Ethics

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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The Gloves Come Off in Tax Assessor-Collector Race

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A Tax Assessor-Collector’s race doesn’t usually get much notice, but this year’s Tarrant County four-way match up is attracting a lot of attention as Election Day nears and the gloves come off.

Over the last few days a poll has been running asking voters who they might choose in that race. Those who selected “Mike Snyder” as their candidate were directed to the following question “Would you change your vote if you knew that Mike Snyder does not pay his taxes?” It’s not a new accusation, but who is making it via a push poll? What is the real story?

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Desperate Times, Desperate Measures.

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Transparency won a small victory in the 141st District Court. Charlie Geren’s 2016 campaign operative, David Sorenson, will not be able to continue his delay tactics. David Sorenson must now appear in court before the March Primary, according to a February 2nd Motion to Compel. He will finally be on the record and under oath about his alleged attempt to sabotage the Bo French campaign with a false child abuse accusation. Sorenson’s testimony could reveal some very dirty politics sanctioned by the Geren campaign to destroy his opponent.

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A Costly Contribution

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Probate Court 1 candidate Catherine Goodman exceeded the amount for a contribution by twice the legal limit. Now that contribution may cost her up to $55,000 plus legal fees, should her opponents decide to pursue the violation.

Judicial candidates have to follow stricter guidelines than other candidates for office. For instance, they have limits on how much money they may accept from an individual. This fact is well known among judicial candidates. According to Election Code 253.155, in a county-wide judicial race in Tarrant County, the contribution limit is $5,000 per individual. A recent Campaign Finance Report (CFR) shows that one candidate exceeded that limit. Catherine Goodman, candidate for Judge in Tarrant County’s Probate Court 1, accepted a contribution twice that of the legal limit!

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