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April 23, 2024      4:20 PM

After a recount in Dallas, Chair Meyer defeats GOP challenger Barry Wernick

Via Dallas County elections: "The report shows a difference of only 15 votes between the election results and the hand tallied results of the recount. This represents a variation of 0.05% when compared to the more than 26,000 ballots that were cast."

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April 23, 2024      4:15 PM

Cruz could be liable for taxes on payments from his iHeartMedia podcast, experts say

Via reporter Ben Wermund at the Hearst DC Bureau:

The peculiar payment scheme behind U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's popular podcast has raised ethical questions and drawn complaints about election law violations. Now tax experts say the deal involving a massive radio network that picked up the “Verdict with Ted Cruz” podcast in 2022 and a super PAC supporting the Texas Republican’s reelection effort could also raise red flags for the IRS.

While Cruz says he makes no money off the hosting gig, iHeartMedia has sent more than $630,000 in ad revenue from the podcast to the Truth and Courage PAC, which produces the show and says it owns it. The exact terms of the arrangement are unclear, and no parties involved have been willing to disclose them.

But tax experts say Cruz may still need to report income on his tax forms, even if he isn't pocketing any cash. That's because the law requires income to be taxed to the person who does the work. In this case, they say, that would be Cruz serving as the host of his podcast.

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April 23, 2024      11:41 AM

Texas Supreme Court blocks Harris County from moving forward with guaranteed income program

Without regard to the merits, the court orders Harris County to pause it's program, which was set to begin shorty. The County has until next Monday to respond

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April 19, 2024      5:30 PM

As Club for Growth carpet bombs Texas with TV ads about almost anything but school vouchers, GOP incumbents note challengers are beneficiaries of TikTok money

GOP incumbents still seem mostly hemmed in by the truth; Abbott and allied organizations are now attacking Republican House members about property taxes, an issue on which they were fully compliant with Abbott’s wishes last year

The promised spending of millions of dollars against Texas House GOP incumbents in their runoffs is ramping up now in North Texas, the San Antonio area, Texarkana, and of course the Golden Triangle.

DC-based Club for Growth, a group described by one Texas GOP consultant as "a way station for political cash regardless of the contributor’s issue," is now on TV across the state in full carpet-bombing mode against Republicans who voted against Gov. Greg Abbott's position on school vouchers last year. They're also attacking the speaker, who was neutral on vouchers throughout 2023.

As was the case in the first round of the grotesquely dishonest GOP primary, the ads from the Club are focused on almost anything other than “school choice” or vouchers. In fact, the Club and Gov. Abbott are now flogging House incumbents about property taxes. That’s even though House lawmakers under Speaker Dade Phelan’s leadership team did exactly what Abbott asked of them last year while it was Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and senators who dug in and fought Abbott on the specifics of reforming the property tax system last summer.

Endangered incumbents – still seemingly hemmed in by fealty to the truth – are meantime pointing out that challengers have been the beneficiaries of out-of-state millions from TikTok investor Jeff Yass. He’s the Pennsylvania billionaire and “school choice” supporter who cut a check for $6 million to Abbott as the primary was getting underway. Abbott turned around and used that cash to go after 10 Republicans who voted with him 99 percent of the time. Yass has poured millions into Club for Growth as well.

Here's how it’s looking on the airwaves so far.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Scott Braddock

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April 19, 2024      5:29 PM

Rep. Hull is elected Vice Chair of the Texas House GOP Caucus

Rep. Bell came in second, Rep. Dorazio finished third

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April 19, 2024      11:59 AM

Appeals court in Dallas says Paxton can be disciplined for attempt to overturn the 2020 election

“Paxton ‘is not exempt from the judiciary’s constitutional obligation to regulate the practice of Texas attorneys simply because he serves’ as the attorney general,” wrote Justice Erin Nowell

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April 18, 2024      1:17 PM

A state district court judge in Houston denies Paxton request for TRO and allows Harris County guaranteed income program to go forward

"I expect the state to appeal directly to the Texas Supreme Court. Given what we’ve seen from that court and Republican politics, I am skeptical that we will get a fair shake. But I plan to do everything I can to protect this program." - County Attorney Christian Menefee

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April 18, 2024      11:21 AM

Video: In new ad, Speaker Phelan slams David Covey as a puppet for billionaires from West Texas and Pennsylvania

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April 17, 2024      12:39 PM

Fifth Circuit guts Texas book restrictions pushed by Rep. Patterson, who is disappointed in the most conservative appeals court in the US

Booksellers sued, saying the law violated the First Amendment and would devastate their businesses

Via the San Antonio Express-News:

Key portions of a law signed last year by Gov. Greg Abbott requiring booksellers to rate books for sexual content when selling to schools will not go into effect after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday declined to re-consider an earlier decision.

It’s a win for booksellers, especially independent ones, who sued the state last year saying the law violated the First Amendment and would devastate their businesses.

…Rep. Jared Patterson, a Frisco Republican who authored the bill, disagreed with the court’s decision.

“It’s incredibly disappointing that a majority of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with book vendors who push pornography on unsuspecting children in our public schools,” he wrote in a statement posted on social media. “Any judge claiming the State of Texas cannot require government vendors to ensure they don’t send sexually explicit content to children in our schools is just plain wrong.”

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April 16, 2024      5:46 PM

Concerns about a Grayson County project prompt Lt. Gov. Patrick to ask TCEQ to stop issuing permits for cement plants statewide for now

The full text of what Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wrote to TCEQ Chairman Jon Niermann is below. There’s been no comment from TCEQ

The rest of the story, subscribers only

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April 16, 2024      5:31 PM

Tarrant County Commissioners debate whether to allow the County Judge to give a government contract to a Huffines political operative

The debate turned nasty as County Judge Tim O'Hare told Commissioner Simmons to "Sit there and be quiet"

From KERA in DFW:

Tarrant County Judge Tim O'Hare told a commissioner to "sit there and be quiet" during an argument over hiring a contractor for his office on Tuesday. O’Hare, a Republican, sought approval for a five-month, up to $5,000 contract with Noah Betz, the executive director of the Huffines Liberty Foundation and a political strategist, according to his LinkedIn page.

Some public commenters at the commissioners court meeting Tuesday accused O’Hare of using county money to hire a political strategist, which O'Hare called nonsense. "We have no intent whatsoever to use this for political purposes," O'Hare said.

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April 16, 2024      11:30 AM

US Senate Democrats lay out plan for $79 million campaign to hold majority including spending against Cruz

From Politico:

Senate Democrats’ campaign arm is launching a $79 million advertising plan that’s aimed at holding onto the majority this fall — alongside spending by a key party super PAC and individual candidates — according to details first shared with POLITICO.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s spending blueprint includes TV, radio and digital advertising in nine states and comes on the heels of a $239 million spending plan from the super PAC, Senate Majority. Together the two entities will pour in more than $300 million in a bid to preserve the party’s 51-seat majority, which is up for grabs this fall with tough Senate races across the map.

The DSCC is also planning seven-figure digital advertisements in Montana, Wisconsin, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan as well as against its top two GOP targets: Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rick Scott of Florida.

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