Location: United States

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Fighting for the people (who donate)!

*Note of explanation - This is cross-posted from Blue Texas. Carole Keetan Strayhorn is a former Democrat who jumped to the Republican Party to run for Texas State Comptroller. She is now running as an "independent" for the Governorship of Texas. She began her "independent" bid by stating "I am a Republican." My personal feeling is that her connections to the Republican Party preclude any true independency and that she is nothing more than a stalking horse soaking up money and resources from true competitors of Rick Perry. I look for Strayhorn to lose, but miraculously pick up the US Senate seat to be vacated by current Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison when she drops out to run for Governor in 2010.*

Yeah, Carole Many Names is a real populist:

Between January of 1999, when Strayhorn assumed her role as Comptroller of Public Accounts, and August of 2004, there were 3,656 tax settlements for 775 distinct taxpayers, that occurred within a year of a related contribution to Strayhorn’s campaign; the report also identified 19, 858 other settlements with related campaign contributions made more than a year before or after the settlement date.

As Jed Clampett would say, "We-e-e-e-e-e-e-lll, Dogies!"

Now I understand why high-dollar Democrats are lying up to throw money at One-Tough(to catch) Grandma - they want to get some of these back-room tax abatements!

Of the 3,656 entities that made campaign contributions within a year of their settlement, 146 (associated with 90 distinct taxpayers) received amended audits for which the amended assessment was at least $10,000 less than the original audit. In all, those 90 taxpayers received a combined total of $227 million in decreased audit assessments.

Looks like a little dust has settled on the yella rock of Texas Party-jumpin':

Related campaign contributions made by taxpayer representatives alone accounted for the addition of around $1.7 million into Strayhorn’s campaign coffers. Further investigation revealed that campaign contributions from the 19 selected taxpayer representatives had increased by 294 percent (from $137,650 in 1998 to $542, 737 in 2004) since Strayhorn took office. One representative alone contributed over $812,000 to Strayhorn during the six-year time frame in question.

In addition, the report identified 448 “management halts” (whereby the Comptroller’s Office temporarily stops tax collection actions, issuance of tax overpayment notices or transfers of tax credits) that were granted to individuals who made contributions within one year of the management halt. Between 1999 and 2004, the reason for the management halts being listed as “Administrative Request” increased by more than twenty percent. In 1999, “Administrative Request” was the reason indicated for management halts in only five percent of the cases; between 2000 and 2004 “Administrative Requests” provided for 24 to 38 percent of management halts.

The report was also critical of the Comptroller’s Office for their poor documentation of why management halts were granted; in their review of 68 randomly selected management halts, the Auditor’s office could determine the reasons behind only 43 of the cases. Additional criticism came when the Auditor’s Office discovered that 11,699 management halts put into effect between 1998 and 2004 had not yet been concluded—meaning collection action on those cases remains at a standstill.

Looks like someone was planning on running for Governor for a long time - and it looks like they were lining up donors.

That's what it looks like.

While the Texas Legislature will inevitably take up the issues presented by the State Auditor’s Office, a potential Strayhorn scandal presents a much more imminent and interesting impact on Texas politics; Strayhorn’s campaign is characterizing the audit as a “political witch hunt” aimed at derailing her political aspirations, whereas Perry’s campaign has seized this opportunity to attack Strayhorn’s character and integrity.

Yep, she's a Republican. She remembers the Party line, "Every attack against your corruption is nothing more than a politically biased attack."

Seeing as how this is exactly how Rick Perry does business, that's likely true. However, a political attack that exposes someone as a corrupt piece of garbage is still based in reality.

Just ask Tom DeLay.


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