Update from Young Conservatives of Texas Senior Vice Chairman Tony McDonald:
This morning, the Pruitt campaign contacted YCT claiming that they rejected the check they received from Texan for Economic Development. Attached is a screen shot of a note provided by the Pruitt Campaign.
YCT issues the following statement in response:
“This entire situation should raise red flags for conservative voters,” said Tony McDonald, YCT Senior Vice Chairman. “Why would a group like Texans for Economic Development, which is so hostile to conservatives, consider Mr. Pruitt’s campaign worthy of financial backing? Furthermore, if Mr. Pruitt does oppose expanded gambling, why would he profess to be unwilling to take contributions from anti-gambling groups? We are glad that Mr. Pruitt is now claiming opposition to gambling, but we urge the voters of District 33 to support conservative Scott Turner, who we know we can trust on this issue and others.”
YCT has received no response from the Roger Fisher Campaign or from Texans for Economic Development.
Original press release text below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2012
Austin, TX — Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) yesterday filed ethics complaints with the Texas Ethics Commission against candidates Jim Pruitt and Roger Fisher. Specifically, the complaints allege that Fisher, a Bedford city councilman, and Pruitt, a Rockwall lawyer who has campaigned on promises of restoring honesty and integrity to the legislature, each failed to report a $2,500 donation from a gambling front group with a long history of working to defeat conservative Republicans.
The contributions in question came from the deceptively named Texans for Economic Development (TED), a front-group for those pushing for Las Vegas-style casino gambling in Texas communities.
According to their campaign finance report, the pro-gambling group gave $2,500 checks to Jim Pruitt and Roger Fisher on May 9th. Pruitt and Fisher were legally required to disclose those contributions on their reports due on Monday, May 21st. Both men failed to disclose the receipt of the gambling funds.
“If Fisher and Pruitt were trying to hide these contributions from the voters — and that appears to be the case — it is absolutely shameful,” said Tony McDonald, YCT Senior Vice Chairman. “Conservative voters have a right to know whether their candidates stand with the Republican Party Platform and oppose casino-style gambling in Texas. Are Pruitt and Fisher hiding the fact that they stand with Democrats and other liberals on the issue of bringing gambling —and the bureaucracies that come with it — to Texas?”
The most recent Texas Republican Party Platform enacted in 2010 explicitly states that the party opposes any effort to expand gambling in Texas.
Pruitt is running against Scott Turner in the Republican primary for House District 33, which covers Rockwall County and portions of Collin County. Fisher is running against Jonathan Stickland in the Republican primary for House District 92, which covers portions of Tarrant County, including Bedford, Euless, and Hurst. Scott Turner and Jonathan Stickland have received the endorsements of Young Conservatives of Texas, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Texas Right to Life, and the majority of key conservative endorsements.
TED has a history of working to defeat conservative Republicans who oppose the expansion of gambling, even using Democrat consultants to do so. Texans for Economic Development (TED) also has deep ties to the LaMantia family of South Texas, which recently funneled at least $75,000 to TED. When Democrat senators fled the state during the 2002 redistricting, they traveled on a plane provided by the LaMantia family.
“One of YCT’s highest priorities is fighting for greater transparency in government,” said Jeff Morris, YCT State Chairman. “How can we expect candidates like Fisher and Pruitt to increase transparency in government when they are hiding contributions from casino front-groups from their own voters?”
Young Conservatives of Texas is a non-partisan organization that has promoted conservatism at universities across the Lone Star State for over three decades. The State’s most active political youth organization, YCT is composed of hundreds of members and alumni who participate in the full spectrum of politics. YCT issues the most respected ratings of the Texas legislature and is the only conservative group to have done so without interruption over the past 19 legislative sessions. For more information about YCT, please visit www.YCT.org.
Screen Shots of Donations to Jim Pruitt and Roger Fisher reported by Texans for Economic Development. These donations were not disclosed by Pruitt and Fisher campaign as legally required: