Did A Candidate Break The Law Over $12.50

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My Aussie friend told me a story yesterday about his Kiwi neighbor who got locked out of his house and cut a new door in the wall with a chainsaw to get back in. I thought that was one of the funniest things that I’ve heard in awhile. Then I read Josh Flynn’s campaign finance report.

It’s no secret that I’m supporting Claver Kamau-Imani in his campaign to become the State Representative for Texas House District 138. If you need to understand why, then read here, here, and here. Even if Claver wasn’t in the race I’d be watching it closely.

Polling from the TNM shows that district to be solidly pro-TEXIT. The sitting State Representative, Dwayne Bohac, retired after winning his seat in the last cycle by a mere 47 votes. There are three candidates in the Republican primary. The district has been targeted by Beto O’Rourke and the Democratic Party. All of these are a recipe for an exciting election.

It gets even more interesting when you look at the other candidates in the race. Especially when it comes to Josh Flynn. Flynn is the son of another State Representative, Dan Flynn, and has acted as though that fact alone should give him a free-pass to be the new Representative. His run has been nothing but a series of missteps and bone-headed moves that should make anyone question his fitness for public office.

With today’s filing of the 30-day campaign finance reports, Flynn may have actually broken the law over $12.50. I was drawn to two entries on his campaign finance report. The first was the $395 he paid to become a member of the Houston Realty Business Coalition. The funny part is that he paid to become a member, but they actually ended up not endorsing him. The not-so-funny part was that he collected donations from people who expected him to use it to campaign for an office that he has already been declared ineligible to run for and he spent it on membership dues for an organization that rejected him.

Although the ethics of that move are questionable at best, it’s not the true jaw dropper. The final line of his campaign expenditures includes a payment to the Republican Party of Texas for $12.50 marked as “Grassroots Club”. According to the RPT website, the Grassroots Club is a “sustaining membership organization for the Republican Party of Texas…” Sure enough, $12.50 is the same amount as a Silver Level membership. Clearly, Flynn used his campaign funds to initiate a membership in the Grassroots Club.

To join the Grassroots Club, the donor has to certify a whole laundry list of legal compliance requirements. One of these states, “I affirm that I am making this contribution via my personal credit or debit card for which I have a legal obligation to pay, and not through a corporate or business credit or debit card.”

I have questions.

Was Flynn not a Grassroots Club member before or is this a newfound support like it was for the Houston Realty Business Coalition? Did Flynn not have the $12.50 before he decided to run for office and, instead, had to rely on the generosity of others to cover it? Did Flynn break the law over $12.50? If not, why even risk it when he could have skipped one trip to Starbucks and paid for his Grassroots Club membership? When Flynn reads this, will he correct his campaign finance reports, dig in his wallet, and pay his dues from his own pocket like other members of the Grassroots Club?

All that I can say is that if I were a member of the Grassroots Club, I’d be furious. As President of the TNM, I am both a Standard Member and a member of the 1836 Club and pay for it out of my own pocket. I do it because I believe in the work of the TNM and leaders lead by example.

What does Flynn believe? What example is he setting? Now, imagine what it would be like with him in the Texas House.