Some Texas Tea Partiers Are Very Proud of Their Fight with a Dallas Teachers Union

texas-tea-party-cropped-proto-custom_2.jpg
Because they will put your shit on blast.
Earlier this month, the Texas Ethics Commission fined the Alliance of Dallas Educators United Teachers Political Action Committee, which most recently supported the doomed campaign of young Damarcus Offord, $600 for a handful of violations of campaign disclosure laws. I didn't write about it because I am the Liberal Media and because the violations -- not reporting that the purchase of postage stamps was an in-kind contribution to a candidate, for example -- were unintentional, insignificant, and, well, boring.

Then I received an e-mail from the Texas Ethics Advisory Board touting the "unusually large order of 21 pages containing repeated violations of four sections of the Texas Election Code."

It went on:

Mr. Jim Doyle, a well-known Woodlands TEA party supporter, filed the complaint after noting that Tennyson's PAC, among other things, did not properly report a donation from a corporation, failed to identify candidates supported or opposed and failed to report an in-kind donation.

Mr. Doyle also sent the sworn complaint to the Texas Ethics Advisory Board (TEAB) for further review. In a statement to the TEAB about the Tennyson complaint, Mr. Doyle wrote, "In these times of increased public demand for accountability from public officials, it is inexcusable for Mrs. Tennyson to so seriously gloss over her campaign funds. I have to suppose the teachers must know that their dues are being wasted." The TEAB is known for auditing of and consultation on campaign finance reports.

Doyle is also a member of a large group of citizen-taxpayers in suburban Houston and surrounding counties who conduct statewide audits of progressive candidates, officeholders and political action committees contributing to the growth of government and the loss of constitutional authority.

Given the tone, it seemed a strange email to receive from the state's supposedly impartial arbiter of campaign finance laws, especially given that it came from one William Elmer's personal Hotmail account. Had one of its members gone rogue? Is Texas so batshit-crazy conservative (the Senate primary points to yes) that even its ethics board touts its Tea Party bona fides? Does Hotmail still exist?

Reading a bit more closely, I noticed that, despite its parenthetical acronym (TEAB) and the "sworn complaint" it reviewed, the Texas Ethics Advisory Board is not the Texas Ethics Commission. It is, in fact, the "large group of citizen-taxpayers in suburban Houston and surrounding counties" that the TEAB refers to so approvingly.

I called Doyle, a retired airline mechanic who lives in The Woodlands outside Houston. He told me that he and about a dozen or have been getting together for three or four years to comb through campaign finance reports.

Then, when they find election law violations, they file a complaint with TEC. Doyle couldn't say how many complaints the group has filed, though he estimates that the number that result in sanctions is about 90 percent.

Tim Sorrells, a TEC spokesman, said a state confidentiality law prevents the agency from disclosing how many complaints the group has filed.

He also wouldn't say how often the agency receives calls from people who confuse the TEAB with TEC.

"With respect to that particular group, I can just tell you that they're not associated with us," Sorrells said.

Doyle said the group certainly relishes going after liberals. His favorite case was against Chris Bell -- he describes the former gubernatorial candidate as "the opposite of everything I thought was right. He supported child-killing -- abortion -- and wasn't too hot on firearms." -- who ended up hiring a big-time lawyer and still wound up being slapped with a $400 fine.

But "I'll file on just about anybody," Doyle said. "Like, I have filed on different state representatives that believe pretty much what I do. If they're doing something wrong, you've got to straighten them out."

I've got no beef with holding politicians accountable, even if you focus on one side of the aisle. It appears, however, that TEAB's motives and tactics aren't so pure. See this case in Houston in which the group sent deliberately misleading mailings (sound familiar?) to donors to Planned Parenthood's political action committee. And then there's also the more general question of whether flooding the TEC with complaints that, even if they aren't dismissed, deal with violations that are trivial.

I tried one of the numbers for Elmer, but the call went to a recording: "The Magic Jack customer you have called is unavailable to take your call," which was not only redundant but told me that Elmer uses Magic Jack. Q.E.D.


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7 comments
Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

BFD. BFD. I hope they are happy you did this story. I think it is great that a watchdog group catches anyone not in complaince with the law. Now, having said that, the joy they seem to have in it, especially with a teachers' union, is laughable. Again, BFD. AFT in Dallas has over 7,000 members. ( I know, since I am in the NEA, the "other" union in DISD.) $600 in fines? Whooo-hoo, Aunt Martha.

Have they made any connection between North Dallas Oligarchy races and how South Dallas always votes their way? Oh no, that was Channel 8. Have they made any connection between the sweetheart deals with Perry and his ilk over the years? No, that was the Austin-American Statesman.

BFD. Here is what they do. The remind me of the pain in the ass type of parents who seem to know education law really well, but still cannot control their own child. I encountered one such lady during my first year as a teacher. She had me dead to rights on not following DISD policy to the letter of the law--so her jerky son had to be passed for that 6 weeks grading period.

Unlike the other teachers who were afraid of her and scurried from her and her kids--none of whom had any respect or work ethic, by the way, I told her simply, " Mrs.P_______? YOU are going to make me be a much better teacher, because the next time YOU come see me, I will be ready for YOU. I will know this policy better than YOU.  Thank you again. I am learning a lot from YOU and YOUR son."

I shut her down the next time. After that, she left me the hell alone. Every campaign needs to have someone else look at their records BEFORE they submit them. Think like this group--fix it, clean it, adjust it, be honest--and then, let it go. When they get bored, they will stop.

One Foot Three
One Foot Three

Magic Jack ain't for shit unless you also got Sweet Jack doing your dealings

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

I've had hotmail for about 15 years now, never had a problem with it. Hotmail and gmail actually have the same user base, about 350 million users each, with gmail trending upwards. Come on Eric, we're not talking aol here.  Some people are shocked Unfair Park still exists now that Wilonsky's gone.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

This is only tangentially related to the story, but just to clarify:-You don't have to join a union to teach in Texas, but you can-You don't have to pay union dues in Texas, but you can-The "unions" have no power other than to harass school administrators who try to cheat on the rules and contracts they themselves wrote-The benefit of joining a union is that they will keep up with all the laws/rules/policies so individual teachers don't have to in order to protect themselves from bullying, unfair firing, etc.

Also, can any journalist confirm that 70% of DISD 9th graders failed one of the new EOCs and now need to attend summer school?  That news is sending little shockwaves around the campuses, but I'm pretty sure Jon Dahlander won't return a personal call from me.

Ed D.
Ed D.

Hotmail? Are they too fiscally conservative to spend $10 for a domain with e-mail forwarding?

Phelps
Phelps

Whole lot of butthurt here for what you insist is a non-story.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Every domain provider is anti-God and pro-abortion, didn't you know?

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