Skip to comments.Is a Scandal Brewing in the Race for Governor? [Texas: Strayhorn's office corrupt?]
Posted on 09/09/2005 12:50:39 PM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative
This week, as Texas Comptroller and gubernatorial candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn turned up the heat on Governor Rick Perry, it would appear that she has found herself in some hot water as well. Following a scathing swath of Strayhorn radio commercials about Governor Perry, the Texas State Auditors Office released a rather scathing report of its own about Strayhorn.
Despite the agencys perfunctory statement that they are not implying any wrongdoing on the part of any individual or group associated with the information in this report, political hounds from Beaumont to El Paso admit it smells like a scandaland Strayhorns foot is right in the middle of it.
The report, which dances around the edges of actually accusing the Comptrollers Office of impropriety, highlights a myriad tax settlements and administrative procedures, which have the appearance of having been exchanged for campaign contributions. The audit examined the appearance of preferential treatment given to taxpayers with related campaign contributions. Related campaign contributions include contributions made by the taxpayer themselves, their registered agent or officer, their registered lobbyist, their representative, or a political action committee sharing the taxpayers address.
Between January of 1999, when Strayhorn assumed her role as Comptroller of Public Accounts, and August of 2004, there were 3,656 tax settlements for 775 distinct taxpayers, that occurred within a year of a related contribution to Strayhorns campaign; the report also identified 19, 858 other settlements with related campaign contributions made more than a year before or after the settlement date.
Of the 3,656 entities that made campaign contributions within a year of their settlement, 146 (associated with 90 distinct taxpayers) received amended audits for which the amended assessment was at least $10,000 less than the original audit. In all, those 90 taxpayers received a combined total of $227 million in decreased audit assessments.
Related campaign contributions made by taxpayer representatives alone accounted for the addition of around $1.7 million into Strayhorns campaign coffers. Further investigation revealed that campaign contributions from the 19 selected taxpayer representatives had increased by 294 percent (from $137,650 in 1998 to $542, 737 in 2004) since Strayhorn took office. One representative alone contributed over $812,000 to Strayhorn during the six-year time frame in question.
In addition, the report identified 448 management halts (whereby the Comptrollers Office temporarily stops tax collection actions, issuance of tax overpayment notices or transfers of tax credits) that were granted to individuals who made contributions within one year of the management halt. Between 1999 and 2004, the reason for the management halts being listed as Administrative Request increased by more than twenty percent. In 1999, Administrative Request was the reason indicated for management halts in only five percent of the cases; between 2000 and 2004 Administrative Requests provided for 24 to 38 percent of management halts.
The report was also critical of the Comptrollers Office for their poor documentation of why management halts were granted; in their review of 68 randomly selected management halts, the Auditors office could determine the reasons behind only 43 of the cases. Additional criticism came when the Auditors Office discovered that 11,699 management halts put into effect between 1998 and 2004 had not yet been concludedmeaning collection action on those cases remains at a standstill.
As a result of the audit, the State Auditors Office has suggested that the legislature take corrective action that would prohibit campaign contributions to candidates for the position of Comptroller of Public Accounts from any individual or entity representing taxpayers before the Office of the Comptroller of Public Accounts. In addition, the Auditors Office recommends that the Texas Ethics Commission create a new class of registrant for taxpayer representatives, and maintain a registry identifying all taxpayer representatives associated with each tax settlement and taxpayer.
The State Auditors Office also recommends that the legislature transfer the authority to conduct tax dispute hearings from the comptrollers Office to the State Office of Administrative Hearings or another independent entity. By doing so, the appearance of objectiveness and impartiality in the tax dispute hearing process would be preserved.
While the Texas Legislature will inevitably take up the issues presented by the State Auditors Office, a potential Strayhorn scandal presents a much more imminent and interesting impact on Texas politics; Strayhorns campaign is characterizing the audit as a political witch hunt aimed at derailing her political aspirations, whereas Perrys campaign has seized this opportunity to attack Strayhorns character and integrity.
Listening to the political rhetoric already perforating Texas airwaves, it is difficult to remember that the Primary Election is still six months away. As the action heats up, the Texas Insider will continue to carry breaking news and developments in political campaigns across the state. Beginning next week, the Insiders Election Watch Fact Check Wizard will check up on the truthfulness and accuracy of some of the more controversial political ads out there
beginning with Strayhorns current radio ad.
I don't suppose there's a link to the list of the 775 taxpayers?
Okay - what do these numbers mean? Without any comparison figures, which the article does not give, they are meaningless. And by comparison figures I mean, over the same time period, how many tax settlements were there where there was no campaign contribution? I'd think one thing if it was 500. I'd think something else if it was 500,000.
You could start with a list of demoncrat donors.
Strayhorn is a loon
Now it appears she's a crooked loon
Who'da thunkit? A corrupt politician in Texas?
In Louisiana being corrupt is a prerequisite for holding office.
Texas has had some doozies, too.
True, one LBJ immediately comes to mind.
Outstanding example :-).
She's a crooked RINO and I'll everything I can to ensure her defeat and permanent retirement.
Exactly. Perry is not perfect, but he is the best that is available.
Strayhorn is no better than KBH in my book.
The real race will be Perry v. Kinky.
"Strayhorn is no better than KBH in my book."
Actually Strayhorn isn't fit to carry KBH's ..umm.. purse.
I only give Kinky about a 20% chance of qualifying for the ballot.
"She's a crooked RINO and I'll everything I can to ensure her defeat and permanent retirement."
I agree 1,000% and I will do the same. She is a liberal democrat running as a republican.
The real race will be Perry v. Kinky.
Yuo may be right there. I would hate to think we would elect Kinky.. but college kids love him. He is a total idiot.
In order to qualify for the ballot, he has to get over 45,000 valid signatures from registered voters who did not vote in the primary election in about a 30 day window. It's not an easy task.
Strayhorn is mother to our whitehouse press secretary, Scott McClellan.
"Strayhorn is mother to our whitehouse press secretary, Scott McClellan."
Carole Keeton Rylander Strayhorn has ALWAYS irritated me, for some reason. And I felt bad disliking her just because she has an idiot for a son (WHY Bush keeps him is beyond me!). At least now I have ANOTHER reason to dislike her. And BTW, where does the McClellan come in her lengthy series of last names?
I knew that. It falls into thtat strange litle world of Political Patronage. I am neutral on her son, but I have seen enough of her in action to know I don't want her in charges of anything
Those are our two choices? Great...NOT!
Come on there has to be a good conservative Republican somewhere in Texas ;)
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