Category Archives: Empower Texans


“The kids are used as pawns by smugglers and traffickers,” said DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. “Let’s just pause to think about this statistic: a 314% increase in adults showing up with kids that are not a family unit. Those are traffickers. Those are smugglers. That is MS-13. They are criminals. They are abusers.”

Over the past two weeks, a chorus of voices has demanded an end to a policy that has seen adults and children separated at the border as they await processing by immigration officials. Across the mainstream news media, immigration officials are depicted as unnecessarily stripping children away from their parents, leaving families separated and traumatized.

But many reacting to the situation forget there is a sinister element involved at our southern border. And it is that sinister element that makes a solution to these problems very challenging.

For many Americans, being separated from their child by immigration officials is the worst thing they can imagine. But for many of those entering this country across our southern border, such a hardship scarcely qualifies amongst the worst things they’ve already experienced, much less imagined.

Liberals in knee-jerk fashion have called for an immediate stop to the policy of separating children and adults at the border. Current law prohibits immigration officials from housing adults and children together, so the only immediate solution would be a return to a policy known as “catch and release.”

Under the terms of a decades-old court ruling, immigration officials are prohibited from jailing children as they await immigration proceedings. That ruling led to decisions by the George W. Bush and Obama administrations to release children and adults into the public as they awaited hearings. That “catch and release” policy was recently reversed by the Trump administration which recognized that it effectively encouraged further illegal immigration and made children more vulnerable to exploitation by gangs and smugglers.

For families who are legitimately seeking political asylum, there must be a better solution than separation and detention. Thankfully, Sen. Ted Cruz is out this week with a policy proposal to keep families together while also expediting processing so that quick and appropriate decisions can be made.

But it is essential to remember that not every child paired with an adult who comes across our southern border does so as a family. Mixed amongst the legitimate asylum-seekers is a sinister element— those who are trafficking children into this country for exploitation.

“The kids are used as pawns by smugglers and traffickers,” said DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. “Let’s just pause to think about this statistic: a 314% increase in adults showing up with kids that are not a family unit. Those are traffickers. Those are smugglers. That is MS-13. They are criminals. They are abusers.”

A return to catch and release would mean the release of adults and children before any hearing and before any determination that the pair are, in fact, related. Human smugglers could be released, along with the victims they claim as their children. That’s not acceptable.

But even this matter is more complicated than it first appears.

According to DHS, 10,000 of the 12,000 minors currently detained at the border are “unaccompanied” and didn’t enter this country with a parent. Many are appalled to imagine parents placing their children in the hands of smugglers and sending them away, often to be raped and abused on the journey northward.

But yet again, they fail to recognize the sinister element involved in the dilemma faced by some parents in Central America.

In El Salvador, many parents are forced to make a nightmarish choice: send their teenage daughter north alone, likely to be raped during the journey, or have her stay and be taken as a sex slave by the terrorist gangs that control the country. It is the same with the boys: flee, and accept all of the danger that entails, or stay, and be pushed into a war zone and likely killed.

Crafting policy that fulfills American values of upholding the rule of law by deterring illegal immigration and human trafficking while sheltering legitimate asylum-seekers and keeping families united is a difficult proposition. Cruz’s bill appears to be the best one on the table at this time.

Americans of all political persuasions empathize with the difficult situation those in Central America  face, but if the rule of law is cast aside and the borders are flung open, the streets of Houston could become as dangerous as those in El Salvador. The individuals who work for border and law enforcement, as well as those in the halls of Congress, have a duty to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Crafting successful public policy is an arduous process on its own, but it is made harder by the sinister element in Washington.

One of the most startling facts about modern American government is that the longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, who served as the third most powerful person in Washington from 1999-2007, was a serial child molester and was convicted and sentenced to federal prison for his offenses.

It is well-recognized that power attracts megalomaniacal personalities. Without naming names or pointing fingers about something that is inherently difficult to prove, the fact remains that some not-insignificant minority of those in power in Washington operate with sinister motives and are not interested in the well-being of children. This makes the job of crafting policy that protects the weakest amongst us all the more difficult.

Americans can find a solution to the crisis at the southern border that protects children and families and upholds the rule of law. But it will require many Americans to snap out of their middle-class, suburban mentalities and realize that these matters are more complicated—and the world is a grittier place—than they may care to admit.


Many delegates to the upcoming Republican Party of Texas Convention have reported receiving an email from an unfamiliar organization attacking incumbent chairman James Dickey.

Sent from “Texas Conservatives for Liberty and Freedom,” the email accuses Dickey of “misplacing thousands of dollars” as chair of the Travis County GOP and lying to RPT delegates — two lines of attack that have been trumpeted by Cindy Asche, Dickey’s challenger for the RPT chairmanship — accompanied by photos of Dickey covered in blood spatter.

As several grassroots members that received the email have pointed out, the organization doesn’t seem to have any history of engagement before today. Indeed it seems to have been created for the purpose of electing Asche at the convention.

As of today, no information on the group is available from the Texas Secretary of State. The footer of the email lists an address, but the address does not seem to exist. A Google Maps search only shows an empty sidewalk across from an east Austin Planned Parenthood.

As for the allegations made regarding Dickey’s time as head of the Travis County GOP, Matt Mackowiak, current Travis County GOP chairman who also served with Dickey, painted a far different picture:

First, in the 2014 cycle, TCRP solicited new, outside funds to conduct an independent expenditure in support of three qualified Austin city council candidates all of whom won. Electing Republicans is why we exist and we were proud to help those candidates. Anyone who claims we did something wrong here is either uninformed and being misleading.

Second, we did conduct an audit while he was chairman to reconcile a marginal amount of funds that was unaccounted for. Our records were inadequate at that time and the audit provided clarity. There was no malfeasance whatsoever and our processes improved after the audit. When James left TCRP to lead RPT, I inherited a healthy organization with a solid balance in our account in June 2017.

Although Mackowiak is holding out on making an endorsement in the race until later, he added, “In my view, James Dickey did an excellent job as TCRP chairman and it was my honor to serve as his vice chair and succeed him as chairman. I have no concerns about his record, leadership or experience. I have always found him to be honest, capable, positive and supportive.”

Dickey himself also denied the “grossly mischaracterized” allegations in a statement released this afternoon:

So far in this campaign for State Party Chairman much has been said about integrity and the desire for truth and transparency to win out. I could not agree more with those sentiments and I have worked hard in the last 10 months to bring the highest level of transparency to the Party in all we do – finances, convention, primaries, meetings, and the day-to-day operations. We have passed every audit, raised record-breaking funds for the Party, and have found ways to be the best stewards of those funds, and we will continue to do so.

Reached for comment by Texas Scorecard, Asche said she was wholly unaffiliated with the organization and had no knowledge of the existence or management of “Texas Conservatives for Liberty & Freedom.”

Asche also said that she had no evidence that supported the allegations made and condemned the characterization of Dickey as a “dishonest con man.”

“I don’t believe that language is appropriate or productive for the future of our Party,” said Asche in a statement.  “I do believe there is a history as evidenced by court documents of knowingly and intentionally misleading investors, and a lack of integrity when it comes to our current Chair. However, I do not condone the language.”

Asche is referring to a civil enforcement action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Dickey and a former business associate in 2004, which alleged he engaged in wrongdoing in the marketing of securities.

At no time were any criminal charges made, but Dickey did agree to settle the matter in early 2006 for $35,000. The terms of the settlement prohibit Dickey from making any public statement denying the allegations of the complaint.

A number of those who have reviewed the matter have concluded that it is likely Dickey was innocent but chose to settle the matter to avoid a long and costly legal saga.

As Mark McCaig wrote on the matter for Big Jolly Politics earlier this year:

I suspect that Dickey was faced with a Hobson’s choice when given the opportunity to settle the matter with the SEC: he could pay a modest sum, not admit any wrongdoing, and make the matter go away, or he could incur financially ruinous legal bills (that would almost certainly be exponentially higher than what he would have to pay to settle) to fight the virtually unlimited resources of the Federal Government. I don’t think anybody can blame a father of a young family for choosing the first option.

Unfortunately, Mr. Dickey is legally unable to substantially address the allegations against him due to a provision in his settlement required by SEC regulations. Ms. Asche is unfairly exploiting this for her political advantage.

Texas Scorecard has also reached out to RNC Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell, who has served as one of Asche’s most active supporters, for comment.

This article will be updated with any response given.


SE Texas Legislative Recap – With Empower Texans & TX Freedom Caucus Member…

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Just a quick reminder to get your tickets. VIP tickets have been the most popular and the  deadline to purchase VIP tickets is Monday August 21, 2017. Do it now before those preferred seats are gone! Along with preferred seating you’ll get Gourmet Hotdog with Texas Chili, chips, drinks, Souvenir Mug and fresh popped popcorn. How can you miss?!

We hope to see you there to hear the real tales of the 85th Lege AND Special Session from those who worked hard, and strategically,  to hold Republicans accountable to the RPT Platform on the floor of the House. Come out and meet some of the candidates who are ready to primary some of the ones having to be held accountable…when it worked and when it didn’t. Know this…tricks and shenanigans abounded.

It’s a great night of fun and information as well as an opportunity to shake hands with some members of the Texas Freedom Caucus. Follow the link above to see the confirmed guests. More will be added soon.


Legislators Change Votes to Save Face

Republican lawmakers whose voting records betray their conservative campaign push-cards are frustrating to taxpaying constituents. But most Texans are unaware that state lawmakers are allowed to change their votes—after the fact—allowing them to mislead the public by simply rewriting history.

The most recent members of the “I was for it after I was against it” caucus are State Reps. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) – the GOP Caucus Chair – and Giovanni Capriglione (R-Keller).

On Thursday, State Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) laid out an amendment to House Bill 25, a bill he coauthored with State Rep. Sarah Davis (R-Houston). The original measure proposed tapping the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) – commonly referred to as the “rainy day” fund – for $70 million to restore funding to a program for children on Medicaid.

Krause’s amendment proposed a new, alternative financing method, which would redirect disaster relief funds away from an account controlled by the Office of the Governor to the Medicaid program. Doing so would prevent lawmakers from extracting an additional $70 million from the ESF, which conservatives have rightly opposed.

After all, lawmakers could certainly provide disaster relief in the event a natural disaster actually occurred. But Democrats, along with liberal Davis, rose in opposition to Krause’s common sense fix.

Davis moved to table Krause’s amendment, which is a procedural move to delay a vote on the amendment itself, often disposing of it altogether. Parker, Capriglione, most Democrats, and a handful of liberal Republicans voter in favor of Davis’s motion.

But it wasn’t enough, as the effort to block Krause failed by a 53-73 vote.

Parker and Capriglione found themselves on the losing side of a vote opposing a more fiscally conservative measure. But more notably, they sided with most Democrats and a handful of liberal Republican Straus-loyalists in the process. This would certainly not look good to conservative constituents back home.

So, they simply changed their record votes by claiming they “intended” to vote the other way.

Texans can and should have a vigorous debate on public policy. And with any debate – including those between members of the same party – there is bound to be disagreement. But lawmakers who mislead constituents by rewriting history should not be tolerated.

Below is the original 53-73 vote on Davis’ failed motion to table Krause’s amendment, prior to Parker and Capriglione switching sides. A screen shot of Parker’s “correction” can be found HERE; Capriglione’s, HERE.