Patterson: Bush shouldn’t have accepted campaign money from contractor


Highlights

Horne LLP was awarded a $13.5 million contract by the Texas General Land Office on Oct. 30.

Three days later, Horne executives donated $27,500 to Land Commissioner George P. Bush’s re-election campaign.

Jerry Patterson, Bush’s opponent in the GOP primary, said the donation doesn’t look good.

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush shouldn’t have accepted $27,500 in campaign contributions from executives with a company that landed a big contract with the agency that Bush runs, according to his Republican primary rival Jerry Patterson.

“If I were in his position, I wouldn’t have accepted $30,000 three days after the contract was signed,” Patterson, the former land commissioner, said Monday.

The Texas Tribune first revealed that the General Land Office awarded Horne LLP a $13.47 million contract Oct. 30 to help with Harvey recovery efforts and that three days later Bush’s re-election campaign reported receiving $27,500 from Horne executives, including $1,000 from Jonathan Krebs, the Horne partner who signed the contract.

It’s legal for employees of state government contractors to donate to political campaigns, but ethics watchdogs said the timing of the donations gave the appearance of a thank-you.

FIRST READING: Knocked for a Lupe: Morning News, Chronicle, Houston GLBT Caucus snub Valdez for Andrew White

Ash Wright, Bush’s campaign political adviser, did not respond to the American-Statesman’s request for comment but told the Tribune that it was “fake news” to tie the donations to the contract.

Brittany Eck, General Land Office spokeswoman, said Bush had no involvement in choosing Horne, an accounting firm, as the vendor. Three senior land office officials who will work with the vendor had chosen Horne through a procurement process that Eck said followed federal standards. The vendor was chosen based on cost, experience and proposal of how duties would be carried out, she said.

“Commissioner Bush did not participate in the scoring process, nor did he sign the contract,” Eck said.

Patterson, who previously served three terms as land commissioner, said his latest campaign filing, due Monday, will show that he had about $100,000 in campaign contributions during the first three weeks of January.

Bush’s latest campaign filing hadn’t been posted by press time. As of Dec. 31, Bush had $3.4 million in his campaign coffers.

Patterson said his criticism of Bush has less to do with the campaign money Bush received from Horne executives and more to do with what he considers Bush’s poor handling of Hurricane Harvey relief. Patterson said in December that the land office under Bush’s watch had repaired only two homes, which PolitiFact Texas ruled Mostly True. However, the fact-checking news organization also said the Federal Emergency Management Agency shares some of the blame for the slow response and suggested additional homes were poised to qualify for or get repairs later.

Patterson has also criticized Bush’s oversight of a $450 million project to renovate the area surrounding the Alamo, which Bush has defended.

“It ain’t about the money. It’s about failure to perform,” Patterson said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

12 charged in high school basketball brawl
12 charged in high school basketball brawl

Twelve people, including students and adults, will be charged in connection with a fight at a Pennsylvania high school basketball game earlier this month, police said. They face disorderly conduct charges. Clairton police released details about the Feb. 6 brawl at Clairton High School between Clairton and Monessen. Police said it began as a fight between...
Cross-country team cleans up overflowing trash in elderly couple’s yard
Cross-country team cleans up overflowing trash in elderly couple’s yard

A high school cross-country team in upstate New York helped an elderly couple take out the trash Saturday -- lots of it. Ann and Robert Dobson live in the Rochester suburb of Greece. For more than six years, garbage from a nearby shopping plaza has blown onto the Dobsons’ front yard, Rochester First reported "Last summer when I cleaned...
UPDATE: I-35 reopens following fatality; officer hit and injured
UPDATE: I-35 reopens following fatality; officer hit and injured

Update 1:15 p.m.: Interstate 35 has been reopened to traffic, according to Round Rock police officials. Update 12 p.m.: Interstate 35 should be open within the next hour or two following the two accidents, according to Round Rock police officials. 9:15 a.m.: A Round Rock police officer was struck and seriously injured around 6:40 a.m. Sunday while...
College student discovers true paternity in science class
College student discovers true paternity in science class

One woman got a whole lot more than she paid for in a college science class when she uncovered a nasty family secret. The unnamed student discovered that her father — the man who had raised her since she was a child and who she called “dad” for her entire life — wasn’t really her father. He was her uncle. And the...
WEATHER: A chance of showers for Austin area, storms move east
WEATHER: A chance of showers for Austin area, storms move east

Update 12:30 p.m.: A 40 percent chance of rain lingers over the Austin area, but the thunderstorms have pressed eastward, National Weather Service meteorologist Cory Panpelt said. “We had some that went through Williamson County, but it’s moved out,” Panpelt said. “It’s all east of (Interstate) 35, going up through Bastrop...
More Stories