The Texas Scorecard
I end the week reflecting on the idea that it is impossible to be publicly virtuous and privately scandalous.
But first, here is the Texas Minute for Friday, February 18, 2022.
– Michael Quinn Sullivan
Strife Rattles Vax Choice Org
- As the issue of vaccine mandates was coming to head last year, and the Lone Star State’s governor resisted calls for a special session on the issue, observers noticed a crucial voice in Texas was muted: Texans for Vaccine Choice. https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-j/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100189000&usg=AOvVaw22I8OXYE9Cvkj881lJoMC b">Brandon Waltens and I review competing social media posts and legal filings.
- For a variety of not yet fully defined reasons, there emerged a rift between the board members of Texans for Vaccine Choice. Confronted with staff members threatening to leave the organization, board members Rebecca Hardy and Christine Wellborn notified fellow board member Jackie Schlegel they needed to meet to address a series of issues. Allegedly, Schlegel told them changes would come only if they fired her.
- Shortly before a meeting between the trio was scheduled, Schlegel attempted to move $116,000 out of the accounts of TFVC and into those of a separate charitable organization over which she had greater control. While Schlegel describes the action as routine, TFVC has claimed that action was anything but – noting the funds represented 80 percent of the entity’s funds and the move was unprecedented.
- A https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-t/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100189000&usg=AOvVaw2KvWVnMdrwCqtGu-Ml3i2 j">review of publicly available documents show no evidence of such transfers having ever taken place in the past.
- Regardless, Schlegel’s attempt to move the funds was blocked with the organization’s financial institution and no money ultimately changed hands. She was voted off the board by the other two women (Hardy and Wellborn) and fired as an employee. Schlegel has characterized the series of events as a “hostile takeover.”
- Now, citing procedural concerns, Schlegel wants a court to reinstate her position on TFVC’s board where she would rejoin Hardy and Welborn as one of three votes governing the organization.
UT Faculty Officially Push CRT Agenda
- The “faculty Senate” at the University of Texas in Austin has passed a resolution, claiming the principle of “academic freedom” to defend the teaching of critical race theory at the institution. https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-i/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100189000&usg=AOvVaw3SJ-w5O5HJVDxioAjeiYp p">Adam Cahn reports the resolution was generated by the “African American Policy Forum,” a national left-wing group.
- Dissenting finance professor Richard Lowery described the CRT resolution as “stunningly hypocritical” in light of the university’s “diversity, equity, and inclusion” policies.
- “You guys have implemented a political test requiring adherence to critical race theory to be considered for employment and promotion, and now you’re complaining about this hypothetical threat that there might be a ban,” he said. “You can’t mandate and then complain that someone else is trying to undo your mandate.”
- UT-Austin is governed by Greg Abbott’s political appointees, all of whom were supported by the Texas Senate.
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is holding a press conference at 11 a.m. today to discuss his 2023 legislative plans to address the UT faculty senate’s promotion of critical race theory.
Huffines Snags Endorsement of Conservative Republicans Of Texas
- With early voting already underway for the March primary elections, the Conservative Republicans of Texas has now endorsed Don Huffines in the gubernatorial race. The statewide organization is led by longtime Houston-area activist Dr. Steve Hotze. https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-h/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100189000&usg=AOvVaw3_-rxysVSNfFxUZYtIHfI W">Katy Drollinger has the details.
- Conservative Republicans of Texas also announced endorsements for incumbents Ken Paxton as attorney general and Sid Miller as agricultural commissioner. The group is also backing San Antonio businessman Weston Martinez for land commissioner.
Do Republicans Let Democrats Run The Texas House?
- In https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-k/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100189000&usg=AOvVaw0CY84ETMg2jOAupXbE4_U Z">this week’s edition of The Headline, Brandon Waltens visits with State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Royse City) where they discuss the problem of Republicans letting Democrats chair committees in the Texas House.
- A new episode of https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-u/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100189000&usg=AOvVaw06pHkWjVuYZX7Q_YT4Fz9 M">The Headline premieres every Friday at 5:30pm, with a podcast and video archive available immediately after.
Sex, Texts, And Power
- A lurid series of graphic text messages, representing nearly a year of deeply emotional and revealing conversations, spooled out for the state to see when a woman shared her story of being in a relationship with a married legislator. Over the course of several weeks, she contacted several media outlets, providing access to her phone and the text messages themselves—including graphic photographs.
- But within hours of the story she told being reported, even with her name withheld, she was suddenly claiming publicly to a flailing local newspaper not to be the person at the center of the statewide story. https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-o/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100190000&usg=AOvVaw2lXTja2_h_yP53ld_6j2g 4">Brandon Waltens examines the scandalous anatomy of a Capitol affair.
Was she pressured to recant? And if so, by who?
The scandal she herself shopped around has, at a minimum, succeeded in scandalizing herself and her family. Like many powerful men before, Landgraf appears poised to skate politically past the incident. He hasn’t lost the endorsement of Gov. Greg Abbott. Austin-based lobby groups have not demanded he return their money.
Perhaps the most revealing scandal – the scandal voters see and ignore – is that Austin’s Capitol culture protects and rewards its own. Even, or perhaps especially, to the detriment of vulnerable women.
by Michael Quinn Sullivan
Yet another sex scandal has been revealed in the Texas Capitol. A married Republican legislator has been caught in several extramarital affairs with various women – including a Capitol staffer. At least one of the relationships seemed predicated, in part, on him providing access to other politicians.
We’re all told to shrug it off and excuse it as a private matter. The more devout might call it a "sad family situation" and plead with everyone to look the other way.
But, for the most part, legislators hope we will just ignore it; a not insignificant number no doubt fear their own extramarital dalliances while in office might be exposed. Their silence is deafening.
To our modern sensibilities, deadened as they are by the cultural elite’s steady drumbeat normalizing all sin, it feels almost righteous to look the other way when politicians engage in sinful behavior.
When you dare to bring up the sexual sins of a politician, their sycophants quote Jesus’ words out of context about "casting the first stone." Of course, he was defending a woman caught in adultery from men who – some might infer – may have themselves done a little sleeping around. But even as that story progresses, Jesus doesn’t look the other way from her sins or excuse them. Instead, He encourages her to repent of them… and go and sin no more.
There is a difference as to how we approach the sins of private people and public people. This, after all, is the same Jesus who overturns the tables of money-changers in the temple and calls out loudly and publicly the sins of the ruling elite.
In the book of Proverbs we find, "When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan." To be clear, those references to righteousness and wickedness aren’t limited to the particular officials’ voting records.
How have we allowed ourselves to be OK with lawmakers treating their public office like a bordello? How have we allowed ourselves to be content with their colleagues looking the other way, or worse?
While our Founding Fathers had their flaws and struggles with sin, they understood the high standard which should be applied to office holders.
Sam Adams said: "He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard of his country. There is seldom an instance of a man guilty of betraying his country who had not before lost the feeling of moral obligations in his private connections."
Here’s how I say it: A man cannot be publicly virtuous and privately scandalous. People tend to be consistent in their personal moral performance. Reputation is what people see us do; character is what we do when we think no one is watching. The two almost always converge.
It is not a leap to assume that the man who cheats on his wife without repentance won’t think much of cheating on his constituents.
After all, that legislator stood before God, family, and friends when vowing marital fidelity to his wife; his commitments to you came on a flimsy postcard sent by his campaign consultant. But we’re to believe he’ll honor the promises made on that postcard with more diligence?
When politicians show us with their actions that they are cheaters, we should believe them and then remove them from the temptations afforded by public office.
When we allow our offices of public trust and power to be occupied by men seeking to satisfy their base desires, you can be certain that the needs of the people are going to lose out.
We must demand actual righteousness of ourselves and our public servants.
And, yes, we must hold those in public office to higher standards so that the people will rejoice.
“The moral character of a man is an entire and indivisible thing—it cannot be pure in one part and defiled in another.”
– Noah Webster
Your Federal & State Lawmakers
The districts displayed here should reflect those recently redrawn by the Legislature. Though the new lines do not take representational effect until 2023, they will appear on the 2022 ballot. Please note that your incumbent legislator and/or district numbers may have changed.
https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-x/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100190000&usg=AOvVaw22KM4AhMDInknsAbCgbl1 x">U.S. Senator
John Cornyn - R
https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-m/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100190000&usg=AOvVaw2x9XbbWwqz8dBgfPxyKjK z">U.S. Senator
Ted Cruz - R
https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-c/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100190000&usg=AOvVaw1Z7oMSmsHOXkO8V2lAKr4 O">Governor of Texas
Greg Abbott - R
https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-q/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100190000&usg=AOvVaw2c_gU6ZfTegRxzCRRuSNb m">Lt. Governor
Dan Patrick - R
https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-a/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100190000&usg=AOvVaw2bkNFIvvQCgZwWzduwn3s v">Attorney General
Ken Paxton – R
Glenn Hegar – R
https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-z/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100190000&usg=AOvVaw2aM7PpmrqDW4_zbuQkTql 6">Land Commissioner
George Bush – R
https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-v/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100190000&usg=AOvVaw08boQ7Q3440S4-6DYJTDg g">Commissioner of Agriculture
Sid Miller – R
https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-g/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100190000&usg=AOvVaw1kGDlwiGJD55C3D4MJFhv U">Railroad Commissioners
Wayne Christian – R
Christy Craddick – R
Jim Wright – R
https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-w/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100191000&usg=AOvVaw0HxcSeZn-tOjZJvCFHpUT G">U.S. House, District 4
Pat Fallon - R
https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-yd/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100191000&usg=AOvVaw1tlbNajZBtpWBu70rngbo q">Texas Senate, District 2
Bob Hall - R
https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-yh/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100191000&usg=AOvVaw3kI8wRZIO4kez98HXMuyE J">Texas House, District 33
Justin Holland - R
Speaker of the Texas House
Dade Phelan (R)
Something not right?
https://blast.texasscorecard.com/t/d-l-audklo-tltulkjuih-yk/&source=gmail&ust=1645276100191000&usg=AOvVaw2H66R_siGPJLnmcGzw775 C">Confirm we have your address correct!