Tuesday, January 10, 2006

District 48, Republican Candidate Has Corruption Problems

Off The Kuff has a great analysis of Ben Bentzin's travails, Bentzin and Colyandro:
I know it sometimes feels like we're in a neverending election cycle, but there is an election coming up real soon. The special election to replace the outgoing State Rep. Todd Baxter in HD48 (Travis County) is a week from Tuesday, January 17. Republican contender Ben Bentzin ran unsuccessfully for State Senate against Gonzalo Barrientos in 2002, and now some of the chickens from that race have come home to roost.
In 2002, during an unsuccessful run for the state Senate, Bentzin contracted with John Colyandro, a DeLay co-defendant facing money-laundering charges connected to the 2002 elections, to produce campaign mail for his run against Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, D-Austin.

Bentzin said this week that he was unaware that Colyandro also aided his 2002 campaign through his roles as executive director of Texans for a Republican Majority and as an unpaid adviser to the Texas Association of Business, two groups indicted on charges that they illegally spent corporate money in connection with campaigns.

With the business group, Colyandro was in a position to be sure that its mailer supporting Bentzin did not conflict with the campaign's message or the timing of its own mailers. At Texans for a Republican Majority, Colyandro hired a California polling firm to identify and turn out Travis County voters for three House races and Bentzin's Senate campaign.

"This is a surprise to me," Bentzin said of e-mails and other documents detailing Colyandro's efforts. "What you are suggesting is a level of focus on my race I was not aware of."
You know what they say about lying down with dogs. How out of touch did Bentzin have to be to not know what else Colyandro and the local GOP establishment were up to in 2002? Did he not hear any gossip? I could maybe believe that he didn't know some of the, ah, questionable things that Colyandro was doing, but not knowing anything? Did he ever talk to people?
Pink Dome has Donna Howard's press release on Bentzin's problems:
Howard's report contained no contributions from proponents of a private-school voucher scheme that would siphon billions of tax dollars out of public education. Nor did it report any secret payments to an indicted co-conspirator of Tom DeLay in the former U.S. Majority Leader's criminal money-laundering case.


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