Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Texans for Education Funding Equity

Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and if he ever caught himself telling the truth, he'd lie just to keep his hand in.
Harry Truman said that long before Americans learned about Watergate. It's not like Americans couldn't have known what they were getting when they elected Richard Nixon as President (twice!).

OK, moving on... Do you remember the days when writing a letter to your legislator was an effective way to have your voice heard in government? Neither do I. Always more myth than reality, the notion that legislators listen to anything but money is today considered laughably naive.

That's why this headline in The Dallas Morning News is not surprising: "Richardson dads form PAC to gather cash, clout for Texas school finance reform." Josh Cedor founded the Texans for Education Funding Equity PAC (TEFE). He told the News's Jeffrey Weiss: "Politics is the game of money, whether anybody likes it or wants to admit it."

After the jump, what he's up against. Spoiler alert: his state legislator is Stefani Carter.

TEFE PAC's stated mission is "to fund candidates from any political party that possess strong ideas for resolving this crisis, and the fortitude to turn those ideas into legislation." The TEFE PAC's goal is to raise about $50,000 in about a year.

Cedor's state representative is Stefani Carter, R-Dallas, who was asked by Weiss whether money from a PAC can influence legislation. Said Stefani Carter: "Special interests unfortunately will drive some politics. But I’m an idealist. My hope is we have more members who try to do what’s right than otherwise."

Idealist. Uh huh. "What's right" for Stefani Carter means "what's far right." Or maybe more accurately, it means "what's right for Stefani Carter," which up to now means what's far right. Could the TEFE PAC's $50,000 influence her? Not likely, but not because she's above the game of soliciting political donations. From the Texas Tribune, here is a list of the top donors to Stefani Carter's political campaigns.

Name Total
Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC $526,713
Associated Republicans of Texas $170,000
Bob and Doylene Perry $130,000
Bob Perry $85,000
Republican Party of Texas $51,225
Texas Republican Representatives State Account $30,000
Trevor Rees-Jones $27,500
Conservative Republicans of Texas $26,991
Conservative Republicans of Texas $20,313

See anyone in that list who thinks funding for Texas public schools is a priority? Neither do I. The half million dollars given to Stefani Carter by the "Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC" (TLR) will swamp anything Cedor's little TEFE PAC can raise. And TLR PAC's primary cause is advancing the interests of malpractice insurers, not the interest of public schools. The $200,000 contribution to Stefani Carter from multi-millionaire home builder and funder of far right causes Bob Perry and his wife is even worse. Bob Perry's personal cause is to siphon money away from public schools in the form of vouchers for private schools. No wonder Stefani Carter is cool to the news that an average person in her district is starting a PAC to fund candidates who want to improve funding for public schools in Texas. Bob Perry won't be pleased.

Good luck to Josh Cedor and the "Texans for Education Funding Equity PAC." The TEFE PAC is going to need all the luck it can get. And so will our children and their public schools. It's ironic that Richardson, which takes pride in the quality of its public school system, has Stefani Carter as its representative in the state legislature. Follow the money. It's not like Richardson voters can't know what they'll be getting if they elect Stefani Carter to the Texas House (twice).

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