One of the newest political megadonors to emerge on the scene in Texas is Leo Linbeck III, the son of Texans For Lawsuit Reform co-founder Leo Linbeck, Jr. Operating under names like “Citizen Leader PAC”, “Campaign For Primary Accountability”, and “Citizens For Self Governance”, Linbeck has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence recent elections in Texas and nationwide. While much of the rhetoric used by Linbeck and his affiliated organizations about reducing special interest influence in government, returning political power to the hands of average citizens, and reducing “crony capitalism” sounds good, his personal actions to not match this rhetoric. As Linbeck is expected to be involved in some way in the current Texas legislative session, conservative Texans should pay close attention to him and his activities.
By his own admission, Linbeck had never voted in a primary election until last year. He is also a self-described “communitarian” who has written “I firmly believe that a more conservative Congress will not save America. In fact, a conservative Congress will probably make things worse.” Linbeck also founded and contributed over $1.5 million to a Federal “SuperPAC” called the “Campaign For Primary Accountability” which spent over $250,000 to help kooky far-left Congressman and former Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich in his unsuccessful primary race.
According to the political publication “Roll Call”, Linbeck personally recruited a California-based political operative named Mark Meckler to run a non-profit organization called “Citizens For Self Governance.” The website for “Citizens For Self-Governance” even states that part of its mission is to reduce the influence of “crony capitalism.” However, one does not need to look any further than Leo Linbeck III himself for a perfect example of “crony capitalism” in action.
Leo Linbeck III is President and CEO of Aquinas, LLC, a holding company controlled by the Linbeck family. One of the companies under the Aquinas umbrella is AlphaDev, which is described on the Aquinas website as a “seed-stage life science accelerator” that is “sponsored and founded” by Aquinas. Linbeck is also listed as AlphaDev’s Chairman.
AlphaDev’s “managed companies” include two, Apaxis Medical and Pulmotect, which have received taxpayer handouts from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. Records indicate that Apaxis received a $600,000 handout on June 8, 2009 and Pulmotect received a $1,000,000 handout on June 2, 2009. This fund has come under fire from conservative activists as a Solyndra-style giveaway program that constitutes inappropriate government interference with the free market. The Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee has even listed the elimination of the Emerging Technology Fund and similar programs as one of its legislative priorities for this session.
Linbeck is not acting alone in his political pursuits. In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, he identified Midland oilman Tim Dunn as a close collaborator of his (Dunn also contributed $500,000 to the same Linbeck “SuperPAC” that worked to elect Dennis Kucinich). Dunn is perhaps best known as the Chairman of the controversial political pressure groups Empower Texans and Texans For Fiscal Responsibility. While Dunn’s groups have taken public positions against the Emerging Technology Fund, with one Empower Texans blog post going so far as to call it an “ineffective” program that engages in “crony practices”, it is curious why Dunn would maintain such a close political relationship with somebody like Linbeck who has personally benefited from the “crony practices” his groups claim to abhor.
If Mr. Linbeck is sincere about his stated desire to reduce “crony capitalism” in our government, he should lead by example and repay the $1.6 million in handouts that Apaxis and Pulmotect have received. Until then, Texans should look beyond his empty rhetoric and see him for who is truly is- another pig feeding at the taxpayer trough.
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This week on the Mark McCaig Show, Mark was joined by Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America. Mark and Larry discussed recent attacks on 2nd Amendment Rights and how some Conservative leaders are fighting back. Later, Mark was joined by Mark Willis, who represents Maine on the Republican National Committee and recently announced his candidacy for Chairman of the RNC.
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Texans For Individual Rights today called on the special interest lobby group Texans For Lawsuit Reform to immediately end its relationship with disgraced lobbyist Lee Parsley. Records on file with the Texas Ethics Commission indicate that Parsley has registered as a lobbyist representing TLR this legislative session at a compensation level between $50,000 and $99,999. These records also indicate that TLR is Parsley’s sole lobby client at this time.
Near the end of the 82nd legislative session, Parsley was denounced on the house floor in an impassioned personal privilege speech by Rep. Senfronia Thompson, who was joined by a bipartisan group of female legislators. Thompson’s speech was in response to fliers created by the Texas Civil Justice League, which Parsley served as President and General Counsel of at that time, one which featured an image of an infant feeding off of a woman’s breast. Female legislators described the fliers as disrespectful, “an attack on women”, “despicable”, “disgusting”, a “below the belt political tactic”, and “an all-time low” for the Texas Legislature. Video of Thompson’s speech can be found online here. Parsley was forced to resign from the Texas Civil Justice League as a result of his role in this controversy.
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that TLR would want disgraced lobbyist Lee Parsley on their lobby team. In light of TLR’s decision to hire Mr. Parsley, we must wonder if they in any way support or endorse the offensive fliers published on Mr. Parsley’s watch last session that were rightfully denounced on the House floor. We hope that all members of the Texas Legislature will remember Rep. Thompson’s speech when dealing with Parsley and other TLR officials and lobbyists this session.
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This week, Mark was joined by Andy Cochran of the 7th Amendment Advocate blog to discuss the importance of protecting 7th Amendment Rights in America and how the right to a civil trial by jury has been a bedrock of free societies for centuries.
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This week, Mark was joined by Tad DeHaven of the Cato Institute to discuss the billions of dollars taxpayers pay every year in wasteful corporate welfare handouts.