Perry campaign attacks Strayhorn for using state resources to campaign
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn has been using her state staff to prepare her for public appearances as an independent candidate for governor, according to records released by her office Monday.
Spokesmen for Strayhorn said there is nothing inappropriate or illegal in having the state staff do such work because Strayhorn is a state official even when campaigning for office. But state law says no public money can be spent in connection with a political campaign.
But the records show Strayhorn has used her taxpayer-financed research staff to prepare briefing papers for her public appearances whether they were state or campaign related.
Those include background materials for appearances before organizations that range from teachers' groups to the Texas AFL-CIO, from which she sought — but didn't receive — an endorsement in her race. A number of those documents offered critical facts about actions taken by Gov. Rick Perry, the Republican nominee who is seeking re-election.
The papers also indicate Strayhorn's state staff is editing speeches she delivers to these groups. E-mail traffic at the agency shows 18 state employees were involved in coordinating her briefing papers and speech analysis.
Strayhorn's office released about 9,000 pages of documents under the Texas Public Information Act to the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News.
A reader emailed me a video that the Perry campaign put together. The video shows Strayhorn -- at an ostensibly official (non-campaign) appearance -- making rather campaign-type statements.
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