HOUSTON, Texas–Tea Party Groups across Texas are reporting mailers being sent out across the Lone Star State from groups they claim either do not exist or are not true Tea Party groups. One mailer in particular, from the United Texas Tea Party is particularly troubling to groups from all across Texas who claim there doesn’t seem to be any such group in existence.
According to the website, TeaParty911.com, a coalition of Tea Party Leaders across Texas is “demanding answers on a fake Tea Party Mailer found in Texas mailboxes on Friday.” The groups said their research reveals that the United Texas Tea Party does not legally exist. They also claim the Texas Ethics Commission has no registration of a political committee operating under that name. They claim that in order to distribute political advertising supporting or opposing a candidate, such a group is obligated to abide by the Texas Election Code as summarized on page 3 of the Texas Ethics Commission’s Campaign Finance Guide for Political Committees.”
The mailer in question asks voters to “Celebrate the Texas Tea Party Champions.” It lists the following candidates: David Dewhurst, candidate for Lt. Governor; Ken Paxton, candidate for Attorney General; Sid Miller, candidate for Agriculture Commissioner; and Wayne Christian, candidate for Railroad Commissioner. The mailer allegedly does not appear to contain any of the required political disclaimers.
Questions have also been raised about the legality of the actual mailer in regards to meeting postal regulation standards. A recipient of the mailer in the Dallas area, Sue Glover, informed Breitbart Texas she has filed a complaint with the U.S. Postal Service. She provided Breitbart Texas with the case number and said the mailer is allegedly being investigated for mail fraud. Breitbart Texas has reached out to the U.S. Mail Service for comment. No response has been forthcoming at this time. Glover said she was told by the Postal Service the possible fine for this could be $200 per city in which the permit was used.
The return address of the mailer has been established via an email thread obtained by Breitbart Texas as the return address used by Mary Huls, a member of the Clear Lake Tea Party, from her prior campaign for State Representative. Her husband, Dale Huls, said in an email exchange received by Breitbart Texas that he gave permission for the use of the address because he believed it was being funded by one or more of the national Tea Party organizations. At the time, Huls believed the 700,000 piece mailer was being funded by Vision for America, Tea Party Express, and Tea Party.net. He later learned he was mistaken.
“So now I know,” Dale Huls explained, “that no national tea party organizations were involved, I asked the question again, ‘who is funding this mailer?’ At this point I was told that unnamed donors were responsible for the funding and he would not reveal their names. So was it the Koch brothers, Karl Rove, George Soros, or the Easter Bunny…who the hell knows because I surely don’t. That is the truth.”
“Finally, while the origins of the mailer may be sketchy,” Huls continued, “I still endorse the slate of candidates it represents. I have no knowledge, proof, or suspicion that any of the four candidate’s campaigns was involved in the manufacture and mailing of this flyer. Do not make any unfounded assumptions…just look at me when I made an assumption.”
Following are some of the Tea Party leaders across the state who spoke out about this on the TeaParty911.com website:
Julie Turner, President of the Texas Patriots PAC (The Woodlands), said, “Attempts to hijack the TEA party label by candidates and groups masquerading as TEA party are becoming more of a problem simply because we are so effective in Texas. This is pure, unadulterated dishonesty and one of the reasons people are so turned off politics that they don’t even vote. My organization works extremely hard to follow the law, educate voters with factual information, and turn out the vote.
Mike Openshaw, co-founder of the North Texas TEA Party said, “As I predicted back in March, false front groups are being created for the elections simply as a reaction to our tea party successes. It is our job to protect our brand and call them out every time.”
TEAParty911.com founder Michael Kinzie said, “It is truly reprehensible to concoct a fake ‘United Texas Tea Party’ and then stick David Dewhurst’s picture on a mailer alongside the candidates who do have strong Texas TEA Party support in order to make Dewhurst out to be some kind of Tea Party Champion.
The website concludes with the following statement, We the undersigned, call on the campaign hiding behind the name “The United Texas Tea Party” to cease and desist in their attempts to hijack the Texas TEA Party label and immediately cease and desist using the fake and possibly illegal “The United Texas Tea Party” name:
JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director, Grassroots America – We the People PAC
Two-term Chair, Advisory Committee to the TX Legislature’s TEA Party Caucus*
Ken Emanuelson – Founder, Grassroots Texans Network, Co-founder, Dallas Tea Party*
Katrina Pierson – Founder, Garland TEA Party; Two-term member – Advisory Committee to the TX Legislature’s TEA Party Caucus*
Dr. Julie Turner – Texas Patriots PAC, President; Two-term member – Advisory Committee to the TX Legislature’s TEA Party Caucus*
Michael Kinzie, Founder, TeaParty 911.com*
Julie McCarty – NE Tarrant TEA Party, President*
Jim Lennon – Kingwood TEA Party, Co-Founder*
Robin Lennon – Kingwood TEA Party, Co-Founder/President, Two-term member – Advisory Committee to the TX Legislature’s TEA Party Caucus*
Toni Fabry – Frisco TEA Party, President*
Mike Openshaw – North Texas TEA Party, Co-Founder*
Danny South – Amarillo TEA Party/Protest, Vice-President*
Bill Hussey – Llano TEA Party, Founder*
Maggie Wright – Texas Patriots TEA Party, Past-President & Founding Member*
John Cook – Kaufman TEA Party*
Sharon Hall – founding member San Antonio TEA Party; Two-term member – Advisory Committee to the TX Legislature’s TEA Party Caucus*
Kyle Scott – President, Spring TEA Party*
Russ Ramsland – Organizer, Park Cities/Preston Hollow TEA Party*
*Organization Listed for Identification Purposes Only
Breitbart Texas has learned about other allegedly fake Tea Party organizations that are either distributing mailers or paying workers to show up at the polls handing out the flyers from the suspected groups. On the Texas Patriot PAC website, the PAC called these groups “Polyester Tea Party” groups. Breitbart Texas will bring more information about these groups to light as it becomes available.
Follow Bob Price on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX