The shadowy Texans for Limited Government PAC is working to influence an election, and it is unclear how they are paying for their activities.
Last week we began reporting on Texans for Limited Government, a PAC connected to the consultant firm Murphy Turner Associates. The group has been sending misleading mail to voters in Tarrant Co. House District 91.
The mail being sent by Murphy Turner is targeting conservative Stephanie Klick on behalf of moderate Ken Sapp. In the May primary Sapp secured 39% of the vote and Klick finished close behind with 31%. Klick enjoys the support of conservative groups including the North East Tarrant Tea Party, Young Conservatives of Texas and Texas Right to Life. Sapp has recently come under fire for supporting a gas tax increase.
When mail from Texans for Limited Government began hitting we looked into their financial reports to see who was funding the activities. There were no donations reported. In a recent filing the group shows they have a war chest of $100. Donors to the PAC are not being disclosed.
In that same filing Holly Turner, the PAC’s treasurer, included a breathless note to the Texas Ethics Commission claiming to have the 10 donors required by law for the PAC to operate. Whether they cleared the statutory hurdle before engaging is not clear according to TEC filings. What is clear is the PAC isn’t operating above board.
How much mail can a PAC send with $100? According to Mrs. Turner’s filing $7737.72 worth of mail was sent on Kan Sapp’s behalf though the PAC only had $100. There is no documentation that the PAC has been loaned money to cover the expense of mailing to influence the HD 91 election. This is a sizable discrepancy in a Texas house primary.
Recently the tactics Murphy Turner has employed while managing Sapp’s campaign have backfired. The Fort Worth Star Telegram published a letter to the editor from a would-be Sapp supporter who noted his dismay with the mail being sent by Texans for Limited Government. He wrote that he was switching his vote to Stephanie Klick.
In the heat of the battle Murphy Turner unexpectedly admitted that they view all GOP House members as employees of the embattled moderate Speaker of the House, attacking Klick for “criticizing her future boss”. This undoubtedly comes as a surprise to district voters who take time to vote for self-representation, not for which consultant’s client gets to be Speaker Straus’s new “employee”.
Early voting in HD 91 is underway and ends Friday the 27th. The primary runoff is July 31.