elections

Why Paper Matters

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Technology has become an important part of helping us execute our choices, be it where to eat, work out, travel, and increasingly in one of the most important decisions we have in life as Americans: voting. In Texas, as elsewhere in the nation, there’s a push to move voting away from paper ballots to digital, even to the point of removing paper trails as a backup to check the integrity of the vote. Often it is argued that this will make for a smoother voting process, but at this year’s Republican Party of Texas Convention a few of the Senate District caucuses decided to give pure digital voting a try and chaos and confusion ensued.

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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.

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.

Post Primaries…Now What?

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With the Primaries in the rear view mirror, Direct Action Texas’ work has kicked into high gear. As Texas’ only organization with proven results in finding election fraud, our phones and email have been busy with tips and information about election discrepancies and nefarious activity.

It might surprise you to learn a good number of the leads we’ve received have come from two state agencies. These two agencies have gotten information and/or seen evidence they believe points to election fraud. To whom do they turn to handle such serious allegations? Direct Action Texas. We are the only ones these agencies can rely on to actually investigate and file formal complaints. One of the biggest misconceptions the public has regarding elections is believing that there is some government agency which ensures they’re conducted fairly.

There simply is no one with that job. The state has turned to us for help. We’re honored and happy to oblige.

The sheer number of tips we received forces us to work through them quickly and prioritize those where fraud is verifiable and prosecution is possible. Currently we are looking at primaries in just over 30 counties. Here are two examples of types of investigations we’re pursuing:

  • Once again we found ourselves in East Texas, this time in Gregg County, where mail-in ballots appear to have been compromised. We’ve found major red flags in the Commissioner Precinct 4 race, findings law enforcement is going to be extremely interested in learning about. We will be making our criminal complaint public in the coming weeks.
  • Last week we published a video of a harvester working a nursing home in Harris County. If you have not watched that video, you need to see what harvesting in action looks like – SEE IT HERE. State Rep. Harold Dutton is already out denying the video…oddly enough before anyone publicly blamed him.  DAT has more videos and is investigating this case as well, stay tuned for updates soon.

From the Texas Panhandle to the border, we have counties with voting irregularities, each distinct in nature. Digging into these elections is long and tedious as there’s significant delay in simply getting the information from each county. After the election, by statute, it can take up to 30 days for counties to provide certain election information. We can not begin analyzing the results until we have received all the information. With over 30 counties we are tracking, just getting the election data in-house is chore. Then the real work on sifting through the begins.

We expect to have as many as a half a dozen criminal complaints from this primary. It could be more, depending on what we find. Mail-in ballot fraud is a real, as is vote harvesting, both of which are wide-spread problems in Texas. One would think the legislature would allocate the resources necessary to  ensure the integrity of our elections.

Until they do, you’ll find DAT digging through the evidence. Stay tuned for updates.

 

Update: The Residency Game

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Direct Action Texas (DAT) has now filed an official election complaint with the Texas Secretary of State (SoS) concerning Jay Harris of Denton County. DAT recently reported on his problematic application for Precinct Chair of precinct 4006. On his application Harris lists his address as 900 Bluebonnet, but Harris actually lives in precinct 1015, at 2221 Hollyhill.

Not only are the two precincts on opposites sides of the city, they also have different representation. For instance, while Harris should be voting in Senate District 12, he will be voting in Senate District 30, potentially illegally. The people he currently represents are not his neighbors. He doesn’t live in their community. He has to drive almost 20 minutes to get there from his actual residence. Read More

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