Members of the Tarrant County Republican Party Executive Committee will meet Monday to elect a new County Chairman, filling a vacancy created when former County Chairman Rick Barnes resigned to run for Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector. Three candidates have announced their candidacy for the position- Attorney and former State Republican Executive Committeeman Warren Norred, Republican Party of Texas Treasurer Fred Tate, and businessman and former Texas House candidate Richard West “Bo” French.
French currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Texans for Strong Borders. This organization has recently come under scrutiny after the Texas Tribune photographed Texans for Strong Borders’ President, Chris Russo, alongside well-known anti-Semitic and white nationalist livestreamer Nick Fuentes outside the Fort Worth area offices of the political consulting firm Pale Horse Strategies. The Texas Tribune also reported that Russo was seen driving Fuentes to the meeting and that Fuentes spent “nearly 7 hours” at Pale Horse Strategies’ office.
Pale Horse Strategies is owned by former State Representative Jonathan Stickland, who has come under fire from elected officials and grassroots leaders in the Republican Party for his role in the meeting with Fuentes. Over a dozen members of the State Republican Executive Committee released a statement earlier this week condemning Fuentes and Stickland and stating that “Stickland has forfeited his right to any leadership role in conservative politics.”
According to records on file with the Texas Secretary of State, Strong Borders Action was created on September 27, 2022. The Board of Directors of the Organization consists of Chris Russo, Cary Cheshire, and Bo French. On November 2, 2022, Strong Borders Action filed an assumed name certificate with the Texas Secretary of State to conduct business under the name Texans for Strong Borders. Chris Russo is employed as President of Texans for Strong Borders, and Cary Cheshire is employed as the organization’s Executive Director.
Texans for Strong Borders has also utilized the services of Ella Maulding, a Pale Horse Strategies employee, to make social media videos for the group. Maulding has also come under fire for posts describing Fuentes as “the greatest civil rights leader in history,” attacking Jews and Israel, and calling for the Republican Party to be “absolutely destroyed.”
“The GOP and majority of Republicans/boomers will continue to undeniably worship Israel and Jews,” wrote Maulding in one post. “If you’re more concerned about pleasing Con Inc Israel-worshippers for the sake of your own “future career” and “reputation,” over exposing and shining light on the largest hate group among Christians, you ought to be ashamed,” said Maulding in another post.
Texans for Strong Borders has received $112,000 in contributions from the Defend Texas Liberty PAC, which Stickland led when the contributions were made. French also serves on the Board of Directors of the parent organization of Texas Scorecard alongside Midland oilman Tim Dunn, the largest donor to Defend Texas Liberty.
As a Director of Texans for Strong Borders, French is responsible for the oversight and governance of the organization. It is unknown what action he or the organization has taken in response to the recent meeting with Nick Fuentes. As of this week, Russo was still making public appearances on behalf of Texans for Strong Borders, including an October 16 speech to the Montgomery County Tea Party.
During the recent legislative session, Texans for Strong Borders opposed a bill supported by law enforcement organizations that would help alleviate the shortage of law enforcement officers. Senate Bill 252 allows honorably discharged veterans of the United States military who are legal permanent residents of the United States and have applied for United States Citizenship to be eligible to obtain a law enforcement license. The bill passed the Texas Senate by a vote of 28-3 and the Texas House by 141-2. It has since been signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott.
French has also had two unsuccessful campaigns for the Texas House of Representatives in 2016 and 2018. During those campaigns, other controversies involving French were publicly reported on.
In 2017, it emerged that French created a Facebook page critical of now-Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn that some believed potentially violated a law prohibiting online impersonation. In a December 15, 2017 report by WFAA-TV, it was reported that the “presidents of the Dallas and Arlington police associations and the Tarrant County Law Enforcement Association” released a joint statement raising the possibility of potential criminal conduct by French.
The statement claimed, in part, “When Bo French created a fake Facebook account in the name of … Waybourn, it wasn’t merely a political prank, it potentially was a crime,” and “Texas law prohibits the impersonation of a peace officer, and Mr. French owes every officer who wears the uniform an explanation for his intemperate actions.”
In a statement to the Texas Tribune regarding the matter, Waybourn said, “Any reasonable objective review of the evidence against Bo French results in firm proof of a lack of character on his part,” and “We should hold all people in public office to a higher standard.”
French has also been the subject of litigation brought against him by Taya Kyle, the widow of “American Sniper” war hero Chris Kyle.
In 2013, Taya Kyle filed a lawsuit against French, who had partnered with Chris Kyle in a business venture. The lawsuit, which also named another of Chris Kyle’s business partners as Defendant, alleged that the Defendants diverted business assets to the detriment of Taya Kyle. French denied the allegations, and a settlement was reached.
In 2016, KDFW-TV reported that Taya Kyle alleged that Bo French breached the terms of the settlement agreement, which included provisions that prohibited French from using Chris Kyle’s name and company logo. According to the report, French changed his campaign website after receiving a cease and desist letter from Taya Kyle’s lawyer. The Texas Tribune also reported on the matter, including copies of the cease and desist letter and images of mailers sent by French’s campaign that Kyle alleged violated the terms of the settlement agreement.