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

Updated Feb 05, 2018
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush speaks on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts during the Texas Senate Finance Committee hearing at the Texas Capitol on Dec. 5. (Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)

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.

Patterson, former land commissioner who is running to get his job back, said he doesn’t care what Bush does with the money, but it’s not a good look that Bush had accepted the money in the first place.

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

First revealed by the Texas Tribune, the General Land Office had awarded Horne LLP a $13.47 million contract on Oct. 30 to help with Harvey recovery efforts. Three days later, Bush’s campaign reported receiving $27,500 from Horne executives, including $1,000 from Jonathan Krebs, the Horne partner who signed the contract.

A representative from Bush’s campaign has not immediately responded to the American-Statesman’s request for comment.

Ash Wright, political director for Bush’s campaign, told the Tribune that Bush had no role in selecting Horne as a contractor and that Horne executives’ donations were a small part of Bush’s $3.4 million contributions.

Patterson said his latest campaign filing, which is due Monday, will show that he had about $100,000 in campaign contributions by Jan. 25, the end of the reporting period.

He said his problem with Bush has less to do with the campaign money Bush received from Horne executives as what he considers Bush’s poor handling of hurricane relief. Patterson said in December that the land office under Bush’s watch had only repaired two homes, which Politifact Texas had ruled mostly true.

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