July 14, 2024
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In part 1 of this discussion of big money seeking to influence, all while pretending to be *outsiders* against “the Swamp”, mentioned that Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks have taken their huge amount of money to influence politicians. They started Empower Texans ,and then funded the heck out of a lot of right-wing entities.

In the case of Defend Texas Liberty

Texas is among a handful of states with no limits on individual political contributions in state races. Since Defend Texas Liberty PAC was created in 2020, Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks have given at least $14.5 million to the organization. They also helped bankroll Stickland’s career in the Legislature before he took over the group. (Stickland is no longer head, after being exposed for meeting with Nick Fuentes, a neo-Nazi)

How did Defend Texas Liberty spend their money and who did they get it from? TransparencyUSA.org, which also has ALL the contributors

And as an example of how you can go down rabbit holes with linkages from the transparencyUSA site, here is CWS research.

Here’s from Jonathan Stickland’s 2016 Campaign finance report (found on the Texas Ethics Committee website, along with other reports for him). I show this as an example of how much money he took from Dunn and Wilkes.

It appears that at least some of the far-right kooks in Texas politics had their start with the NE Tarrant Tea Party.

Its members helped recruit and elect a delegation of state legislators deemed the most conservative in the state — including one of the most visible and bombastic members of the Texas House, Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford.

How did Stickland go from being a troll to a rep in the Texas Lege?

in 2011, Stickland attended a town hall in Tarrant County with U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, and, in a move that would change his life, decided to confront the Republican congressman over his recent vote to raise the debt limit. Also in the crowd that day was Julie McCarty, then-leader of Tarrant County’s nascent Tea Party. A few days after, Stickland later recalled, he was eating a midnight bowl of ice cream when he received an email from McCarty, asking if he’d consider running for office.

“My wife was leaning over me and started laughing,” he later told the Austin American-Statesman. “Then she said, ‘Crap, you might be able to do that.’”

Stickland prayed on it, agreed to throw his hat in the ring and started knocking on more than 7,000 doors — losing 50 pounds along the way. Backed by McCarty and other Tea Party-aligned groups, he cruised to victory in the Republican primary and then trounced his opponent, a Libertarian Party candidate, in the 2012 general election for Texas House District 92.

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