More GOP-Green ties found

Man named in e-mail says he did not of­fer to pay for pe­ti­tion ef­fort

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO&STATE - By Ja­son Em­bry and Corrie MacLag­gan

The name of an­other Repub­li­can op­er­a­tive sur­faced Tues­day in con­nec­tion with the Texas Green Party’s push to get on the Novem­ber bal­lot.

Democrats cir­cu­lated a March e-mail from a Green Party of­fi­cial claim­ing that Repub­li­can An­thony Holm would help the party pay to col­lect the sig­na­tures needed to ap­pear on the statewide bal­lot.

Holm is a prin­ci­pal at the Pa­triot Group, a Texas-based lob­by­ing and con­sult­ing firm that Gov. Rick Perry’s cam­paign paid more than $90,000 last year for technology con­sult­ing.

Holm said Tues­day that he wants the Green Party on the bal­lot but de­nied that he ever planned to help pay for the sig­na­ture ef­fort.

“I’ll help them in any way pos­si­ble,” Holm said, “but I’ve never of­fered them money or gone out there and sourced them money.”

The Green Party’s statewide co­or­di­na­tor, kat swift, who does not cap­i­tal­ize her name, sent the e-mail and said Tues­day that her mes­sage has been taken out of con­text and that Holm “never promised fund­ing.”

Swift, the Green Party’s statewide co­or­di­na­tor, wrote to other party of­fi­cials in March: “So I just got a call that a repub­li­can in texas wants

to give us 40% of the cost of pe­ti­tion­ing (…). I got his name! An­thony Holm (?)”

She said she didn’t mean for her e-mail to im­ply “that An­thony was the one that had the fund­ing” but rather “that An­thony was the per­son I was go­ing to be talk­ing to.”

At the time of that e-mail, Holm’s firm was no longer on the Perry cam­paign pay­roll. The Perry cam­paign was one of the Pa­triot Group’s many clients, and Perry spokesman Mark Miner said the cam­paign is no longer do­ing busi­ness with the group.

“Our cam­paign had no in­volve­ment with the Green Party,” Miner said.

Democrats have said Repub­li­cans sought to prop up the Green Party to siphon votes from Demo­cratic gu­ber­na­to­rial nom­i­nee Bill White.

State law al­lows mi­nor par­ties to pe­ti­tion to get on the statewide bal­lot. Ear­lier this year, the Green Party sub­mit­ted more than 90,000 sig­na­tures to the sec­re­tary of state, se­cur­ing a spot in the Novem­ber elec­tions.

Take Ini­tia­tive Amer­ica, a non­profit cor­po­ra­tion with a num­ber of ties to Repub­li­cans, paid Chicago-based Free and Equal Inc. $532,000 to col­lect the sig­na­tures that landed the Greens on the bal­lot. But the Texas Supreme Court is now re­view­ing whether that ef­fort was within the lim­its of how cor­po­ra­tions can spend money to help po­lit­i­cal par­ties and can­di­dates.

Mean­while, Democrats are su­ing the Green Party in an ef­fort to iden­tify Take Ini­tia­tive Amer­ica’s con­trib­u­tors.

Swift said Tues­day that Free and Equal re­ferred her to Holm but that she can’t re­mem­ber why.

On Tues­day, Holm said he has never been as­so­ci­ated with Take Ini­tia­tive Amer­ica. Holm serves as a spokesman for Hous­ton home­builder Bob Perry, a ma­jor donor to Rick Perry (no re­la­tion) and other Repub­li­cans around the coun­try. Holm said that Bob Perry did not give the Green Party any money.

Holm said he strongly sup­ports Perry but has no role in the gover­nor’s re-elec­tion cam­paign.

A for­mer Uni­ver­sity of Texas stu­dent tes­ti­fied in a court hear­ing last month that lob­by­ist Mike Toomey per­son­ally paid him to col­lect sig­na­tures for the Greens. That pe­ti­tion ef­fort even­tu­ally fell short. Toomey is a for­mer chief of staff for Perry who is heav­ily in­volved in help­ing Repub­li­cans win leg­isla­tive seats.

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