Federal Politics

Published — July 24, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Daily Disclosure: Texas Senate race gets uglier and uglier

Super PAC runs ad linking Cruz to criminal

Introduction

The battle between two Republicans for the open U.S. Senate seat in Texas is becoming increasingly ugly with super PACs doing much of the dirty work.

The Texas Conservatives Fund, a super PAC supporting Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, is running an ad that features a mother whose son committed suicide after a stay at a for-profit juvenile detention facility, the developer of which Cruz, Dewhurst’s opponent, defended in court.

The ad, released Monday, is called “Ted Cruz Should Be Ashamed.”

Dewhurst and tea party-favorite Cruz, the state’s former solicitor general, face off again on July 31 since neither candidate was able to win a majority in last May’s primary.

The new ad refers to Cruz’s legal representation of Robert Mericle, a developer involved in the “kids for cash” scandal in Pennsylvania in 2008. Two judges were accused of accepting bribes from Mericle to send children to his facilities.

Mericle pled guilty to concealing evidence of a felony, according to news reports.

By linking Cruz, a high-profile appellate lawyer, to Mericle, the ad is somewhat misleading. According to both Cruz’s campaign website and news reports, Cruz represented Mericle in a civil suit over breach of contract with an insurance company, which was refusing to pay to help settle civil claims resulting from the scandal, the Texas Tribune reported.

Cruz was not involved in the criminal case against Mericle.

The kids-for-cash scandal has nonetheless become a flashpoint in the runoff election.

No Principles,” an ad from the Texas Conservatives Fund released July 17, also makes use of the Cruz-Mericle connection. One day later, Dewhurst’s campaign released “Cash for Cruz,” a radio ad repeating the claims. Dewhurst’s campaign has aired several other ads along the same lines.

The Texas Conservatives Fund is bankrolled by a handful of big donors. Harold Simmons, the CEO of Contran Corp. and one of the biggest donors to super PACs in the country, has given $1 million to the group. Bob Perry, a Texas homebuilder and also a top super PAC donor, has given $400,000, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

To date, the super PAC has reported spending $3.7 million opposing Cruz and is the primary outside spender supporting Dewhurst’s run.

Countering the pro-Dewhurst super PAC are super PACs the Senate Conservatives Fund, Club for Growth Action and FreedomWorks for America, which have spent a combined $5.6 million opposing Dewhurst and supporting Cruz, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

In other outside spending news:

  • Conservative nonprofit Crossroads GPS released “Suffered” Monday, an ad opposing President Barack Obama. Its sister super PAC American Crossroads reported Monday spending nearly $594,000 on web ads opposing Obama.
  • Another conservative nonprofit, American Commitment, began airing radio ads in Iowa, Missouri and Oklahoma opposing the farm bill being debated in Congress and Reps. Steve King, R-Iowa, Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., on the Agriculture Committee who supported it. The ad buy cost $75,000 according to a press release.
  • House Majority PAC, a pro-House Democrats super PAC along, with unions SEIU and AFSCME produced “Independence,” an ad supporting Christie Vilsack’s run for Democratic congresswoman from Iowa’s 4th District. Vilsack is a literacy advocate and former first lady of Iowa.
  • Majority PAC, a pro-Senate Democrat super PAC, and Patriot Majority USA, a pro-Democrat super PAC, released three new ads: “Street Signs,” opposing GOP senatorial candidates Eric Hovde and Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin; “Trusted, opposing Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., who’s running for Senate; and “Big Spender” opposing former Virginia GOP Sen. George Allen’s run for Senate.
  • Super PAC Prosperity for Michigan dropped more than $288,000 on TV ads, management and strategy on July 21, FEC filings Monday show. The super PAC’s spending goes to support Republican Clark Durant’s run for U.S. Senate in Michigan. Durant is the co-founder of a group of charter and independent schools in inner-city Detroit.
  • Americans for Prosperity Virginia, a tea-party aligned nonprofit, released “The Power of the Purse,” on Monday. The short video, aimed at women voters, talks about the burden of taxes on food, gas and homes, as well as regulatory threats coal plants face.
  • Club for Growth Action began airing “File,” an ad attacking Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz. The ad tells voters, “It’s time to close the file on Paul Gosar.”
  • The Republican National Committee debuted “These Aren’t Gaffes,” an anti-Obama ad. It is unclear where these ads are airing.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.