Posts Tagged ‘David Dewhurst’

Dewhurst Settles Lawsuit Against Michael Looney

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Former Lt. Governor David Dewhurst has settled his lawsuit against Houston oilman Michael Looney, who evidently received money embezzled by Dewhurst campaign adviser Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield:

Former Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the once powerful Republican who was bilked by an adviser for at least $2.8 million, has settled a lawsuit against a Houston oilman who used a chunk of the stolen money to invest in a new business.

The out-of-court settlement ends years of litigation by the three-term ex-lieutenant governor aimed at recouping funds embezzled from two campaign accounts by former adviser Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield, a Dewhurst spokesman said.

Once a trusted consultant to one of Texas’ wealthiest politicians, Barfield was sentenced in February to more than seven years in federal prison for orchestrating a complex money funneling scheme in which he falsified records, bank statements, invoices and campaign finance reports.

Dewhurst filed a civil lawsuit against Barfield in 2013 to get some of the money back. That lawsuit was settled when Barfield signed over his multi-million dollar West Austin home as part of the agreement.

However, Dewhurst’s lawyers also set their sights on Houston businessman Michael Looney, who partnered with Barfield and, according to court documents, received “several hundred thousand dollars” of stolen Dewhurst money.

The funds, according to the lawsuit, were used to start a new oil and gas business co-owned by Looney and Barfield that would make use of valuable seismic data under license from ExxonMobil.

Dewhurst’s lawsuit was asking for an award of one-half interest in the seismic data and the new company. The exact value of the data was not released, but Looney’s lawyers said in a filing that Barfield “stood to make millions and millions of dollars” if the deal went through.

The terms of the lawsuit settlement were not disclosed.


Kroll Report Vindicates Wallace Hall (Yet Again)

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Every time new revelations come to light about the UT Admissions Scandal, they’ve always proven that UT regent Wallace Hall was right to launch his investigation, and that his critics were wrong to attempt to bury it (and him). The latest revelations are no exception:

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers used his authority to get “must have” applicants admitted to the state’s flagship school and misled internal lawyers looking into influence peddling in the admissions process in both the undergraduate college and UT’s top-ranked law school, an independent investigation obtained by The Dallas Morning News has found.

The wide-ranging investigation ordered by former Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa found that Powers overruled his admissions office and exercised broad control when it came to favored applicants – some of whom had the recommendation of powerful people in this state.

That report is the Kroll Report. What they found was what Wallace Hall alleged: That there was one admissions process for ordinary applicants, and another for the well-connected. “Applicants with special connections had a 72% acceptance rate compared to 40% overall.”

Let’s look at some details of the process from the Kroll report summary:

Review of Undergraduate Admissions Process

  • When an inquiry or recommendation concerning a candidate for admission is forwarded to the President’s Office from a “friend of the university” or other “person of influence” – which may include a public official, a member of the Board of Regents or UT-System official, an important alumnus or alumna, a major donor, a faculty member or other UT-Austin official – a long-standing practice has been to place a “hold” on that candidate’s application. The purpose of a hold is to indicate that a negative decision may not become final until the party which placed the hold is notified.
  • Since 2009, certain hold designations have been entered on UT-Austin’s mainframe computer with the designation of “Q,” “L,” or “B.” A designation of “Q hold” indicates the application is being monitored by the President’s Office. An “L hold” indicates that the application is of interest to one of the college Deans. When both the President’s Office and a college Dean request a hold, the file is designated as a “B hold” applicant. (Several other types of holds exist for a variety of reasons; however, as explained later in this report, the only holds within the scope of Kroll’s investigation, and thus of interest for purposes of this report, are Q, L, and B holds.)
  • Due in part to the increased competitiveness of undergraduate admissions at UT-Austin, and in part because recordkeeping is now computerized, Q-hold volumes have escalated considerably 13 over the past several years. Under President Powers, Q holds have totaled as many as 300 applicants of interest per year. The majority of holds appear to be based on requests from Texas legislators and members of the Board of Regents, while others are instigated by requests from the Chancellor’s Office, donors and alumni.
  • The existence of holds combined with end-of-cycle meetings between the Admissions Office and the President’s Office, during which final decisions are made on all hold candidates not already admitted, has caused increasing levels of tension between the Admissions Office and the President’s Office. In recent years, President Powers, acting through his Chief of Staff, has at times made holistic determinations that differed from that of the Admissions Office. Consequently, it appears that a select handful of applicants each year are admitted over the objection of the Admissions Office. The President’s Office has acknowledged to Kroll that this has occurred, but insists that decisions are always made with the “best interests of the university” in mind.
  • Based on our investigation, there is no evidence that any applicants have been admitted as a result of a quid pro quo or other inappropriate promise or exchange. There also is no evidence that efforts were made to “save spots” for certain applicants or that a dual system of admissions has been informally established. However, it is acknowledged that additional acceptances are sent out each year to accommodate special cases. With certain “must have” applicants, the President’s Office ordered applicants admitted over the objection of the Admissions Office.
  • Because written records or notes of meetings and discussions between the President’s Office and Admissions are not maintained and are typically shredded, it is not known in particular cases why some applicants with sub-par academic credentials were placed on a hold list and eventually admitted. Rarely was it discussed why particular applicants needed to be admitted, or what, if any, connections the applicants had with persons of influence. But President Powers acknowledged to Kroll that “relational factors” do occasionally play an important role in determinations to admit some applicants who might not have otherwise been admitted.
  • Over a six-year period, applicants on whom a hold of any type was placed were admitted 72% of the time, compared to an overall admission rate of approximately 40%. Texas residents accounted for 82% of all applicants placed on a hold list. Email correspondence reviewed by Kroll further confirmed that a relationship with university officials has on occasion provided applicants a competitive boost in the admissions process.
  • The total number of arguably less-qualified applicants who have benefitted from the hold system and the President’s oversight of the hold candidates appears to be relatively small. Indeed, from 2009 to 2014, Kroll identified a total of only 73 enrolled applicants who were admitted with both a combined SAT score of less than 1100 and a high school GPA of less than 2.9. Kroll’s review of the available “outlier” files found that political connections may have influenced the admission decision in a small number of cases, while other cases suggested the possibility of alumni/legacy influence despite the prohibition under Texas law against legacy admissions. Several other cases, however, suggested a demonstrated commitment to ethnic and racial diversity and the consideration of other appropriate criteria.
  • While it is often not clear why a particular applicant was placed on hold or received special consideration, the President’s Office acknowledged to Kroll that legislative letters and calls are typically accorded more weight than other letters and calls because legislative oversight impacts the university.
  • In short, while it is impossible to conclude with absolute certainty from a review of the data and selected files alone that any one particular applicant benefitted from undue influence or pressure exerted on the admissions process, it is readily apparent that certain applicants are admitted at the instigation of the President over the assessment of the Admissions Office. The end-of-cycle meeting between the President’s Office and Admissions Office results each year in certain applicants receiving a competitive boost or special consideration in the admissions process. The data reviewed by Kroll confirms what President Powers and others have acknowledged, that relationships matter and are the deciding factor in admissions decisions for a select handful of applicants each year.
  • Although the practice of holds and exercise of presidential discretion over Admissions may not violate any existing law, rule, or policy, it is an aspect of the admissions process that does not appear in UT-Austin’s public representations.
  • Several other important constituents are at least partially complicit for this ad-hoc system of special admissions. For example, the Board of Regents sends approximately 50 to 70 names of applicants to the President’s Office each year. Similarly, many names are placed on a hold list as a result of requests from the Chancellor’s Office, the UT-System Office of Government Relations, major donors and alumni. In most years, there are certain legislators and Regents whose names are noted more than others. It would appear that these other bodies send inquiries concerning student applicants to the President’s Office with the expectation that such applicants be closely monitored by that office.
  • Kroll notes that the existence of holds and watch lists, and the end-of-cycle meetings between the President’s Office and the Admissions Office, were not disclosed or specifically addressed by President Powers and his Chief of Staff during an internal Admissions Inquiry previously conducted by the UT-System. Although President Powers and his Chief of Staff appear to have answered the specific questions asked of them with technical precision, it appears that by their material omissions they misled the inquiry. At minimum, each failed to speak with the candor and forthrightness expected of people in their respective positions of trust and leadership.
  • Review of Law School Admissions Process

  • By design and practice, UT Law School also utilizes a holistic admissions process. Although the law school requires no minimum LSAT score and only a 2.2 undergraduate GPA from an accredited institution, it is apparent that GPA and LSAT scores play a prominent role in admissions decisions. This fact, which is true of virtually all nationally ranked law schools, is driven in large part by the importance of GPA and LSAT in the perceived competitiveness of the law school and how it affects national rankings.
  • Unlike many law schools, UT Law School does not rely on an Admissions Committee to review application files or to render individual admissions decisions. Instead, almost all individual admissions decisions are made by either the Assistant Dean for Admission and Financial Aid or by the Director of Admission Programs. Consequently, although Kroll found that the professionals in these positions perform their jobs with expertise and integrity, the system as designed insufficiently prevents final admissions decisions from potentially being influenced by external factors, including informal discussions with the Dean after receiving letters, phone calls or contacts from persons of influence. For example, members of the Texas legislature and other persons of influence frequently call or write in support of particular law school candidates outside of normal application procedures, and the Dean’s Office receives numerous calls from legislators urging the admission of certain applicants.
  • Kroll found no evidence that the Dean or others at the law school acted improperly or in any way compromised the integrity of the admissions process. Nevertheless, the system as designed presents these well-intentioned professionals with potentially difficult balancing acts and ethical quandaries.  When the Dean’s Office receives information about a law school applicant from a trusted source, the recent practice has been for the Dean to informally review the applicant’s credentials and determine whether a case for admission is plausible. If so, the Dean discusses the matter with the Assistant Dean for Admission and Financial Aid. As long as a final decision has not been made and communicated to the applicant, the Dean feels free to discuss any information received about an applicant with the Assistant Dean. In some instances, the resulting discussions have changed the mind of the Assistant Dean regarding a candidate for admission.
  • The President of UT-Austin also receives calls and letters from persons of influence concerning law school applicants. When this occurs, the President’s Office advises the law school (usually the Dean) of these interests. From 2006 to 2012, former Dean Larry Sager received 10 to 20 calls a year from Nancy Brazzil about President Powers’ interest in certain law school applicants. Brazzil made clear she spoke for the President’s Office. Sager acknowledged that the intensity of Brazzil’s interest in a candidate may “have on occasion swayed my decision.”
  • There’s a good bit more, but those are some of the highlights.

    Indeed, Cigarroa admitted that “Fairness has at times been compromised in the admission of students into the University of Texas at Austin.”

    Over at, Jon Cassidy puts the total admissions number of unqualified applicants as in the thousands.

    He’s not the only one who thinks it’s a big deal. Over at The Dallas Observer, Jim Schutze says “To every single applicant who ever got turned down by UT, I say this: Your wildest most paranoid imagining of why you got screwed and how they really do admissions at UT was nowhere near wild or paranoid enough. We’re talking about admissions meetings where university officials shred all their notes before leaving the room.” He also notes, yet again, what a horrific whitewash job UT’s own internal investigation was.

    Also this: “Kroll looked at a sample of 73 smelly admissions files tied to legislators. In that sample, four affluent high schools in Texas accounted for 45 percent of the sample. Among the four, Highland Park High School was way out ahead at No. 1 with a third of all the dicey admissions in the whole sample.”

    Well, who could possibly object to rich, well-connected kids getting to cut into the admissions line ahead of mere commoners?

    While UT defenders are quick to assert that “no criminal activity occurred,” Cassidy believes that the blatant favoritism for legacy admissions may have violated the state education code, which states “the university must continue its practice of not considering an applicant’s legacy status as a factor in the university’s decisions relating to admissions for that academic year.”

    The Dallas Morning News piece notes:

    Many of Powers’ current problems can be traced to the work of UT Regent Wallace Hall, a man who has been pilloried for personally examining the admissions process.

    The Kroll report appears to vindicate Hall’s work and add weight to his concerns that political and financial influence dictated some admissions decisions.

    Hall’s inquiries into the admissions process led to him being targeted by state legislators, including House Speaker Joe Straus and former Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

    Dewhurst was forcibly retired by Dan Patrick. Straus, have course, has been one of Hall’s staunchest foes, and shows every sign of desiring to continue UT’s culture of admissions favors for the well-connected indefinitely…

    Buddy Barfield Pleads Guilty

    Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

    Remember Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield, the political consultant who was accused of embezzling over $2 million from David Dewhurst campaign funds? When last we checked, he had sold his house to settle a civil lawsuit from Dewhurst.

    Well, Barfield just plead guilty to embezzling $1.8 million from various David Dewhurst campaigns.

    “While working on behalf of the David Dewhurst Campaign and Dewhurst for Texas, Barfield knowingly and intentionally engaged in a scheme to defraud the entities of campaign dollars for his own benefit,” a plea agreement signed by Barfield stated.

    “Barfield used the stolen funds to pay for expenses such as his home mortgage, school tuition for his children, personal investments and other living expenses.”

    Dewhurst campaign officials said Barfield concealed his theft from the campaign accounts by falsifying bank deposit slips, vendor invoices and finance reports to make it appear that the accounts had far more cash on hand than they actually contained.

    In the meantime, Barfield and his side businesses, such as Alexander Group Consulting, were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for services that were never performed.

    As I noted in the original story, the embezzlement was a symptom of disorder in the Dewhurst campaign, not its cause. It also shows why it’s a good idea for any political campaign with funds of $1 million to have outside auditing…

    Patrick, Paxton, Sitton Win, Miller Leading

    Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

    According to the latest results.

    Both Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton were hovering around 64-65% of the vote, which is pretty decisive.

    Ryan Sitton is currently winning with 58% to Wayne Christian’s 42% for Railroad Commissioner. That’s a mild surprise to me, but down ballot races are harder to predict, and I did notice a late direct mail push from Sitton.

    Sid Miller is currently leading Tommy Merritt 54-46% for Agriculture Commissioner, but they haven’t called the race yet.

    On the Democrat’s side, David Alameel beat Larouchite Keisha Rogers fairly handily, 72% to 28%, for the chance to be slaughtered by John Cornyn in the Senate race. And Kinky Friedman appears to have lost to non-campaigning candidate Jim Hogan 55%-45% for Agriculture Commissioner. As to why, maybe Texas Democrats hate one or more of: Marijuana, Jews, country music singers, mystery writers, guys who smoke cigars, or guys named Kinky. Or they still hate him for running as an independent in 2006. Or they like guys with nice Anglo names. Take your pick.

    More tomorrow (maybe).

    Final Statewide Race Runoff Update

    Monday, May 26th, 2014

    Tomorrow is the Texas primary runoff, so now would be a good time to find your voting card and confirm your polling place.

    A final roundup of runoff tidbits:

  • The Dallas Morning News says that Dan Patrick is poised to win due to his staunch opposition to illegal immigration. Oversimplified, but not entirely wrong. They also say Patrick has done a good job connecting with Ted Cruz supporters.
  • The end for Dewhurst draws nigh.
  • Dan Branch would have raised more money for the Attorney General race than Ken Paxton…were it not for the $1 million loan from Midland oilman Tim Dunn via Empower Texans PAC. Now you see why so many liberal reporters call Michael Quinn Sullivan the most powerful figure in Texas politics.
  • Talk show host Dana Loesch endorses Paxton. Less a move-the-needle endorsement than a reminder that conservatives are united on Paxton’s side.
  • Hey, that union Branch lobbied for totally wasn’t a member of the AFL-CIO…at least when he lobbied for it.
  • Governor Rick Perry took the unusual step of endorsing Sid Miller for Agriculture Commissioner over Tommy Merritt.
  • Some controversy over Miller’s campaign loan repayments.
  • On the Democrat side of the Ag Commissioner runoff, Kinky Friedman is running against an invisible opponent. “In the May 27 runoff the choice for the party’s faithful is either Friedman or Jim Hogan, a former dairy farmer who hasn’t campaigned for the office or even has a campaign website…Hogan could not be reached for comment because a phone number listed under his name was out of service and the Democratic Party of Texas did not respond to a request for other contact information.” Also, win or lose, Kinky said this is his last race.
  • Hogan seems to be taking a very Zen approach to campaigning.
  • One website has tried to fill the Jim Hogan void.
  • Here’s a Texas Tribune piece on the runoff between rich guy David Alameel and Larouchite Kesha Rogers for the Democratic Senate nomination. Fun as it would be to see Rogers upset Alameel, I don’t see it in the cards.
  • Finally, just in case you were unclear, Texas Monthly‘s Paul Burka is very upset that Republican primary voters continue to prefer actual Republicans over Republicans who act like Democrats once in office.
  • Here is who I will be voting for tomorrow (all of whom I expect to win):

  • Dan Patrick for Lt. Governor
  • Ken Paxton for Attorney General
  • Sid Miller for Agriculture Commissioner
  • Wayne Christian for Railroad Commissioner
  • More Signs of “Dewhurst Disgust”

    Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

    More fallout from Jerry Patterson’s release of Dan Patrick’s mental health information from the 1980s to aid David Dewhurst.

    David Jennings of Big Jolly Politics, who was notable for being perhaps the only conservative blogger in Texas to back David Dewhurst over Ted Cruz in 2012, has declared that “the despicable attacks on Sen. Dan Patrick make me sick.”

    I’m sickened by the type of attacks that the guy I support, David Dewhurst, has put out in the last two months. The worst possible thing he could have done was take on Jerry Patterson and let him have control of his campaign, which is why I coined the term “Dewtterson”…. You don’t have to support Dan or vote for him to know that what the Dewtterson campaign, along with one compliant media outlet, has done to Dan is just plain wrong.

    (Hat tip: Push Junction.)

    The Dallas Morning News, also not Dan Patrick fans, have said that Patterson and Dewhurst say the latest developments “scrape moral bottom.”

    The Houston Chronicle joins in: “Dewhurst should be ashamed. This pathetic attempt at attacking a political opponent scrapes the bottom of the barrel.”

    Lynn Woolery is moderating a Dewhurst/Patrick debate in Salado tonight, and has a list of questions that (thankfully) focus entirely on current events, rather than things that happened in the 1980s.

    In other Lt. Governor’s race news:

  • Patrick announced he’s raised $4 million between February 23 and last week. Patrick also spent “$3.75 million on statewide media advertising and says he has $400,000 in cash remaining before the May 27 runoff.”
  • Missed this earlier: Ron Paul endorses David Dewhurst. Unlike other recent Dewhurst endorsements, that one might actually give him a point or two, or at least prompt another look from the Paul faithful.
  • Ugly Campaign Against Dan Patrick Gets Uglier

    Monday, May 19th, 2014

    Someone should contact the David Dewhurst campaign and inform them the the calendar doesn’t read 1989 anymore.

    There’s been yet another attack on Dan Patrick dating (like all Dewhurst’s attacks) from the golden age of hair metal. After Jerry Patterson endorsed David Dewhurst, he released documentation to reporters indicating Patrick sought hospitalization for depression.

    It’s impossible for an outsider to determine whether Patterson released the records on his own against Dewhurst’s wishes or whether Dewhurst is using the time-honored method of using surrogates to do his dirty work. However, the revelations obviously fit into the overall Team Dewhurst “stuck in the 1980s” attack strategy.

    So ham-handed and irrelevant are these latest attacks on Patrick that even people who aren’t wild about him are turned off by the tactics. “If anything, David Dew­hurst is only ensuring that Dan Patrick will win by a larger margin than he might have otherwise.”

    Even before the mental health revelations, Evan of Perry vs. World said that David Dewhurst did not deserve re-election This is significant in that he has been very critical of Dan Patrick throughout the campaign.

    In some future political science class, Dewhurst’s 2012 campaign against Ted Cruz and 2014 campaign against Dan Patrick are going to be dissected as outstanding examples of how not do negative advertising…

    Texas House Transparency Committee Votes in Secret to Impeach Wallace Hall

    Monday, May 12th, 2014

    The Texas House Transparency Committee voted to impeach University of Texas regent Wallace Hall.

    Hall’s case will go to the full Texas House of Representatives. If a majority of the members of the House approve of the case’s merits, it will go to the Senate, where members will convene as a court to make a final decision. If the Senate concurs with the committee’s recommendation, Hall will be the first non-elected official to be impeached in Texas history.

    His crime? “Hall’s unreasonable and burdensome requests from records and information from UT Austin violated, and continue to violate, the Texas Education Code, the Texas Penal Code, the Board of Regents Rules and Regulations, and the best interests of the [UT System].”

    Translation: Hall found evidence of our sacred system of kickbacks and cronyism, and we’ll never forgive him for that.

    The Wall Street Journal: Hall “asked uncomfortable questions about lawmakers getting special favors at the state-funded school and has become a political target…Hall’s real offense has been to expose a cozy and possibly corrupt relationship between politicians and the university.”

    Michael Quinn Sullivan:

    That targeting, of course, has been handled by Speaker Joe Straus’ falsely named “transparency” committee co-chaired by Dan Flynn and Carol Alvarado. The committee has operated like a witch hunt, denying UT Regent Wallace Hall the ability to defend himself while impeaching his character.

    Recent revelations that the committee’s “report” (created by an outside counsel chummy with the corrupt university administration) contained out-right lies should be enough to cause lawmakers to impeach not Wallace Hall but the members of the committee!

    As Tony McDonald wrote several days agoo, Dan Flynn is trying to weasel out of his responsibility for the cover-up only after his committee’s work product was shown to be a fraud.

    Sullivan also fingers the politicians most responsible for the with hunt as David Dewhurst, Dan Branch and Joe Straus.

    TPPF’s Tom Lindsay:

    For exercising his right and duty to request information of one of the universities he is entrusted with overseeing, Wallace Hall now faces impeachment and possibly jail. The biggest losers in all this are Texas college students, their parents, and taxpayers. This vote is a powerful deterrent to future efforts to ensure transparency in government, and therefore directly contrary to the best interest of our public higher-education system.”

    The cockroaches and worms hate it when you pick up the rock they’re hiding under…

    Adventures in Painful Advertising: David Dewhurst Edition

    Thursday, May 8th, 2014

    Ah, Team Dewhurst: Find an issue no one cares about, then run it into the ground. Their latest attack ad (or attack viral video) doubles down on all the unsuccessful attacks in his previous ads.

    “Hey, let’s take a popular Disney song and ruin it! That will get people to vote for us!” Buzzfeed wonders if it’s the worst political attack ad of all time.

    Dan Patrick has been a state senator since 2007. If Team Dewhurst has made an ad actually attacking that record, rather than Patrick’s business dealings in the 1980s, I haven’t seen it.

    It’s like no one on the Dewhurst team actually understood why the Cruz team flash ads were so effective in the 2012 race. Hint: They made you chuckle rather than cringe.

    I can’t think of another campaign team that spends so much time and money on ineffective attack ads as Team Dewhurst. It’s becoming more and more obvious that Buddy Barfield wasn’t the biggest problem with Dewhurst’s 2012 campaign…

    A Look at the Dewhurst/Patrick Runoff

    Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

    With so much Obama Administration scandal, sleaze and general fail, I haven’t devoted as much time to the statwide primary runoffs as they deserve. The Lt. Governor’s race in particular offers up the interesting dynamic of well-funded incumbent David Dewhurst getting trounced in the primary by state senator Dan Patrick. So here’s an update on the latest race news, which is lamentably heavy on who did what while owning a Houston business in the 1980s.

    The two debated:

    There has also been a lot of back and forth on two Dewhurst attack ads against Patrick:

    There’s the little problem of Dewhurst accusing Patrick of having changed his name to “hide from debts.” In fact, Patrick had used the name Dan Patrick as a his working name since 1978, discharged all his debt in bankruptcy filings in 1987, and legally changed his name from Dannie Gobe to Dan Patrick in 2003. This is a case where the Dewhurst campaign connected two dots that simply weren’t connected for the sake of an attack ad. No wonder the claim got rated “Pants on Fire.” (On the other hand, Politifact also dings Patrick for suggesting they rated the entire ad as untrue, rather than just that one part of it.)

    Politico also noted that Patrick discharged the payroll taxes debt in 1989. (Consider this your periodic reminder that Politico is considerably more trustworthy when the issue in question features no favored Democrats to protect…) Here are Patrick’s responses to the charges, where he also touches on tax problems Dewhurst’s companies had in the 1980s as well, and his own response ad:

    Speaking of that second Dewhurst ad, Dewhurst supporter David Jennings dings Dewhurst for shirtless picture of Dan Patrick taken at a charity event. In fact, all the unflattering photos in that ad strike me as more than a little bush league.

    As for the “hiring illegal aliens” charge Dewhurst has leveled:

  • Jerry Patterson tried using it in the primary, and it got him nowhere.
  • The idea that a restaurant or club owner in Houston might have hired illegal alien help shocks absolutely no one these days.
  • While if true, it does show a certain amount of hypocrisy on Patrick’s part, the charge is stale enough, and documentation of it so scanty, that I don’t see it being a successful line of attack for Dewhurst.
  • Dewhurst also spent an additional $600,000 on attack ads. It’s strange to see Dewhurst doubling down on the same tactic that backfired so badly in his race against Cruz. While there’s a bit more meat to the Patrick charges than the Cruz ads, I just don’t see the payoff putting so much money into attacks over business decisions Patrick made a quarter-century ago during the oil bust.

    Other race news:

  • Patterson endorses David Dewhurst. That’s a good pickup for Dewhurst (certainly a lot better than the Craig James endorsement in the 2012 Senate race), but I don’t think it moves the needle.
  • Dewhurst picks up the endorsements of Battleground Tea Party of Texas (who I don’t know much about, except they’re from the Clear Lake area) and the Pearland Tea Party.
  • 1980s Savings and Loan scandal figure W. Harold Sellers was involved in helping Patrick buy a radio station. Patrick says he didn’t know about Sellers loan issues, which were eventually settled.
  • I’d love to bring you news on this race that doesn’t revolve around business decisions in the 1980s, but I’m not seeing much…