State Troopers' Union Says It's Getting Busted by Texas AG Greg Abbott

Categories: Legal Battles

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Casting Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott as a union buster isn't tough to envision. At least that's the narrative the Texas State Troopers Association is pushing in a recent lawsuit filed in federal court. It argues Abbott and the Department of Public Safety are bent on "breaking apart a public sector labor union" by forcing it to jettison its leadership or pay a $1 million fine under a proposed settlement agreement the attorney proffered in lieu of a civil or criminal lawsuit.

This may be, TSTA speculates, because it often finds that the interests it agitates for (troopers on the road) are at cross-purposes with those of their employer, the DPS. Abbott's office says its finances, not its legislative aims, are the problem.

If you have a land-line, odds are you've gotten a call from TSTA soliciting donations. That's how the organization raises money. Trouble is, Abbott's spokesman says, the money isn't going to the rank and file. Instead, it's lobbyists and telemarketers. According to its IRS filings, the organization raised $3.25 million in 2012, a spokesman for Abbott's office writes in an email to Unfair Park. Much of it, some $2.5 million, went to "fundraising fees." Another $75,000 paid for lobbyists. For "membership" benefits, it devoted $35,000.

"The TSTA's lawsuit is nothing more than a frivolous attempt to prevent the Attorney General's Office from enforcing the law so that the TSTA's long-time leadership team can avoid being held responsible for its conduct."

TSTA, in its filing, says its expenditures don't amount to malfeasance. "High fundraising fees alone are not enough to constitute fraud, nor do they provide any reasonable justification for denying TSTA equal protection and due process as required by the First and 14th Amendments."

A call placed to the organizations headquarters was not answered. Unfair Park sent an email to its president, Lee Johnson, and will update this post as soon as we hear from him.

This isn't the first DPS union Abbott has gone after. In 2011, he sued the Texas Highway Patrol Association, accusing it of defrauding consumers by soliciting donations for the families of fallen troopers and spending instead "for their personal use, including meals, in-house pet care, entertainment and unauthorized travel by board members, their friends and families."

Under a settlement agreement, THPA's assets were liquidated and given to the families of fallen state troopers who never received a $10,000 death benefit they were promised. It should be noted, the state pays a lump sum of $250,000 to the family of any officer killed in the line of duty. They're eligible to receive up to $300,000 from the federal government.


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19 comments
ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Lawlessness by LEOs... tell me it ain't so.

I wonder how close the telemarketing companies are to DPS personnel. I smell insiderism.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

They certainly didn't spend the money on driver search training.

Q8DHIMMI
Q8DHIMMI

Really,  what do you expect?  It's Texas.  This state was founded by real estate speculator/hustlers & scaliwags chased out of Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama &

Mississippi to avoid being tarred & feathered by their victims there.

TexMarine
TexMarine

TSTA is a scam. In high school i had a part time telemarketing job for the summer. i quit after they had us telemarket for the TSTA, which i knew was bullshit because my mother is retired DPS employee. Good riddance to this garbage.

Seenitbefore
Seenitbefore

Was this really a union? How many troopers were members? Do they have collective bargaining rights? This was and always has been a scam. 

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Why can't the whole cold call charity fundraising go away. We got cell phones to donate free with, or crowdfunding that is minimal cost.

Guesty
Guesty

This should simply be a reminder to everyone not to donate to any organization during a cold-call.  Almost every cold-call (except perhaps very local charities or those you already have ties to) results in a large percentage of the donation going to the company doing the calling as a fundraising expense.  If a charity interests you after a call, it's much better to hop on the web to check it out (http://www.charitynavigator.org/), and then make a direct donation to that charity's own website so that the charity actually receives all the money.     

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Where will I get my..... I support state trooper "decoy" window stickers now.

ruddski
ruddski

Public Employee unions have been having a hard time ever since the debacle in Wisconsin, and It's become widespread and relentless persecution by the public via their chosen representatives. Yep, they're VICTIMS.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Abbott is just too funny.  He made himself a colossal fool this week by cheering loudly for the airline merger ruling after initially joining the suit against the merger. 

James080
James080

Union busting? Really? This just looks like Abbott doing his job. It appears to me that the TSTA union leadership is using it's authority to involve the union in a scam targeting consumers who may believe their donations are actually intended to benefit state troopers. No legitimate non-profit pays less than 2% of donations towards the charity they allegedly support.

If you want a real story, try to find out whether any of the outrageous amounts of money paid to the telemarketing company finds it's way into the accounts of the union leadership or their family members.  

NotMe
NotMe

"Under a settlement agreement, THPA's assets were liquidated and given to the families of fallen state troopers who never received a $10,000 death benefit they were promised. It should be noted, the state pays a lump sum of $250,000 to the family of any officer killed in the line of duty. They're eligible to receive up to $300,000 from the federal government."

So that makes it ok for the union goons to steal the 10,000 death benefit from the members? They got enough money! Greg Abbot is just a big meany for raining on the union graft and corruption parade!

ruddski
ruddski

These scams are nationwide. About the assholes who fled those states, they built a state with a higher GDP than those other three states combined. Tarred and feathered, indeed.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@Seenitbefore Good questions -- remember Darren Reagan, felon and founder of the Black State Employees Union, of which he was the only member before he brought in a few cronies.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@ruddski So you also hate firemen, police, nurses, pilots, and teachers, along with poor people, people of color, people without health insurance and people who are just plain different than you.  Must be wonderful being you.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Originally joined and settled months ago.

ruddski
ruddski

The fundamental problems with public union employees, the ones who bargain to take more of YOUR money, and whose successes in doing so destroy municipalities, are likely a bit over your head, hon.

Funny to see an old, unreformed SDS rad who routinely snarls and spits at cops in this venue suddenly become concerned that the poor dears simply aren't getting enough of her money.

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