TLR Gives Pro-Abortion Liberal Carol Alvarado $259,000

Alvarado: Pro-life “sonogram bill” was “a climax in government intrusion.”

According to campaign finance reports just released by the Texas Ethics Commission, the special interest lobby group “Texans For Lawsuit Reform” has contributed $259,000 within the past three weeks to the State Senate runoff campaign of Democratic State Representative Carol Alvarado. During the last legislative session, Alvarado made headlines by taking to the floor of the Texas House and waving a transvaginal ultrasound apparatus in her hand in strong opposition to the pro-life “sonogram” bill that was a top priority for the Republican Party of Texas and pro-life groups alike. Just last week, while TLR was lavishing campaign cash upon Carol Alvarado, Republican activists across Texas received a mailer from TLR saying it promotes an agenda that is “rooted in bedrock conservative principles.” The dedicated Republican activists that received this mailer certainly would not support contributing $259,000 to a candidate like Alvarado who has opposed the “sonogram bill” and other pieces of legislation that advance true “bedrock conservative principles.”

Rep. Alvarado faces former Harris County commissioner Sylvia Garcia in the upcoming runoff election to succeed the late Mario Gallegos in the Texas Senate. Democrats Garcia and Alvarado were the top vote getters in the first round of the special election, which also included two conservative Republican candidates that each had active grassroots supporters. Despite the presence of these Republican candidates, TLR’s Chairman and CEO Dick Weekley contributed $2,500 to Alvarado’s campaign. Weekley’s money helped pay for campaign efforts to help defeat these Republican candidates.

Now it appears that Weekley and TLR are spending big bucks to convince the conservative voters in Senate District 6 that they should vote for Carol Alvarado. These attempts should be met with great skepticism considering Weekley’s support of Alvarado against her Republican challengers. We have extensively documented how some of TLR’s major donors have been able to line their pockets with the hard earned money of Texas taxpayers. Now TLR has spent at least $259,000 to help elect Carol Alvarado, who has stood against the conservative cause in the House, to further their self-interested agenda in the State Senate.  Conservatives across Texas are disgusted with the abundance of political chameleons- those elected officials who change their colors in the pursuit of campaign cash- across the State Capitol. It certainly appears that there is no bigger political chameleon in Texas right now than the TLR-funded liberal Democrat Carol Alvarado.

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An Open Letter to Dick Weekley

The following is a copy of a letter sent by Texans For Individual Rights President Mark McCaig to Dick Weekley, Chairman and CEO of Texans For Lawsuit Reform, in response to a recent mailer sent to Republican activists by TLR. We will update this post when/if Mr. Weekley responds.

 

Dear Mr. Weekley,

I am in receipt of a package sent by Texans For Lawsuit Reform to me and other Republican activists across Texas. This package contains a letter (see attached) signed by you that makes a number of misleading statements, a copy of your organization’s latest newsletter, and a response form to collect information that will presumably be used to solicit financial contributions from these Republican activists in the future.

Your letter alleges that “personal injury trial lawyers” frequently disguise themselves as “conservatives” in efforts to “undermine” tort reforms. I am a proud trial lawyer and I know of no “personal injury trial lawyers” that are disguising themselves as conservatives. I can assure you that my conservatism is no ruse. I believe in limited government, free markets, and the principles set forth in the United States Constitution. I am also a longtime activist for conservative causes and candidates, serving as a Republican precinct chairman and formerly as a member of the State Republican Executive committee.

During the 2012 general election cycle, I personally contributed $2,500 to the Harris County Republican Party. You gave them nothing, even though you reside in Harris County and the Party desperately needed the money to support candidates up and down the ballot. In fact, in the recent special election for State Senate District 6 that featured two excellent Republican candidates- who also happened to be an African-American man and a Latina woman- you contributed $2,500 to liberal Democrat Carol Alvarado’s campaign. Rep. Alvarado has established herself as an extremely liberal member of the Texas House of Representatives who has consistently promoted a pro-abortion and anti-taxpayer agenda during her tenure in public office. While many of the same Republican activists that you targeted with your recent mailer were working to support the conservative Republican candidates, you were spending money to undermine their efforts.

This recent special election is far from the only example of the disdain for grassroots conservatives that you and your organization have demonstrated. In addition to the thousands of dollars in contributions you have personally made to a host of other liberal Democrats, Texans For Lawsuit Reform has contributed over $3 million to Democratic candidates. These include contributions that TLR has made to Democrats against Republican opponents in general elections.

There have also been numerous instances where you, Texans For Lawsuit Reform, and/or TLR’s major donors have worked against grassroots conservatives in Republican primaries. The most notable example of this is the recent United States Senate primary between Ted Cruz and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. You, along with most of TLR’s top leadership and major donors, made significant financial contributions to Lt. Governor Dewhurst’s Senate campaign or SuperPACs that supported his candidacy.

While grassroots conservatives across Texas rallied behind Senator Cruz, who has become one of the most articulate voices for ideological conservatism in the entire nation, you helped bankroll despicable and baseless smears against him. Considering this history, it is hardly a surprise that many major donors to TLR are also major donors to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads SuperPAC that has announced plans to spend heavily in Republican primaries to defeat candidates backed by grassroots conservatives.

Your letter also makes the assertion that “tort reform is rooted in bedrock conservative principles” without any explanation or proof whatsoever. While it is unclear to me what constitutes “bedrock conservative principles” in the eyes of somebody like yourself who has funded liberal Democrats against conservative Republican challengers and bankrolled vicious attacks on “Tea Party” backed candidates, I do know that your idea of “reform” has nothing to do with the “bedrock conservative principles” held dear by those (including myself) who are active in the conservative grassroots.

Our “bedrock conservative principles” include personal responsibility and accountability. This means that if your wrongful conduct causes harm to somebody, you need to be held accountable for your actions. This should apply to everybody, ranging from average citizens to wealthy political donors to multi-billion dollar corporations. This does not mean passing laws that create special rules for certain favored classes or industries. Nor does it mean passing laws that result in taxpayers having pay for the medical care of those injured as the result of the wrongdoing of another instead of making the wrongdoer (or their insurance carrier) pay. Nor does it mean supporting judicial activism in order to create law that the legislature won’t.

These “bedrock conservative principles” also include strict adherence to the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Texas. This includes the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right to a civil trial by jury. It also includes the provisions of the Texas Constitution which state that “All courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him, in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law” and that “The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.”

You also state that “tort reform” has been a “strong plank in the GOP platform for many years.” Just for clarification, there is a plank in the current Republican Party of Texas Platform entitled “Frivolous Lawsuits” that states “We support further reform to discourage frivolous lawsuits. We oppose the abusive use of class action lawsuits.” I am in complete agreement with this plank.

I fully support laws that deter frivolous lawsuits and punish those who file them, and I am willing to work with you or anybody else to support laws that prevent and punish real lawsuit abuse. This includes abuse by attorneys who charge hourly fees for their work and profit from the filing of frivolous or otherwise dilatory motions that serve no legitimate purpose. However, I do not support the type of “reform” advocated by you and your organization that serves only to undermine the Constitutional rights of those with legitimate claims and protect wrongdoers from being held fully accountable for their misconduct while doing nothing to discourage actual lawsuit abuse.

Conveniently, your letter leaves out the planks of the Republican Party of Texas platform that support the use of the civil justice system to protect innocent human life (which, by the way, is another actual “bedrock conservative principle” that you seem to have difficulty grasping). You may recall a letter I sent to your organization several months ago asking for your help in promoting legislation that would accomplish some of these pro-life goals outlined in the Republican platform. I am still awaiting your response and would still appreciate your assistance in advancing pro-life goals. As an aside, you should also know that many of the Republican activists you sent your mailer to are staunchly pro-life and would be disgusted to know that Mike Hull, who is currently a registered lobbyist for TLR and has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by TLR for lobbying and legal work, has testified before the legislature many times against bills that were strongly supported by the pro-life community.

Finally, your mailer contains a response form requesting information that will presumably be used to solicit funds from these Republican activists in the future. Seeing as how TLR has historically been funded by a small group of some of the deepest pockets in Texas, I must wonder if this information is being collected because some of your big donors are tired of having their money squandered. They are certainly well aware that TLR-backed candidates lost a record number of races in Republican primaries this election cycle and that the support of TLR and its major backers is becoming more and more of a liability to candidates. Many Republicans also know that had it not been for TLR’s disruptive conduct within Mark Shelton’s campaign (which I also personally supported financially), he would very likely have defeated liberal State Senator Wendy Davis.

It is foolish to think that active grassroots conservatives will part with their hard earned money to finance an organization that has worked against them in so many ways. They are smart enough to know that their money will not be used to support a conservative cause, but will rather be used for expenditures such as the exorbitant salary of Dick Trabulsi, TLR’s President who is a longtime Democratic activist and donor who has supported the likes of Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Bill Clinton. If you were at all interested in being honest with Republican activists about your organization, you would have also included a copy of TLR’s December, 2010 newsletter in which Mr. Trabulsi expresses his desire to have Democrats in Texas “become competitive again” and be “in a position of strength to influence public policy.” Needless to say, the Republican activists you mailed would strongly disagree with these sentiments and would have absolutely no interest in supporting an organization led by a man who holds these views.

Grassroots conservatives are not going to knowingly pay the salaries of Mr. Trabulsi and the legion of TLR lobbyists which also includes the aforementioned Mike Hull, former Democratic State Representative Hugo Berlanga, and Keith Strama, the brother of Democratic State Representative Mark Strama and nephew of Dick Trabulsi. Instead they know that their money is better spent supporting “Tea Party” groups, Republican Party organizations, and individual candidates that are truly dedicated to advancing their shared conservative principles. Any attempt to solicit funds from hardworking grassroots conservative activists under the false pretense that TLR supports conservative values and candidates is shameful and morally repugnant.

There is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of the Republican activists who received this mailer will place it in the garbage where it belongs. They are not the fools you think them to be. Every day, more Texas conservatives are coming to the realization that TLR and its major donors are attempting to use them as pawns in a political game designed to expand the power of the political elite. They are active in the political process to help promote true conservative principles and fight back against the political establishment that is embodied by Texans For Lawsuit Reform.

I look forward to continuing to shine the light on Texans For Lawsuit Reform and its major donors. It is clear that my efforts are succeeding and you know it. After all, why else would you have gone to the considerable expense of sending this mailer? These expenditures are of no concern to me as the truth is far more powerful than money and lies.

Sincerely,

Mark McCaig

President, Texans For Individual Rights

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Trabulsi Exposed: Dirty Dick’s Dossier of Dastardly Deeds

The special interest lobby group Texans For Lawsuit Reform and its President, Dick Trabulsi, try to convince Texans that they represent Conservative values. What they don’t want you to know is that Trabulsi is a longtime Democratic activist and fundraiser who has received taxpayer subsidies while living a life of luxury.

Because of TLR’s political power, gained by two decades of multimillion dollar contributions to political candidates (including over $3 million to liberal Democrats), nobody has been willing to expose Trabulsi and his fraud upon Conservative Texans- until now.

Dick Trabulsi grew up in Houston, the son of liquor dealer Dick Trabulsi, Sr. Little Dick cut his political chops as a freshman in high school, when he would volunteer at the Kennedy-Johnson headquarters in Harris County. From there, he volunteered for or donated to a host of other liberal Democratic politicians such as Gary “Monkey Business” Hart, Mickey Leland, Lloyd Bentsen, Mike Andrews, Sheila Jackson Lee, Michael Dukakis, Bill Bradley, and others. One newspaper account described Trabulsi as a “key supporter” of President Jimmy Carter’s campaign against Ronald Reagan and Carter’s Presidential diary described Trabulsi as his Texas campaign coordinator. Trabulsi even donated to Walter Mondale’s hapless campaign against Ronald Reagan. He would go on to help raise money for Bill Clinton’s campaigns, even hosting a fundraiser for Clinton with future Houston mayor and Democratic candidate for Governor Bill White.

Like most of his friends in the political establishment, Trabulsi started to donate money to Republicans as Texas became a Republican state. However, this hasn’t stopped Trabulsi from waxing poetic about the “good ol’ days” of a Democratic Texas. In a December, 2010 Texans For Lawsuit Reform newsletter, Trabulsi wrote about his desire to see the Democratic Party “become competitive again” and for Democrats to be “in a position of strength to influence public policy” in Texas. Republican campaigns supported by Trabulsi include David Dewhurst’s unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign against Tea Party champion Ted Cruz.

Political campaigns aren’t the only place where Dick Trabulsi fights Tea Party activists and other grassroots conservatives. In the halls of the Texas Capitol, Dick Trabulsi prides himself an archenemy of Conservative activists. During the redistricting battle in the last legislative session, e-mails show how Trabulsi worked hand in hand with key aides to Speaker Joe Straus to pass a redistricting map that was opposed by many Conservatives. One e-mail even shows how Trabulsi offered to help lead a public relations campaign against the Conservative activists who supported an alternative redistricting proposal, demonstrating his sheer contempt for these average Texas citizens.

Trabulsi’s anti-Conservative actions at the Capitol are hardly a surprise considering his family’s deep Democratic roots. His nephew, Mark Strama, is a liberal Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives from the Austin area. Strama is known among liberal activists across Texas as one of the earliest supporters of Barack Obama in the state. Texans For Lawsuit Reform has contributed $79,500 to Strama’s campaigns, including campaigns against Republican challengers in general elections.

In addition to his lobby job as President of Texans For Lawsuit Reform, Dick Trabulsi has also managed to find a way to feed from the taxpayer trough. According to a farm subsidy database maintained by the Environmental Working Group, Trabulsi’s company, Richard Trabulsi Inc., has received $43,787 in farm subsidies since 1995. Another database, maintained by the taxpayer watchdog group “OMB Watch”, reflects an additional payment of $12,647 to Richard Trabulsi Inc. from the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program in 2010.

These taxpayer dollars appear to help fund Trabulsi’s opulent lifestyle. He is the owner of a luxury condominium in the exclusive Four Seasons building in downtown Austin with appraised value of $875,000. The website of the Four Seasons Residences bills itself as “The Premier Address in Austin, Texas” that offers an “unparalleled lifestyle” to its residents.

With the 83rd Legislative Session now underway, Trabulsi and Texans For Lawsuit Reform’s legions of lobbyists are roaming the halls of the Capitol working to push their special interest agenda. Average Texans should not be unwilling pawns in Trabulsi’s political games and must challenge TLR’s fraudulent attempts to convince the public that their agenda advances the Conservative cause in Texas.

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The Mark McCaig Show for 1/27/2013: GOP Hispanic Outreach

This week on the Mark McCaig show, Mark was joined by Artemio Muniz, President of the Texas Federation of Hispanic Republicans. Mark and Artemio discussed the changing demographics of Texas and how the Texas Republican Party must respond to remain viable in 21st century Texas.

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Records Show Top TLR Donors Gave Big to Rove’s SuperPAC

Campaign finance date compiled by Texans For Individual Rights (TXIR) shows tremendous overlap between the Texas donors to Karl Rove’s “American Crossroads” SuperPAC and the special interest group Texans For Lawsuit Reform. Rove has recently announced the creation of a new SuperPAC, the deceptively named “Conservative Victory Project” that appears aimed at defeating candidates backed by grassroots conservatives and Tea Party groups. According to data from the Texas Ethics Commission and the Federal Election Commission, three dozen Texas donors to American Crossroads had also contributed to TLR.

The top two donors to American Crossroads, Texas residents Harold Simmons and Bob Perry, are also the two biggest donors to Texans For Lawsuit Reform. Additionally, many of the same donors to American Crossroads and Texans For Lawsuit Reform also gave money to support David Dewhurst against Ted Cruz in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Writing about these findings on the popular conservative blog RedState, TXIR President Mark McCaig noted “The political establishment and their henchman, Boss Rove, are scared to death about the threat that an energized and organized grassroots base poses to their power. Based on the ads that the American Crossroads and TLR mega-donors from Texas paid for to smear Ted Cruz, it is obvious they are willing to stoop to any lows they deem necessary in order to win.”

McCaig added “Conservatives across America should continue to fight back against this attempted power grab by Karl Rove and the political elite and strongly scrutinize candidates supported by his SuperPAC. Texas conservatives would be wise to give this same scrutiny to establishment front groups like Texans For Lawsuit Reform and their favored candidates that are funded by the same mega-donors that are making Boss Rove’s efforts possible.”

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