Goodman, this time with the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC). Our complaint was affirmed, Goodman took an improper donation of $10,000 from a husband and wife. Then, just yesterday, we called attention to Patricia Cole, candidate for Probate Court Judge, for her reporting of a campaign contribution from a corporation. Now we have found that Kimberly Fitzpatrick has violated Texas Election Code 253.091 as well.

On her May 15 filing, Fitzpatrick lists an in-kind Contribution of $2,000 from Chamas Do Brazil, otherwise known as HLQ, Inc., a corporation. Section 253.094 of the Election Code lists this offense as a third-degree felony. Punishment for a felony of this type is 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Former Mayor and Attorney Kimberly Fitzpatrick did not know the law or ignored it. Either way, is this someone that should be the next Tarrant County District Court Judge for District 342? The District 342 Court handles civil cases with judgements that can reach up into the millions and higher. The judge for that court must be someone with integrity and an attention to detail, not someone who has come under legal scrutiny twice during her campaign.

We must hold our judges and judicial candidates to a higher standard. We must know that our judges have the utmost integrity and would not violate the law for financial gain, to win an election, or for any other reason. We must also know that our judges are knowledgeable. There is no room for error when people’s lives and livelihoods are on the line. Tarrant County deserves judges that take the time to study the law and not make potentially criminal mistakes. Tarrant County has a chance to choose on May 22nd. Choose wisely.

DAT Files New Complaints: Kaufman County

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Direct Action Texas has just filed new complaints with the Secretary of State detailing 47 counts of election fraud in Kaufman County. Our filing comes shortly after a District Judge called for a new election for the Republican nomination for County Court at Law 1. Judge Marty Lowy nullified the original results where Judge Jones had won his race by only one vote, citing voter fraud as well as violations of Federal Law, according to a recent Federal Court ruling.

Several voters took the stand in the Election Contest. One elderly couple, who could not read nor write, said that they don’t recall ever filling out or signing an application for a ballot by mail. They believe that their “voting papers” just arrive in their mailbox. A woman took the stand and said she doesn’t remember voting since JFK, and if she had voted it would have been in the Democrat Primary. Her vote was actually cast in the Republican Primary. Some recognized their signatures, some did not. In one case a voter said, “it looks like someone tried to write like me.” The details of their testimony varied, but all of them had one thing in common. None of them knew for whom they voted. None of them could name a single person on their ballot. Someone else had voted in their name.

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New Election Called for Kaufman County Court at Law #1

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Visiting Judge Marty Lowy has called for a new election for the Kaufman County Court at Law #1 Republican nomination. He ruled that 9 provisional ballots should have been counted and that at least 5 mail-in ballots should not have been counted, leading to results that just cannot be determined for one side or the other. The margin was just one vote to begin with, in favor of incumbent Judge Dennis Jones. His challenger, Tracy Gray, had won the in-person vote for Early Voting and on Election Day and yet lost the mail-in vote by a wide margin.

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TEC Rules In Favor of DAT’s Complaint Against Catherine Goodman

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The Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) has affirmed Direct Action Texas’ complaint against Catherine Goodman, former candidate for Tarrant County Probate Court 1.  DAT filed the complaint when we noticed that Goodman had accepted $5,000 over the limit set by the Judicial Fairness Act from a married couple. (For the original article on the complaint click HERE.)

The married couple in question are Dyann and Jere McCully. Dyann McCully is an attorney and a partner at the Blum Firm.  According to their website, they are “the largest estate planning firm in Texas and the largest boutique firm in the United States solely dedicated to estate planning.” McCully and her firm would certainly benefit from a friendly Probate Court Judge.

In her Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, Goodman admits to accepting the contributions, but “swore that she did not accept the contributions knowing they were in excess of the limits.” Goodman also claims that her first knowledge of the violation was DAT’s article. This may be true, but ignorance of the law is not a good habit for a lawyer, and especially not someone seeking to become a judge.

Goodman has allegedly returned the $5,000 contribution and the TEC will not assess a civil penalty. Goodman’s former opponents could still pursue civil damages, however.

Once again DAT has illustrated the importance of constant vigilance. The limitations of the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act are well known but the TEC will not act unless someone files a complaint. Candidates as well as elected officials must be held accountable.

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