As reported previously by The Texas Voice, the Defend Texas Liberty PAC was one of the largest donors to disgraced former State Representative Bryan Slaton, having contributed $160,500 to his campaign over several years. It also appears that Slaton personally benefited from several other campaigns that were financially backed by Defend Texas Liberty or its biggest donors.
According to his financial disclosure filed with the Texas Ethics Commission, Slaton owns Campaign Financial Services, LLC. Slaton started Campaign Financial Services in 2019, after his first campaign for State Representative. In 2021, the company forfeited its right to conduct business for failing to comply with the Texas Tax Code. Despite the tax forfeiture, Campaign Financial Services, LLC has continued to operate.
Campaign finance reports on file with the Texas Ethics Commission indicate that Slaton’s company has been paid over $60,000 since 2019 by seven candidates or officeholders, six of whom received financial backing from Defend Texas Liberty or its largest donors- Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks.
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Those six candidates are State Senator Bob Hall, State Representative Brian Harrison, State Representative Tony Tinderholt, former Texas Senate candidate Shelley Luther, former Texas House candidate Patrick McGuinness, and former Texas House candidate Jon Francis. A seventh candidate, Anthony Catania, did not receive any campaign contributions from Defend Texas Liberty, Dunn, or Wilks. Although Catania had filed campaign finance reports indicating a potential candidacy for Governor, he never filed for office.
Luther, who received over $1.7 million from Dunn, Wilks, and Defend Texas Liberty in her unsuccessful State Senate campaign, paid Slaton’s company $8,882.04 between September 9, 2020, and June 29, 2021. Luther later launched an unsuccessful campaign against State Representative Reggie Smith.
Jon Francis, the son-in-law of Defend Texas Liberty donor Farris Wilks, was an unsuccessful candidate for State Representative in the 2020 Republican Primary. Francis’ campaign, funded mainly by the Wilks family, paid Slaton’s company $2,380.69 between January 6, 2020, and December 12, 2020.
Patrick McGuinness, an unsuccessful candidate for State Representative in the 2022 Republican primary, paid Slaton’s company $4,475.35 during his campaign. McGuinness’ campaign was primarily self-funded but did receive $2,000 from Defend Texas Liberty.
Of the three sitting legislators who paid Slaton’s business, two only did so for brief periods and ended their business relationships with Slaton before the end of last year.
State Representative Tony Tinderholt paid Slaton’s company $27,388.56 between August 31, 2020, and November 12, 2020. Most of these expenditures appear to be related to payroll expenses for block walkers during Tinderholt’s 2020 general election campaign. Slaton was one of only three votes for Tinderholt’s bid for Speaker against Dade Phelan at the start of the current legislative session.
Representative Harrison’s relationship with Slaton’s company has also concluded. Harrison’s campaign paid Campaign Financial Services $6,500 between September 2, 2021, and August 5, 2022. Unlike many of the other candidates who received financial support in the six figures from Defend Texas Liberty, Wilks, and Dunn, Harrison received only $11,000 from Defend Texas Liberty. Harrison has not received any campaign contributions from Wilks or Dunn, and Harrison’s business relationship with Slaton’s company began before he received any donations from Defend Texas Liberty.
Harrison was also quick to distance himself from Slaton, with a spokesperson for Harrison telling The Texas Voice, “Rep. Harrison voted to expel Bryan Slaton from the Texas House and was disgusted by the revelations of his conduct described in the Texas House Committee on General Investigating’s report. While Campaign Finance Services was paid a small amount as one of many vendors for Rep. Harrison’s campaign, his campaign no longer receives services from them, and, in fact, stopped paying them for services nearly a year ago.”
Senator Hall’s relationship with Slaton’s business appears to be more well-established and potentially ongoing.
During the time period between December 9, 2019, and December 7, 2022, Hall’s campaign made 33 different expenditures to Slaton’s company totaling $9,730. The most recent of those expenditures came at the end of the most recent campaign finance reporting period for which campaign finance reports are available for Senator Hall. Any payments made by Senator Hall to Slaton’s company since January 1, 2023, will not be required to be reported until July 17, 2023.
In addition to Senator Hall’s business relationship with Bryan Slaton’s company, Bryan Slaton’s father, Mike Slaton, serves as Senator Hall’s campaign treasurer.
The Texas Voice contacted Senator Hall’s office for comment on this story but did not receive a response.