District at­tor­ney re­view­ing Green Party bal­lot fight

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By tim ea­ton

The Travis County district at­tor­ney’s of­fice is look­ing into whether a crime was com­mit­ted in get­ting the Green Party on the Novem­ber bal­lot.

“The mat­ter is un­der re­view and in­ves­ti­ga­tors and attorneys from the Pub­lic In­tegrity Unit will gather ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion as that re­view pro­gresses,” District At­tor­ney Rose­mary Lehm­berg’s of­fice said in a state­ment.

Texas Democrats have ac­cused Repub­li­cans of pay­ing to help the Green Party get on the bal­lot to pull lib­eral votes away from Bill White, the Demo­cratic can­di­date for gover­nor who is chal­leng­ing Repub­li­can Rick Perry.

The Texas Demo­cratic Party also al­leged that cor­po­rate money il­le­gally paid for the ef­fort. Un­der Texas elec­tion law, cor­po­ra­tions can’t con­trib­ute to po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns; how­ever, the law also states that cor­po­rate money can help pay for over­head and ad­min­is­tra­tive

Con­tin­ued from B1 costs in­curred by a party.

David Rogers, a lawyer for the Green Party, was not avail­able for com­ment Thurs­day, but the party has main­tained that the do­na­tion was le­gal.

Perry has said he had no knowl­edge of Repub­li­cans help­ing the Greens.

Chad Dunn, a lawyer for the Texas Demo­cratic Party gen­eral coun­sel, said Thurs­day that he has not heard from the Travis County district at­tor­ney’s of­fice and had no knowl­edge of a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

But he added: “The Texas Demo­cratic Party has be­lieved from the very be­gin­ning that the Rick Perry/Green Party bal­lot scan­dal con­tains se­ri­ous ac­cu­sa­tions, and we’ve been com­mit­ted to in­ves­ti­gat­ing any vi­o­la­tions in the law and hold­ing those re­spon­si­ble ac­count­able.”

Last month, a state district judge in Travis County is­sued an in­junc­tion block­ing the Green Party from the bal­lot, but the Texas Supreme Court later over­turned the rul­ing.

Democrats orig­i­nally re­quested in a law­suit that the Green Party be re­moved from the bal­lot. But they later de­cided to fo­cus their law­suit on try­ing to de­ter­mine who con­trib­uted to Take Ini­tia­tive Amer­ica, the out-of-state non­profit cor­po­ra­tion that paid a firm to col­lect more than 90,000 sig­na­tures to qual­ify the Green Party for the bal­lot. Take Ini­tia­tive Amer­ica has a num­ber of ties to Repub­li­cans.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.