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Questions About Honesty Cloud Phelan Challenger Covey

Campaign Finance Records List Covey’s Occupation as Attorney and Real Estate Documents Claim He Was Unmarried

In the race for Texas House District 21, allegations questioning the honesty of candidate David Covey have been raised in recent weeks. District 21 is represented by Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, who is opposed by Covey and Jasper County resident Alicia Davis in the Republican primary. 

The Texas Voice has independently researched the allegations against Covey and can confirm their veracity. 

One allegation concerns whether Covey’s occupation was listed as “attorney” on campaign finance reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission. While Covey has a degree from the Oak Brook College of Law, a correspondence law school based in California, Covey is not licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction. Oak Brook College of Law graduates are not eligible to sit for the Texas bar examination, nor are they eligible to practice law in Texas. 

Despite not having a law license, Covey’s occupation is listed as “attorney” in connection with the political contributions Covey made to two organizations in 2020. 

The first contribution was a $20 contribution to the Spindletop Republican Women on June 23, 2020. In a campaign finance report filed with the Texas Ethics Commission on July 5, 2020, the Spindletop Republican Women reported Covey’s occupation as “attorney.”

The second contribution was a $100 contribution to the Jefferson County Republican Party on October 30, 2020. In a campaign finance report filed with the Texas Ethics Commission on January 14, 2021, the Party also reported Covey’s occupation as an “attorney.”

It is common practice for recipients of political contributions to obtain occupation information from donors for campaign finance reporting and compliance purposes.

An individual commits an offense under Texas law if, intending to obtain an economic benefit for themselves, they hold themselves out as a lawyer and are not licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction. 

Another allegation lodged against Covey concerns whether he held himself out as an unmarried man on documents related to a transaction that occurred after he was married. The Texas Voice has reviewed public records, which confirm that this occurred. 

In a “Deed of Trust” document dated October 3, 2022, and filed with the Orange County, Texas County Clerk on October 4, 2022, Covey was identified as “an unmarried person.” The Deed of Trust was filed as part of a real estate transaction and provided a security interest in the property to First National Bank as collateral for a $328,000 loan obtained by Covey. The Deed of Trust was signed by Covey and notarized. Covey had been married for nearly two years when these documents were signed. 

Despite having served as Chairman of the Orange County Republican Party, as a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, as President of the Texas Republican County Chairmens’ Association (“TRCCA”), and as an employee for at least two elected officials, Covey has attempted to cast himself as a “political outsider” during his campaign for State Representative. 

Although he is now running against Phelan, the TRCCA presented an award to Phelan when Covey was at the group’s helm. At an event last year, the TRCCA gave Phelan the “254 Award” in recognition of Phelan’s efforts to help elect down-ballot Republican candidates across Texas. 

In a recent interview with the Texas Tribune, Covey attempted to differentiate himself from Phelan by claiming that Phelan represented the “Karl Rove-Bush” side of the Republican Party while stating that he represented the Donald Trump and Ted Cruz side of the Party.  

However, documents on file with the Texas Secretary of State’s office show that Covey served alongside Rove on the board of directors of a Republican political organization formed in 2021. According to the Certificate of Formation of the Texas Republican Volunteer Program PAC filed with the Texas Secretary of State on October 29, 2021, Covey was one of five initial directors of the organization. In addition to serving as a director, Rove is listed as the organization’s President. 

The Texas Republican Volunteer Program PAC provided significant financial support to the TRCCA during Covey’s tenure as President of the TRCCA. According to campaign finance reports on file with the Texas Ethics Commission, Rove’s Texas Republican Volunteer Program PAC contributed $140,000 to the TRCCA in 2022 while Covey was President of the TRCCA. Covey does not appear to have publicly discussed his work with Rove during his campaign for State Representative. 

Covey has received over a quarter-million dollars in political contributions from political action committees funded largely by Tim Dunn, a Midland oilman who once contributed $500,000 to a SuperPAC that was credited for being responsible for Beto O’Rourke’s first election to Congress. 

As a candidate for State Representative, Covey has signed a pledge sponsored by the pro-secession Texas Nationalist Movement to vote for legislation to place a referendum on the ballot that would purport to allow Texas to secede from the United States. 

Covey has also signed a pledge from a group called Abolish Abortion Texas which, despite its name, opposed the Texas Heartbeat Act as well as the abortion “trigger bill” that have been credited with ending abortion in Texas. Those landmark pro-life bills became law during Phelan’s first session as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. 

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