Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dan Branch's Backfiring Sleaze Campaign

"May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
And the tongue that speaks proud things,"
Psalm 12:3

Reaping what he has sown, there are two awful pieces out about Dan Branch this morning; first up, Breitbart Texas:


A Democratic trial lawyer has sent a letter to the SEC attacking Texas AG candidate State Senator Ken Paxton--one week before early voting begins. Rather than an accurate headline acknowledging a political hit job was in process and that there existed great political benefit to the person who sent the letter, a Texas media outlet began reporting the matter as though it was something of substance—not indicating that anyone can send a letter to the SEC at any time they choose.

The San Antonio Express News, widely known for its left-of-center spin on Texas matters, ran a headline that is at best close to the line of deception. They titled their article, “Paxton Draws Complaint with SEC.”

The clear implication is that the SEC has filed a complaint, when the truth is that Democratic trial lawyer John Sloan mailed a letter to the SEC asking for candidate Paxton to be investigated—the letter was not even a formal complaint.


Breitbart Texas discovered that the Dan Branch campaign’s involvement in the false SEC narrative did not stop at Branch himself simply mentioning it to media, as Holm asserted. Lucas Sheffield, who identifies himself as the grassroots field director for the Dan Branch campaign, began pumping out the deceptive San Antonio Express News article to campaign followers on his Twitter account. Breitbart Texas reached out to the Branch campaign to clarify the role of Sheffield, but the campaign declined to answer any questions.

This is not the first time what appears to be high-level campaign staff for Dan Branch have engaged in either deceptive, or simply bizarre, behavior.

Breitbart Texas previously reported on an issue regarding Dan Branch and an amendment he introduced that could have expanded the use of late-term abortions in Texas.

In that instance, Branch Campaign Manager Enrique Marquez was sent a media request by a Breitbart reporter. Instead of responding, Marquez sent out an immediate press release attacking the reporter. The media request pertained to a previous amendment that Branch had attempted to introduce into a Texas bill that could have expanded the authority of Texas abortionists to have greater leeway in deciding when to perform late-term abortions. The Branch campaign responded by listing other bills Branch was involved in and refused to address the issue of the consequences Branch’s amendment could have had on defenseless lives inside of wombs. The bizarre behavior from Marquez ultimately backfired and brought larger attention to the issue than the article otherwise would have on its own. The original bill's sponsor ultimately denounced Dan Branch for "distorting" the truth on his failed amendment--a denouncement that likely would not have occurred were it not for the actions of Marquez.
Ouch, but we're not done; next up, Tony McDonald of Empower Texans discussing donor intimidation:
During his conversation with Tribune editor Evan Smith, Branch was asked about his support for Senate Bill 346, legislation from last session which was designed to enable bureaucrats to attack donors to conservative organizations while exempting liberal labor unions from the same rules.


Branch’s reasoning echoed that of State Representative Byron Cook — Straus’s current standard-bearer when it comes to attacking conservative speech — in an interview with the San Antonio Express News last week. In that interview, Cook argued that “the voting public has a right to have a greater understanding of who supports candidates and why.”

Of course everyone who stops for a moment and thinks about that statement knows it isn’t true. The government isn’t empowered to give everyone who supports a candidate a latex-gloved inspection as to why. In fact, the right runs in exactly the opposite direction; citizens have a right to withhold whom they are supporting, or if they openly support someone, why they choose to support them.


Dan Branch clearly knows how burdensome government paperwork can be. He’s fought transparency for his past as a Washington lobbyist for labor unions. He’s fought additional disclosure for his and his family’s contracts with government agencies. When asked who he’s voting for this election, he, rightfully, responds that it is an “American tradition” that he not be required to say. And even in his rambling response to questions about his own transparency, he recognizes that “transparency” can be weaponized when the principle is used to violate the rights of others.

Yet Dan Branch persists in equating the rights people have to inspect the actions of their government officials with rights he would like to create for people to inspect those who become “involved in the public square.” This, however, runs contrary to our constitutional rights as Americans, and, frankly, the comparison just doesn’t make any sense.

We demand accountability from government officials because they have the power of the sword. Government officials can take our land, our money, and ultimately our lives in exercising their power. That is why it is so critical that we know how and why they are exercising that power, and whether they are exercising it in our interests or in their own.

Citizens who become “involved in the public square” can do nothing more than speak and persuade. More money merely equals a bigger megaphone.

Equating “open government” measures with campaign finance regulations leads to some absurd results. Would Branch think it’s acceptable — as part of an “open electoral process” — to allow any person to demand of the members of a private group to see all of their emails or their calendars on a ten-day turnaround? We require elected officials to comply with that requirement as part of “open government” through the Public Information Act. What about requiring every meeting here at Empower Texans to be recorded and posted on the internet, like we require government agencies to do under the Open Meetings Act? Of course not!


Goodman’s warnings make it clear that there is a national effort afoot to use government to suppress conservative speech. If Dan Branch cannot understand the legal reasoning behind campaign finance regulation, and why he can’t create a right to peek behind the curtain of every group that enters “the public square,” then he is ill-qualified to represent Texans in the fight for our rights against the Obama administration. This is a high-stakes contest for the future of freedom, and we simply cannot trust Dan Branch and his flawed legal reasoning. Conservatives must unite behind the principled conservative with the proven record, Senator Ken Paxton.
If you support using government to intimidate conservative donors while outsourcing your campaign dirty work to Democrat trial lawyers then Dan Branch is your man.  Cahnman's Musings supports neither of these things.  That's why we're sticking with Ken Paxton!!!

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