We all receive mailers and emails soliciting campaign contributions. For this article, I wanted to go deep into various local state campaigns, such as the House of Representatives and the Senate of the State of Texas. Two campaigns that I looked into were State Representative Jodie Laubenberg, and Representative Ken Paxton who is currently running for State Senate.
Let’s take State Representative Laubenberg first. She received reported contributions from the period of July 1, 2011 through December 21, 2011 of $41,285. For that six month period, total expenditures were $19,149, leaving a balance in her campaign account of $319,882, which has been accumulating since 2002.
When looking at these figures, several things come to mind. Why do politicians keep asking for money from constituents when, in fact, they have more than sufficient funds to run a campaign? Well, it’s pretty simple. They want to create a massive campaign war chest so that perspective opponents will think twice about running against them. Here’s the kicker. Representative Laubenberg has been in office since 2002, and 80 percent of her contributions came from political action committees. To give you an example, here are just some of those reported from that July 2011 –December 2011 report:
Border Health, McAllen, Texas; Blue Cross Blue Shield Dallas; Abbott Laboratories PAC, State of Illinois; Altrin Group PAC, Washington, DC; Apartment Association of Greater Dallas; AZ PAC ,Wilmington, Delaware; Beer Alliance of Texas PAC; Black Ridge Lobbyists, Austin, Texas; Eli Lilly Company PAC, Indianapolis, Indiana; Golf States Toyota PAC, Houston, Texas; Hillico PAC, Austin, Texas; Independent Bankers Association, Austin, Texas; Independent Insurance Agents PAC, Austin, Texas; Pfizer PAC, New York, New York; Raytheon PAC, Arlington, Virginia; Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Austin, Texas; Texas Association for Homecare and Hospice PAC, Austin, Texas; Texas Association of Builders PAC, Austin, Texas; Texas DenPAC, Austin, Texas; Texas Instruments PAC, Dallas, Texas; Texas Land and Title Association PAC, Austin, Texas; Texas Medical Association PAC, Austin, Texas; Texas Podiatric Medical Association PAC, Austin, Texas; Texas State Farm Agents PAC, Austin, Texas.
I don’t know about you, the reader of this article, but who is this representative representing, WE THE PEOPLE, or special interest? I’ll let you be your own judge. I, for one, believe that if candidates are taking this kind of money from all of these special interest groups, then how can they effectively govern on behalf of “WE THE PEOPLE”?
Representative Laubenberg is running for re-election, and she has no opponent in the Republican primary. I’m not sure if the Democrats have put up a candidate against her. I know why no Republican is running against her. It’s all about the money. It would be interesting to see how, personally, she has enriched herself from when she was first elected in 2002. Politicians may start out with good intentions, but I believe that the money they continually raise and retain becomes the means to an end. The more I delve into our elected officials in this state, and the Federal Government, the more I believe that there has to be term limits. Another interesting thought, is that when a state politician decides to no longer run for a public office, what happens to all that money left in the campaign war chest? Oh, by the way, all of this information is public, and can be retrieved at www.ethics.state.tx.us. On the home page, search “Campaign finance and lobby reports”.
Next week’s article will be on Representative Ken Paxton.
Quote of the day:
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
David Dorman is a TSB editorial columnist. He served as Mayor of Melissa until 2009, beginning public service there in 1999 after being elected to the city council. Dorman worked many years in the business world prior to public service. He contributes to numerous charitable entities and continues continues to invest in children by offering his time and finances to further the goals of Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. He currently serves on the board of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Collin County.