Have written about the whole thing LOTS of times on this blog. Short recap that TRMPAC (Texans for a Republican Majority) wanted to have Republicans take over the Texas Lege and put a lot of money and process into trying to do it. Who doesn't remember their redistricting efforts and the Texas Dems (Killer D's) going to Oklahoma and alter NM? Who doesn't remember that Tom Delay is still under indictment for his involvement with TRMPAC? As for TAB (Texas Association of Business), it created flyers and donated money for a number of Republican house districts where there were either incumbent Democrats or a Democratic opponent. The problem is that it is illegal for a corporation to do that under Texas law.
Saw a letter to the editor in the Stephenville paper today from a Valerie Harvick which blasts the paper for talking about the indictment and even mentioning Miller's name. The author says
You see, Miller had been endorsed by the group because of his pro-business voting record.
IF that were strictly 1, and it was merely a verbal endorsement and that was WHY TAB endorsed Miller and other Texas Republicans, that would be one thing. Here's some background from the Austin Chronicle in May of this year.
'The State of Texas v. the Texas Association of Business'
The first indictment against TAB contained three counts, charging TAB with making prohibited corporate expenditures (one count for mailers, one count for TV ads, and one count for mailers done in the name of the Law Enforcement Alliance of America). After much pretrial debate, in June 2006, Judge Mike Lynch dismissed the first indictment against TAB, and the D.A.'s office did not appeal. The D.A.'s office sought to reindict, including spelling out how TAB coordinated these political expenditures with PACs involved in the election effort (Business and Commerce PAC, Texans for a Republican Majority PAC, and Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC). A Travis Co. grand jury reindicted TAB on this new seven-count indictment.
A new motion to quash and more pretrial debate followed. Judge Lynch dismissed this new indictment on Aug. 31, 2007. When the D.A.'s office appealed, the 3rd Court transferred the case (for docket reasons) to the 13th Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi. The D.A.'s office filed an appellate brief on Feb. 25, citing four points of error. TAB's defense attorneys have now filed their response with the 13th Court of Appeals – a few days late; at press time, the 13th Court had not yet made a decision to accept the untimely brief.
Another indictment is pending, covering 28 counts charging TAB as a party to the making of prohibited corporate contributions to a de facto PAC, Strategic Partners. Also pending is an indictment charging TAB with making prohibited contributions to their political action committee, BACPAC, by paying Executive Director Bill Hammond's salary with TAB's corporate money while he was doing BACPAC work that involved expressly advocating for the election of candidates endorsed by BACPAC.
Here's what Ms Harvick, who is an employee for Sid Miller's wife, is referring to from the Austin American Statesman
On Friday, Ernie Casbeer, a Democrat challenging state Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, blamed the criminal case for Miller's decision not to debate him. "It looks like he doesn't want to explain why his name has surfaced in one of the most notorious cases of alleged election fraud in Texas history," Casbeer said in a news release.
The question is whether the business group should have been paying its officers with corporate money when they were campaigning for candidates in 2002 or whether their political time should have been paid by the group's political committee.
Actually, Miller's only "crime" is that the state's largest business association endorsed him along with the other 23 people who were Republican candidates in 2002. Prosecutors say they added the names in response to requests from defense lawyers for more details about the allegation.
"They asked for it," said Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a Democrat. "They got it."
I had not posted the press release about Sid Miller from Ernie Casbeer before, went and dug it up out of my deleted mail folder. I can't see that Ernie Casbeer ever accused Sid Miller of a crime, only that he is named in a criminal indictment and may not want to talk about it. Again, Miller is called as a WITNESS. This is from August 29, 2008
SID MILLER NAMED IN CRIMINAL INDICTMENT FOR ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN CASH
Incumbent's Old Ethics Troubles Call Into Question His Ability to Lead District in New Direction
(OGLESBY)-- Texas House challenger Ernie Casbeer today said that his opponent’s ability to lead the district after years of failed leadership is now being called into even more question since he was named in an amended indictment in an investigation into illegal contributions made by corporate special interests to his and other campaigns six years ago.
“Now we know why my opponent won’t agree to debate me on the critical issues facing our communities,” Casbeer said. “It looks like he doesn’t want to explain why his name has surfaced in one of the most notorious cases of alleged election fraud in Texas history.”
Casbeer said the Travis County District Attorney this week amended an indictment against the Texas Association of Business, which is accused of making illegal corporate contributions in 2002 while supporting the campaigns of at least 11 current state lawmakers, including Miller’s. A trial is scheduled for September 22.
You judge for yourself.
P.S. Valerie Harvick, again, is principal of Erath Excels Charter School in Stephenville. Notice from the page that the director is Debra Miller, Sid Miller's wife. If you'd like to see a little background on Erath Excels, read here.