Sunshine and transparency are the best disinfectants for corruption.
As the Harris County Republican Party begins transitioning to new leadership, an effort to ensure a return to openness, transparency and accountability are paramount to restoring the relationship not only with party activists and loyalists, but with the voters to whom outreach efforts are directed.
During the local election cycle of 2013, one issue that rose to prominence – especially among Republican grassroots activists was the scourge of “pay-to-play” endorsements and endorsement slates. The pay-to-play system has functioned extraordinarily well at muzzling the grassroots and creating a system of cronyism that constrained the ability of insurgent candidates to rise to victory.
But did the Harris County Republican Party play a hidden role in furthering the cronyism? Documents which recently emerged suggest that such was the case, especially with the HCRP’s relationship with the Texas Federation of Republican Outreach (TFRO). The documents obtained from the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) website by searching for Campaign Finance Reports indicate that some of the funds for TFRO were routed through various channels to eventually arrive at Mona Lisa Chambers, the TFRO treasurer.
Take a look at the red space in the first document in question (page 9 of TFRO-TEC Rpt.2014.05 (runoff)):
Running a Google search on the PO Box for Lifetime Consulting Services listed in the report, brings up a CV for Ms. Chambers, listing her mailing address as the same P.O. Box from the TEC report. If you follow the money, it seems to be that the $200.00 expenditure to “Lifetime Consulting Service” was actually ultimately paid to TFRO Treasurer, Mona Lisa Chambers.
HCRP paid money to TFRO (Mona Lisa as Treasurer). TFRO paid money to Lifetime Consulting Services (Mona Lisa as owner). And then Mona Lisa Chambers endorsed Jared Woodfill in his campaign for reelection. I don’t believe in coincidence. You can look through the reports and see donations from “HCRP” and payments to “Lifetime Consulting Services” for yourself, but here are the dates and dollar amounts:
Payments to Lifetime Consulting Services:
Also, Ilex and Student Leadership Institute are both addressed to Bill Calhoun, who is the chairman of TFRO.
Ilex got $7182.80 of the money and Student Leadership Institute got $500, which accounts for $13,168.80 of the $15,550 they got from party money.
I’ve included PDF documents of the reports in question for the review of anyone who may wish to see them.
I have known Mona Lisa for some time and have always found her to be a person of high standards and passion for the cause. I’m bringing this information to light not to bring anyone down, but to lift the party out of what seems to be an endless morass of cronyism. These documents bring up some very unsettling questions. What is the relationship between TFRO and the past leadership of HCRP? Does that relationship include the state party? Is this still an ongoing issue? Responsible citizens have a duty and a right to know the truth.