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Questions Surround Rinaldi’s Involvement With Political Attack Groups

Official Government Records Indicate Rinaldi’s Ties to Texas Gun Rights, Fiscal Index Foundation

Republican Party of Texas State Chairman Matt Rinaldi serves or has recently served on the boards of two organizations that routinely attack Republican elected officials and their work, official government records show.

On February 22, 2023, a Certificate of Formation for Texas Gun Rights, Inc. was filed with the Texas Secretary of State. The Certificate of Formation listed Rinaldi as one of the three directors of the organization. The document was electronically signed under penalty of perjury by Chris McNutt, the President of Texas Gun Rights.

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A Certificate of Formation for an affiliated entity, the Texas Gun Rights Foundation, Inc., was filed with the Texas Secretary of State approximately a week earlier. Rinaldi is also listed as one of three directors of that organization.

Texas Gun Rights has recently attacked Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, State Senator Joan Huffman, and State Representative Jeff Leach over SB 728 and its House companion bill, HB 2780. SB 728 passed the Texas Senate on a unanimous 31-0 vote earlier this month. Texas Gun Rights has mischaracterized the bill as “Dan Patrick’s Gun Registry Expansion” and has shared an image on social media depicting Lt. Governor Patrick and President Biden physically embracing each other.

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When it was pointed out that Rinaldi is named as a member of Texas Gun Rights’ board of directors in an official government document, McNutt tweeted, “I am solely responsible for all day today operations of Texas gun rights” and did not dispute the veracity of the document.

However, Rinaldi claimed he was not on the board of Texas Gun Rights. In a tweet, Rinaldi stated, “I am not on that board. I wasn’t on the board on the time this was filed. I wouldn’t be on a board that puts out ads like that against Republicans.”

Earlier this year, under Rinaldi’s leadership, the Republican Party of Texas ran paid radio ads attacking Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan.

Neither Rinaldi nor McNutt offered further clarification on whether a document with false information had been filed with the Texas Secretary of State.

Rinaldi’s name also appears in official government documents as a member of the board of directors for the Fiscal Index Foundation, which operates under the name “Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.” The Fiscal Index Foundation publishes arbitrary numerical ratings of state lawmakers after each legislative session, known in some political circles as the “Empower Texans scorecard.”

In a Certificate of Formation for the Fiscal Index Foundation filed with the Texas Secretary of State on August 10, 2020, Rinaldi and former State Representatives Jonathan Stickland and Mike Lang are listed as the organization’s directors.

More recently, on August 15, 2022, a Texas Franchise Tax Public Information Report for the Fiscal Index Foundationlisting its board of directors was filed with the Texas Comptroller’s office. This Public Information Report listed the organization’s directors as Tim Hardin, Jonathan Stickland, Stuart Spitzer, and Matt Rinaldi. Additionally, Rinaldi is also named as the Secretary for the Fiscal Index Foundation.

Tony McDonald, an attorney for the Fiscal Index Foundation, electronically signed the Public Information Report. McDonald’s other clients have included Ron Watkins, a central figure in the “QAnon” movement who is widely believed to be “Q.”

As Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, by law, Rinaldi must file a personal financial statement annually with the Texas Ethics Commission. As part of this disclosure, filers must disclose all corporate boards they serve on, including the boards of non-profit corporations. Rinaldi’s most recent personal financial statement, filed on May 2, 2022, and covering the 2021 calendar year, does not reflect Rinaldi’s membership on the board of the Fiscal Index Foundation.

Even though the Fiscal Index Foundation purports to be a pro-taxpayer organization, it was the subject of a tax forfeiture order dated June 24, 2022, resulting in the organization temporarily losing its corporate charter. After rectifying the situation, the Fiscal Index Foundation was reinstated on August 22, 2022.

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