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Texas GOP in Crisis: Part 2

Chaos Continues as Defend Texas Liberty Donates Another $200k to Texas GOP

Since The Texas Voice’s initial report about the crisis facing the Republican Party of Texas after public revelations regarding former State Representative and Pale Horse Strategies owner Jonathan Stickland and the Defend Texas Liberty PAC’s ties to well-known anti-Semites, several significant developments have occurred. 

Defend Texas Liberty Donates Another $200,000 to the Republican Party of Texas

After the Republican Party of Texas filed a campaign finance report showing less than $50,000 in the Party’s state account as of June 30, 2023, many within the Party raised concerns about the Party’s financial condition. Concerns were also raised about the Party’s increasing reliance on the Defend Texas Liberty PAC for funding. Defend Texas Liberty had contributed $132,500 to the Party’s state account during the first six months of 2023.

In a campaign finance report filed last week, Defend Texas Liberty disclosed an additional $200,000 in contributions to the Republican Party of Texas state account, with a $150,000 contribution on July 31 and a $50,000 contribution on August 16. Coupled with the contributions earlier in the year, Defend Texas Liberty has now contributed $332,500 to the Republican Party of Texas so far this year. 

The Republican Party of Texas is not required to file another campaign finance report with the Texas Ethics Commission until January. 

Jonathan Stickland’s Alleged “Removal” as Defend Texas Liberty President Appears to be Meaningless

Several days after the scandal regarding the meetings with anti-Semitic commentator Nick Fuentes’ at Jonathan Stickand’s office broke, State Republican Executive Committee member Jill Glover reported to other members of the Committee that Stickland had been removed from his role as President of Defend Texas Liberty and that a proposed letter that some Committee members were circulating regarding the Republican Party of Texas’ ties to Defend Texas Liberty was moot. The Defend Texas Liberty website was also updated to show political consultant and Texas Scorecard podcaster Luke Macias as President of Defend Texas Liberty.

The Texas Voice has obtained copies of all organizational paperwork filed by Defend Texas Liberty PAC with the Texas Ethics Commission. As of yesterday morning (November 8), Defend Texas Liberty PAC had not filed any amendments to its organizational paperwork with the Commission to remove Stickland as a decision-maker for the PAC. Additionally, Luke Macias’ name does not appear on any of Defend Texas Liberty’s organizational documents as a decision maker. The most recent amendment to Defend Texas Liberty’s organizational paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission was filed on July 15, 2022. 

As first reported by Tony Ortiz of Current Revolt, Macias described reports of Stickland’s alleged removal as President of Defend Texas Liberty as “a nothing burger” in an exchange with a top aide to Attorney General Ken Paxton, telling her she should “ignore it.”

Defend Texas Liberty-Funded True Texas Project Doubles Down on Anti-Semitism

As has been previously reported by The Texas Voice, leaders of the True Texas Project- a group that has received funding from Defend Texas Liberty and has frequently hosted speakers from organizations associated with Pale Horse Strategies- have a long history of posting anti-Semitic content online.

True Texas Project’s open embrace of anti-Semitism was further evidenced on October 26, with a tweet posted by True Texas Project board member Ryan McCubbin. In his tweet, McCubbin posted photos of Governor Greg Abbott wearing a yarmulke and in front of an Israeli flag, criticizing what McCubbin described as “policy driven by shekels” and “blatant influence-buying that would be noticed if it were any other demographic.” McCubbin has since locked his tweets from public view. 

On October 28, two days after McCubbin’s post, Republican Party of Texas State Chairman Matt Rinaldi participated in an event hosted by the True Texas Project. Rinaldi posed for a photo after the event next to True Texas Project director and PAC President Fred McCarty, who has frequently posted anti-Semitic and racially charged content online. 

As previously reported, in a Twitter post dated November 4, 2020, Fred McCarty blasted Trump, stating, “Would it have killed Trump to do something/anything for white voters? He didn’t deliver shit. He did offer to give blacks a half a trillion dollars! That got him a nominal bump in support.”

On November 30, 2022, Fred McCarty posted an image of a tweet reading, “The Republican Party would rather America disappear than Whites identify as Whites” along with “#GOP.” In a tweet dated January 2, 2021, Fred McCarty wrote, “Republicans would rather lose than court white voters.”

Rinaldi Endorses Defend Texas Liberty-Funded Never-Trumper in House District 2

As a candidate for Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas in 2021, Matt Rinaldi stressed the need for Republicans to be unified. 

“I want to get everybody together for the better of the party and work together for the 2022 election because we just can’t sacrifice that, and we have to be unified,” said Rinaldi then.

To that end, Rinaldi recognized that the Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas “needs to maintain neutrality” in Party elections and “work for the betterment of the Party.” Rinaldi did recognize that there were “rare and extraordinary circumstances” where an endorsement might be warranted. In discussing those circumstances, Rinaldi referenced perennial candidate Robert Morrow- who is known for posting conspiracy theories involving Republican politicians and sexually suggestive material on the internet- as the type of candidate he would endorse against. 

Since being elected Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, Rinaldi has weighed in on intraparty contests on multiple occasions. Most recently, Rinaldi has endorsed Brent Money in the special election to fill the vacancy in Texas House District 2. 

Rinaldi reiterated his endorsement of Money after he advanced to a runoff with Republican businesswoman Jill Dutton earlier this week. Dutton has been a longtime grassroots Republican activist and is a former President of the Republican Women of Van Zandt. 

The Texas Voice has reported that Money opposed Donald Trump in the 2016 general election and presented a “Never Trump” perspective on Tomi Lahren’s Blaze TV show shortly before the 2016 election. More recently, Money attacked Trump as a fake conservative on social media and described Trump as an “ineffective loser” in a tweet posted on April 9 of this year. 

House District 2 became vacant after former State Representative Bryan Slaton was expelled from the Texas House after it was discovered he invited a 19-year-old intern who worked in his office over to his apartment, supplied her with alcohol, had sex with her, and procured an emergency contraceptive for her the following day. 

Slaton was a top recipient of funding from the Defend Texas Liberty PAC, receiving $160,500 in contributions from it between December 7, 2020, and October 20, 2022. Slaton famously posed with Jonathan Stickland in a photo with an oversized novelty check reflecting a $100,000 contribution to Slaton from Defend Texas Liberty. 

Like Slaton, Money has received significant financial support from Defend Texas Liberty. Money has received $35,000 in contributions from Defend Texas Liberty thus far, making it the largest donor to his campaign. 

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