By: Jessica Shorten
CONROE, TX – As the new election season gets underway, one local Political Action Committee has issued endorsements for several major candidates, including in the race for U.S. Congressional District 8. Except there’s a catch; the Federal PAC was administratively terminated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) earlier this year.
Texans for True Conservatives PAC appears to be a Republican-based conservative organization. Upon entering their site, they make the bold statement that they “separate the real Texas conservatives from the fake ones.” Their endorsement list includes big names such as U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Texas State Senator Brandon Creighton, Texas State Representative Steve Toth, and Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain. However, questions were asked when the Texans for True Conservatives PAC issued endorsements for two different candidates in U.S. Congressional District 8: Christian Collins and Jonathan Hullihan.
As it turns out, the only qualifier for getting an endorsement from the Texans for True Conservatives PAC is to sign and return the PAC’s “Conservative Pledge,” a 3-page document which asks candidates to initial their belief in a range of Republican hot topics including voter ID laws, Sanctuary Cities, and pro-life policies. Doing so results in the candidate’s picture on their website and a post on their Facebook page, which boasts 675 followers, promoting your campaign.
The PAC also has an active donation page and encourages donations in order to “support real conservatives,” but checking whether or not the PAC is indeed supporting those “real conservative candidates” is difficult due to the fact Texans for True Conservatives PAC has not filed a report with the FEC since last year in July 2020.
The PAC filed no third quarter or end-of-year reports for 2020, and has not filed any reports in 2021. Due to the lack of filings, the FEC issued an intent to administratively terminate the PAC on July 2, 2021. The FEC has since officially declared the PAC administratively terminated.
The PAC can easily remove the termination status by filing prior and current reports; however, the PAC has not done so, despite actively collecting donations on its website and endorsing candidates in the 2022 midterm election cycle.
Political Action Committees have always been used as tools to funnel money to various causes and candidates. PACs also provide a visual boost for candidates at election time by providing a long list of endorsements from various PACs.
However, not all PACs are the same.
Just this month, the Department of Justice released an indictment against three individuals from California and Texas who started two PACs: one catering to Republicans and one for Democratic voters. The trio then collected $3.5 million in donations from voters thinking they would be supporting local candidates, only to find the money was being skimmed for the personal funds of the three founders.
While many PACs are legitimately collecting donations and supporting candidates and/or causes, Texans for True Conservatives PAC has been administratively terminated and should cease collecting donations or advertising the endorsement of candidates until they meet the requirements to re-organize under the Federal Election Commission.
Continuing to promote the endorsement of candidates as an administratively terminated PAC could create problems for the candidates themselves. Linking candidate campaigns to PACs that don’t follow the rules could be seen as a lack of morals on the part of the candidates.
In local races, such as the hotly contested seat for U.S. Congress District 8, endorsements from PACs are almost critical to helping candidates stand out in a field of 17. However, seeking endorsements from defunct PACs and organizations could easily come back to hurt more than help a campaign.
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