Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Buying the Legislature

One man, James Leininger, has spent $2.35 million on races for the Texas Legislature in '06 so far. That level of spending (on the primaries no less) is unheard of according to most Capitol observers.

Why's he doing it? In a word, vouchers.

Over $1 million has gone to the campaigns of five Republican primary candidates running against moderate R's who voted against vouchers. Of the total money those five have raised, Leininger has contributed 90%.

The Dallas Morning News has the story of how one man is trying to buy the Legislature. Money quote:

"We've never seen numbers like this, as far as percentage of support from one entity," said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, a nonpartisan group that tracks campaign money.

"The Leininger PAC has showed that the Texas campaign finance system is totally out of whack," Mr. McDonald said. "One person should not be able to bankroll a slate of candidates.

"These candidates will become private representatives, not public servants."

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