An Open Letter to the Agenda Wise Board of Directors

Author’s note: The following correspondence was sent via e-mail to Agenda Wise directors  Michael Quinn Sullivan, Tim Dunn, and Leslie Graves on 5/21/2013. We will update this post with any responses received by Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Dunn, and/or Ms. Graves. 

Dear Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Dunn, and Ms. Graves,

According to my review of public records, the three of you compose the entirety of the Board of Directors of Agenda Wise, Inc. As you are all almost certainly aware, your employee at Agenda Wise, Daniel Greer, was recently discovered to have made a number of grossly offensive posts on Twitter. These include a post on his personal account which directed a derogatory slur towards an Austin social media consultant as well as posts made under an alias.

Even through Agenda Wise claims to be “committed to providing transparency in the Texas political discourse”, Mr. Greer also utilized a fake twitter account under the alias of “Richard Fiasco” to make an assortment of insulting and vile comments. Mr. Greer’s tweets under his “Richard Fiasco” alias included the use of vulgar and offensive language directed towards members of the Texas Legislature as well as a particularly disgusting comment about homosexuals contracting AIDS.

Screen captures of Mr. Greer’s tweets can be viewed online at http://stoptlr.com/blog/?p=402.

The pattern of language used by Mr. Greer is not representative of an isolated incident of bad judgment, a poor attempt at humor, or- as Mr. Sullivan described Mr. Greer’s comments to the Quorum Report- “an unfortunate typo.” Rather, Mr. Greer’s comments are indicative of a sick and hate filled man who does not deserve to participate in the political discourse in Texas.

In sworn deposition testimony given on October 12, 2012, Mr. Greer stated that he answers to the Board of Directors of Agenda Wise. Assuming that the testimony Mr. Greer gave was truthful, the decision as to whether Mr. Greer will continue to be paid to spew his hate rests in your hands. I hope that you will agree with me that Mr. Greer’s comments have no place in the political dialog in Texas. As Mr. Greer’s employer, I urge you to do the right thing and not only publicly denounce Mr. Greer’s offensive and hate filled comments but to end any and all professional associations with Mr. Greer.

I look forward to your reply to this correspondence.

Best Regards,

Mark McCaig

President, Texans For Individual Rights

UPDATE 5/23/13: The Board of Directors of Agenda Wise has released a statement on their website about Mr. Greer’s offensive comments. The statement reads as follows:

The AgendaWise Board of Directors has become aware that an employee, Daniel Greer, made “tweets” from a personal Twitter account that were in a spirit not aligned with the values of our organization. We do not support personal slurs.

We have also learned there were other derogatory statements Mr. Greer made from an anonymous account not in keeping with the values of AgendaWise, and AgendaWise does not in any way endorse them.

We support Mr. Greer’s apology as well as his expressed desire to reform.

Mr. Greer has requested, and the Board has granted, a leave of absence from AgendaWise.

The Board of Directors and staff remain fully committed to the organization’s mission of disclosing facts, educating citizens, creating transparency and promoting civic engagement.

We appreciate the statement, especially since they finally acknowledge that Mr. Greer’s comments were not merely an “unfortunate typo”, as Michael Quinn Sullivan originally stated in Greer’s defense. However, this statement raises a number of questions that the Agenda Wise board needs to answer:

1) Is the Agenda Wise board giving Mr. Greer a paid leave of absence, essentially rewarding him with a paid vacation for his reprehensible conduct? How long is the leave of absence for?

2) Has Mr. Greer made any other apologies other than the one he posted on twitter under his personal account? Has Mr. Greer apologized to the Republican legislators he slurred on his anonymous account?

3) How has Mr. Greer expressed a “desire to reform”, to whom has he expressed this desire, and what specific actions are entailed in this “reform”?

4) Why do the members of the Agenda Wise board of directors appear to desire a continued association with somebody like Mr. Greer, who demonstrated not an isolated lapse in judgment but rather a pattern of offensive and hate filled remarks?

We will continue to update this post as this situation develops.

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TLR, AgendaWise, and the Death of Intelligent Debate

Here at #StopTLR, we strive to provide factual information about special interest influence in Texas government. Since our launch just over a year ago, we’ve build a Facebook page with nearly 94,000 “likes”- making it the most popular Facebook page dealing with Texas politics and public policy.

We are strong believers in having an honest and respectful dialog about the issues facing our state, even with those who disagree with us. In fact, we have publicly challenged TLR’s leadership on various issues on multiple occasions. Unfortunately, they never responded. Nonetheless, we remain happy to have a public debate with Texans For Lawsuit Reform’s President Dick Trabulsi at any time.

It is no surprise that our work has some detractors. After all, we are calling out some of the most influential powerbrokers and wealthiest political donors in the state. It is hardly a surprise that the folks at TLR don’t like us talking about the liberal ties of its leadership, the insider deals and taxpayer handouts that have benefited some of its biggest donors, or its financial support of liberal Democrats to the tune of nearly $3.4 million.

We have also been the subject of attacks from the operation of Michael Quinn Sullivan, an Austin-based political operative. Sullivan has gained a reputation as having a rather cavalier attitude towards the truth and was recently sued for libel by a prominent businessman from the Panhandle. According to recent media reports, Sullivan is also under criminal investigation by the Travis County Attorney’s office for allegedly lobbying without being a registered lobbyist. Sullivan’s benefactor, Midland oilman Tim Dunn, has been a contributor to Texans For Lawsuit Reform.

One part of Sullivan’s operation is a political attack website called “AgendaWise”, which is run by Daniel Greer. In the words of Harvey Kronberg of the Texas political news website “Quorum Report”, “AgendaWise Executive Director Daniel Greer specializes in inflammatory stories.  A judge declared his story in a defamation lawsuit filed by Canadien’s Salem Abraham about events at a Jim Landtroop campaign event to be untrue.”

Both Greer and Justin Williamson, who does social media work for Texans For Lawsuit Reform through a social media consulting firm called Raconteur Media, are prolific users of Twitter. While we at #StopTLR and Texans For Individual Rights strive for intelligent, fact based conversation, Greer and Williamson appear to have a different ideas on how to communicate their respective messages.

The fun on Twitter began last night, when Williamson posted this tweet promoting a press release from State Senator Larry Taylor regarding the death of a bill he filed regarding the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA).

 

Taylor has come under attack from conservative activists in his district for his decision to personally campaign for liberal Democrat Carol Alvarado in her recent failed campaign for State Senate. Taylor’s bill, if passed, would likely have resulted in higher insurance premiums for policyholders in inland areas of the state to subsidize holders of insurance policies in high risk areas along the Texas coast as a result of the mandatory assessment levied on insurance carriers that was included in the bill.

At no point in any discussion did Williamson discuss the supposed merits of Taylor’s bill. He was more interested in trashing #StopTLR. Had Williamson actually taken the time to read the bill, he would have seen that the bill had nothing to do with trial lawyers or lawsuits.

Enter Daniel Greer. Despite being a vocal critic of #StopTLR, he took exception to Williamson’s tweet with this classy response:

Greer apparently sent this tweet simultaneously through a now-disabled fake twitter account under the alias “Richard Fiasco”, which Williamson caught.

The “discussion” between Williamson and Greer continued to devolve after that with various petty insults between the two, including this slam by Williamson apparently questioning Greer and Sullivan’s effectiveness during this legislative session:

Not long after this tweet (and more subsequent bickering between Williamson and Greer), Nathan Ofe joins in the fun with this jab. Ofe is a member of the Michael Quinn Sullivan network who is employed by Sullivan’s “Texans For Fiscal Responsibility.”

Even though Williamson and TLR question our conservative principles on a regular basis, Williamson was visibly angered when the tables were turned on him.

Greer, Ofe, and Williamson (all grown men, by the way) then continue their online version of a grade school name calling contest. Not to be outdone by the others, Greer then posts this now-deleted tweet directing an offensive slur at Williamson.

After hurling a few more insults at Williamson and others, Greer calls it a night and the show comes to a close.

Greer’s language is vile and is to be condemned. It speaks volumes to the character of not only Greer, but of his associates Nathan Ofe and Michael Quinn Sullivan (who has since said that Greer’s offensive tweet was a “typo”) that they not only condone but frequently participate in this style of “debate.”  Williamson and TLR (as well as Williamson’s employers at Raconteur Media, which is owned by consultant Ryan Gravatt) are hardly innocent parties- they have shown that they are more than willing to hurl baseless attacks and juvenile insults in lieu of civil discourse as well.

Last night’s “twitter fight” between Greer and Williamson is indicative of the absolute void of intellectual honesty by the Austin political establishment of which both Greer and Williamson represent. “Iron sharpens iron” and our State is better off for having vigorous debate between those with opposing viewpoints. We are firm in our beliefs and have the facts on our side. We also realize that intelligent people can- and will- disagree with us and we respect that as long as the debate is civil and remains focused on ideas and issues. We only wish that Greer and the rest of Michael Quinn Sullivan’s network as well as Williamson, Texans For Lawsuit Reform, Raconteur Media and Raconteur’s owner, Ryan Gravatt shared our commitment to respectful and civil debate.

UPDATE: This was not Daniel Greer’s first rodeo with offensive tweets. We’ve found the following gems from his now-deleted “Richard Fiasco” twitter account:

This one goes after State Senator Kel Seliger, State Rep. Charlie Geren, Speaker Joe Straus, and political consultant Bryan Eppstein:

Here is Greer’s opinion of State Representative Larry Gonzales:

And perhaps the most offensive of all:

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The Mark McCaig Show for 5/5/13: All Politics is Local

This week on the Mark McCaig show, Mark was joined by League City Councilwoman Heidi Theiss. Mark and Heidi (who works in the firearms industry) discussed the recent NRA convention in Houston and the Obama administration’s attack on second amendment rights. Mark and Heidi also discussed how conservatives can and should become engaged on the local level and how the grassroots can impact local and school board elections.

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The Mark McCaig Show for 4/28/13: Defending Life

This week on the Mark McCaig show, Mark was joined by Kyleen Wright of the Texans For Life Coalition. Mark and Kyleen discussed the successes of the pro-life movement in Texas in recent years as well as legislation pending in the Texas legislature that will advance the pro-life cause and protect the safety of women.

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TLR Caught Lobbying Against Private Property Rights

According to our sources around the Texas Capitol, Texans For Lawsuit Reform and its President, longtime liberal activist Dick Trabulsi, are actively lobbying members in support of House Bill 2748. This legislation, which is the brainchild of the oil and gas industry, would significantly harm the private property rights of landowners when a company claims “common carrier” status to condemn land for a pipeline through eminent domain. HB 2748 is set to be voted on the floor of the Texas House on Friday, May 3rd.

While a broad coalition appears to be forming against HB 2748, the involvement of Trabulsi and TLR in support of the bill is troubling as TLR continues to falsely tell grassroots activists that they represent conservative values. Even worse, TLR lies to these well meaning conservatives at the same time they aggressively try to use their political power and influence at the Capitol to do great harm the conservative cause.

Those opposing HB 2748 include We Texans, the conservative advocacy group headed by Debra Medina. In a recent e-mail, We Texans blasted HB 2748 on that basis that it would empower the Texas Railroad Commission’s “complicit cooperation with pipeline companies in trampling private property rights in Texas.” The Texas Farm Bureau’s Legislative Director, Steve Pringle, describes HB 2748 as “one of the worst ideas to emerge in the Legislature this session” that “greases the skids for pipeline companies to take private property—as they used to tell so many—“because we can.” Other groups joining We Texans and the Texas Farm Bureau in opposing HB 2748 include the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, the Texas Forestry Association, the Texas Land and Mineral Owners Association, and the Texas Wildlife Association.

TLR’s support of HB 2748 once again demonstrates that this organization isn’t concerned with actual “lawsuit reform” or public policy that benefits the majority of Texans, but serves as the mouthpiece for wealthy interests that want to use the power of the government to line their pockets regardless of the impact on average Texans or a resulting erosion of Constitutional rights.

It is heartening to see so many conservative and landowner groups shine the light on HB 2748’s assault on property rights. However, it will take quick action by average Texas voters to overcome Trabulsi and TLR’s attempt to strip Texas landowners of their rights.

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