In a statement released yesterday afternoon, Dallas County Republican Party chairman Wade Emmert accused members of the Dallas County Commissioners Court of cronyism by hiring the lead counsel of the Texas Democratic Party to represent them in their lawsuit against the Texas Voter ID law. He says local Democrats are wasting taxpayer funds on partisan politics.
The attorney, Chad Dunn, is the General Counsel of the Texas Democratic Party and a friend of Dallas County Commissioners Court Judge Clay Jenkins, who spearheaded retaining Dunn as counsel on behalf of the county. Dunn and Jenkins sued the county in 2008 over its voting process, before Jenkins was elected to the court. Dunn will be paid with Dallas County taxpayer funds.
Emmert argues that Dallas County voters support Voter ID laws, but local Democrats are using the lawsuit to benefit their supporters. "Who will pick up the tab for all the lawyer bills and expenses? (Three) Democrat members of the Dallas County Commissioner's Court have answered that question: Dallas County taxpayers will be the ATM machine for this lawsuit and funnel money to democratic operatives across Texas. With a 3-2 vote, the Commissioners Court approved a measure backing the lawsuit," he said. The Supreme Court upheld Voter ID laws earlier this year.
Emmert also points out that Jane Hamilton, one of the plaintiffs in the Voter ID lawsuit against the state of Texas, is the chief-of-staff for Congressman Marc Veasey (D-Dallas). Hamilton was also the former political consultant and campaign manager for Judge Jenkins.
On Tuesday, Judge Jenkins posted a message on his Facebook page about the decision to sue the state, without mentioning he was hiring a friend and Democratic ally. "I want to make it abundantly clear that Dallas County will not stand idly by while Texas leaders enforce laws that have discriminatory effects on minority voters. Texas does not hold free reign to take steps that continually hurt the democratic process," he wrote.
The state of Texas will provide a free state ID to anyone who cannot afford the regular $16 fee.
Emmert's statement follows:
Yesterday three Democrats on the Court approved a measure to give Dallas County taxpayer money to a Democrat lawyer to oppose Texas' voter ID law.
A large majority of Texans favor requiring ID to vote as a common-sense solution to protect the integrity of our elections. The Supreme Court has found Voter ID constitutional.
The State of Texas will provide a free ID card to anyone who cannot afford the $16 fee. Citizens over the age of 70 are exempt from the photo ID requirement.
Now some democratic operatives are using the public purse to advance their own political careers and protect their own re-election.
Fort Worth Democratic Congressman Marc Veasey filed a lawsuit in June to stop Texas' Voter ID which was passed with bi-partisian support in 2011.
Who will pick up the tab for all the lawyer bills and expenses?
3 Democrat members of the Dallas County Commissioner's Court have answered that question: Dallas County taxpayers will be the ATM machine for this lawsuit and funnel money to democratic operatives across Texas.
With a 3-2 vote, the Commissioners Court approved a measure backing the lawsuit. Republican Mike Cantrell and Democrat Elba Garcia opposed the measure.
After much arm-twisting by Democrat County Judge Clay Jenkins, Democrat Theresa Daniel, who had been on the fence, caved in and cast the deciding vote.
The Dallas County Commissioner's Court voted to retain Chad Dunn, the lead attorney opposing the bill.
Dunn is the General Counsel of the Texas Democratic Party and a political ally of Clay Jenkins. Before becoming County Judge, Jenkins and Dunn teamed up to sue Dallas County over a 2008 election for State House of Representative.
The cronyism doesn't stop there. Jane Hamilton is Congressman Veasey's current Chief-of-Staff, she is one of the plaintiffs in the voter ID lawsuit, and she was also the former political consultant and campaign manager for Clay Jenkins.
"If Jenkins and those who voted for this actually listened to their constituency, they would know that the majority of Dallas County support voter ID," said Wade Emmert, Chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party.
"This is nothing more than old school cronyism and personal political patronage and it's the Dallas County taxpayers who will be paying for it."
It's no coincidence that County Judge Clay Jenkins and District Attorney Craig Watkins, the two democrats who pushed for the measure, are up for re-election in 2014.
Victor Medina writes for Yahoo News and his political blog WhenLiberalsAttack.com. His other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. Click here to receive a weekly email update from WhenLiberalsAttack.com. To be notified of future stories by Victor Medina, click the SUBSCRIBE link at the top of this page.