Power in the TDP

A few weeks ago, Roll Call reported on the interconnected Washington fundraising groups that all go through Matt Angle. You might remember him as the guy who spearheaded the push to take down Tom DeLay...at the same time that he was using DeLay-style fundraising tactics.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars that will ultimately end up funding state, federal and local campaigns for Texas Democrats this year will first churn through a nondescript row house on Capitol Hill that serves as headquarters for a tight network of organizations dedicated to electing Democrats in the Lone Star State.

At the center of the operation is Matt Angle, the former chief of staff for ex-Rep. Martin Frost (D-Texas), who can reach into the checkbook of an organization he runs and make a donation to another organization he runs, pay rent to himself as a landlord, hire himself as a consultant, and employ a handful of friends, party activists and longtime Frost allies.

For example: According to state and federal campaign records, the Lone Star Fund (Treasurer Matt Angle) pays rent to E St. Properties for use of the Capitol Hill row house (owned by Matt Angle), pays Angle & Associates Inc. for consulting services (about $100,000 between 2004 and 2007) and has donated about $20,000 to the Texas Democratic Trust (Treasurer Matt Angle). The Texas Democratic Trust since 2005 has paid Angle & Associates more than $1.2 million for consulting services, travel reimbursements and rent, and it pays retainers as much as $7,000 a month to a variety of political consultants and researchers who also work for the Texas Democratic Party, the Lone Star Trust or other affiliated organizations.

The trust is also a major supporter of the Texas Democratic Party. As of last June, the trust had donated more than $3.7 million to the Democratic Party and another $800,000 to the Democratic research and organizing entity Texas Progress Council.

Go read the whole thing. I quoted an extended passage solely to argue that you should read the whole thing.

Angle has essentially become the center of the Texas Democratic Party, as you can tell from this article. He convinced much of the trial lawyers to donate through the organizations that he created. He basically controls the Texas Democratic Party since he holds the pursestrings through $3.7M that those groups have donated to the party. Using the same pool of money, he can recruit candidates with promises of campaign funding.

To wit, the recruitment of lt gov candidate Linda Chavez-Thompson:

Party leaders gathered in Austin last month to brainstorm on promising candidates for the lieutenant governor's race. They had initially approached state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, but she said she declined.

Someone suggested Chavez-Thompson, and before long, her friends and associates began a full-court press to persuade her.

Strategists dropped by her home and made their case. Pollsters broke down the numbers for her. Prominent politicians such as former state Comptroller John Sharp and state Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, urged her to run.

Immediately after the filing deadline, Angle's organization endorsed Chavez-Thompson.

I've heard from some upset Democrats, because they view Chavez-Thompson's recruitment as having echoes of 2002's "Dream Team" AND hanging Ronnie Earle out to dry.

Posted by Evan @ 02/09/10 11:36 AM


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