March 03, 2008

In politics today...

  • Larry Joe Doherty is apparently distributing campaign lit that doesn't have a union bug on it or 'Printed In House'.
  • Things are getting really nasty in the Thompson vs. Dukes race for HD 46...First, the ethics complaint filed by a Dukes crony against Thompson has been dismissed. And then there is the ridiculous little lawsuit filed by Dukes' family against Thompson regarding the CTRMA's employment of Dukes' sister immediately before Dukes voted, as part of CAMPO, to turn control of Central Texas toll roads over to CTRMA.

    Sal over at Muckracker has brought this up a number of times. So have I. Why she declined to sue us is unknown. I mean, it's not like Sal and I are poor.

  • Laura Morrison's having an open house at her campaign office on Thursday after all this primary bullshit is over...Thursday, March 6th; 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm; 632 B North Lamar
  • Dukes Desperately Tries to Stop Thompson's Momentum: Has Family File Bogus Defamation Claim for Ad Based on Austin American-Statesman Reporting

    Just a day after the Texas Ethics Commission summarily dismissed a bogus ethics complaint filed by a known Dukes supporter against Democrat Brian Thompson, the Dukes family has filed a lawsuit against Thompson for a campaign ad that contains facts that were first published by the Austin American-Statesman in 2004.

    The advertisement over which the lawsuit has been filed can be viewed here.

    "I welcome the chance to have my day in court," said Brian Thompson, Democratic candidate for HD 46. "Since defamation cases allow for an open and extensive discovery process, I look forward to exploring Rep. Dukes's and Stacy Dukes-Rhone's alleged contracts and associations with numerous governmental entities around Austin."

    The baseless lawsuit takes issue with a campaign advertisement that criticizes Rep. Dukes for voting to toll roads while hiding her sister's $44,000 toll road contract.

    "Rep. Dukes's vote for toll roads and her sister's toll-road contract were well-established by the news media in Austin prior to this campaign," said Thompson.

    According to the Austin American-Statesman, Rep. Dukes was "feeling the heat for voting to approve a project that financially benefits her sister, Stacy Rhone." (Source: "Questions about conflicts of interest on CAMPO board" Austin American-Statesman, published on September 23, 2004)

    With specific regard to whether a member of the Dukes family had a toll road contract, the Statesman makes a definitive and unambiguous statement:

    "As the American-Statesman's Ben Wear reported, Rhone holds a $44,000 contract with the general engineering company for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, which will run the toll roads approved by CAMPO. Though officials with the general engineering contractor, HNTB, said Rhone started her public relations work in February this year, she did not sign a contract with HNTB until July 7, about a week before Dukes voted to pass the toll road plan."

    (Source: "Questions about conflicts of interest on CAMPO board" Austin American-Statesman, published on September 23, 2004)

    The Statesman even called into question the suspicious timing of Dukes' sister's toll road contract: "The timing throws gasoline on a fire of suspicion about the toll roads." (Source: "Questions about conflicts of interest on CAMPO board" Austin American-Statesman, published on September 23, 2004)

    The Statesman took Dukes to task for refusing to disclose the fact that her sister had a toll road contract:


    "It is her [Stacy Dukes-Rhone's] relationship to Dukes .... that has caused people to criticize the circumstances under which she got a contract with HNTB. That could have been avoided if Dukes had disclosed those details herself."

    (Source: "Questions about conflicts of interest on CAMPO board" Austin American-Statesman, published on September 23, 2004)

    The Statesman offered two suggestions aimed directly at Rep. Dukes:

    "Members of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board should voluntarily and immediately disclose their potential conflicts of interest, and moreover, abstain from voting on matters that represent financial gain for themselves, business partners or family members."

    (Source: "Questions about conflicts of interest on CAMPO board" Austin American-Statesman, published on September 23, 2004)


    "In the meantime, CAMPO members should publicly disclose their potential conflicts of interest, including those that involve siblings."

    (Source: "Questions about conflicts of interest on CAMPO board" Austin American-Statesman, published on September 23, 2004)

    The facts are clear, and substantiate the ad.

    FACT: Rep. Dukes voted for toll roads.

    FACT: Rep. Dukes' sister had a $44,000 toll road contract.

    FACT: A sister is considered family.

    FACT: Rep. Dukes failed to disclose her sister's $44,000 toll road contract prior to voting for toll roads.

    FACT: Drivers all across Travis County are now paying tolls on toll roads that Rep. Dukes supported.

    In a previous version of the lawsuit that was leaked to the media before Thompson was actually served (which suggests that the true intent of the baseless lawsuit has more to do with trying to score political points than actually litigating a legitimate claim) the Dukes family attempted to sue Thompson for an ad that was not even his.

    According to a write-up on the Austin Chronicle web site, "The family of Rep. Dawnna Dukes seems to be trying to sue her primary opponent Brian Thompson for an attack ad he didn't have anything to do with."

    (Source: Austin Chronicle, "The Man Behind the Ad" available online here)

    The Chronicle confirms that the Thompson Campaign had nothing to do with the primary ad addressed in the leaked petition:


    "Now we've heard from the person who did create the ad: Sal Costello, the man behind the People for Efficient Transportation PAC (which runs AustinTollParty.com) and a perennial critic of Dukes, has weighed in. And yes, he confirms the ad the Dukes family quotes at great length in their complaint against Thompson is not a Thompson ad, but came from Costello's group, and is hosted on Costello's YouTube account. Isn't he worried that now he might get dragged into the legal battle? Not so much. "She's threatened to sue me personally, and it's always nonsense," said Costello."

    (Source: Austin Chronicle, "The Man Behind the Ad" available online here )

    For more information contact the campaign office at (512) 524-5682 or e-mail info@electbrianthompson.com

    Posted by mcblogger at March 3, 2008 12:14 AM

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