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What Does Congressman Gene Green Need With All That PAC Money?

What exactly does Houston-area Congressman Gene Green (above), a Democrat, need with$842,656 in PAC money? This is the amount of PAC money Congressman Green raised in 2007-08.  This PAC money was 78% of all the money Mr. Green raised in this election cycle. Overall, Mr. Green was fifth in the entire U.S. House  in 2008 for money given by PACS as a percentage of all campaign funds raised.   

Mr. Green serves the 29th U.S. House District of Texas. The district includes, among other places, much of the Houston Ship Channel and other parts of Houston, portions of Pasadena, Baytown and Humble, as a well as South Houston and Jacinto City. Here is a profile of the district from Mr. Green’s office. 

These PAC statistics are from a recent USA Today story. 

Two Texas Republicans, Joe Barton and Kevin Brady were the PAC champions. Mr. Barton, of Ennis, got 88% of his money from PACS while Mr. Brady, of The Woodlands, came in next at 86%.  Overall PACS spent $416 million on federal elections in 2008.

You can click here and get a picture of where the money Mr. Green raised in 2008 came from. Below is a list of various industry groups that donated to Mr. Green for the most recent election. 

Health Professionals $168,396
Oil & Gas $84,500
Lawyers/Law Firms $77,472
Electric Utilities $57,949
Industrial Unions $52,750
Building Trade Unions $52,000
Chemical & Related Manufacturing $50,538
Transportation Unions $40,500
TV/Movies/Music $40,500
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $34,600
Automotive $19,000
Beer, Wine & Liquor $17,500
Lobbyists $17,250
Telephone Utilities $17,000
Sea Transport $16,500
Misc Energy $15,000
Public Sector Unions $15,000
Telecom Services & Equipment $14,000
Misc Unions $13,500
Retail Sales $13,000

Just what does Rep. Green need with all this money from all these groups? His 2008 Republican opponent raised just over $14,000. Mr. Green has won reelection with almost 75% of the vote in the last two elections. In 2004 he won with 94%.

Maybe what Mr. Green wishes to do is scare off any potential Hispanic primary challenger in a district that is two-thirds Hispanic. Now I know it would be shocking if Mr. Green was taking advantage of money from the alcohol industry and the pharmaceutical industry to scare off potential Hispanic opposition in a two-thirds Hispanic district, but these things do happen.

(Local gasbag Marc Campos has been trying to stir-up a primary fight   for Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee. That’s his right and I don’t care one way or another, but if his goal is to increase Hispanic representation in the Houston-area, a subject he often discusses with varying degrees of bluster, the 29th might seem his better chance. C’mon Marc– Find a candidate for this one! )  

Mr. Green has, according to the 2008 Almanac of American Politics, voted  for a bill to roll back subsidies for the oil industry. It’s not that Mr. Green is at the total beck-and-call of the groups that give him money. It’s rarely that simple with these guys. (At least in any way you can pin down.)  Though I wager campaign contributions may well gain access to speak to Mr. Green and senior members of his staff.

Here is some information on Mr. Green’s voting record.

The issue is that Mr. Green uses his incumbency to scare off challengers and that he is such a willing participant  in a system that, while legal, is rotten. This should not be the program. It would be of value for a primary opponent of any ethnicity to take on Mr. Green in 2010 and to bring these issues to greater public attention.

March 3, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Houston Political Consultant Marc Campos Rips Me, But Fails To Provide Link

Houston political consultant Marc Campos has blasted me, but, lacking a true sense of sportsmanship, failed to provide a link. This is in sharp contrast to the nice folks at the right-wing blog Lone Star Times who once mocked a poem I wrote with a link that generated a lot of traffic. 

Here is the link to Campos Communications. Here is the link to his Daily Commentary.

Below is what Marc said in his Daily Commentary today—

“Commentary’s recent takes on local Latino voter turnout has definitely ruffled a feather or two. The liberal blog fella has been suspicious of Commentary’s motives from the outset. He was the one that said I might be more interested in looking for a “gig” plus he threw in that dig questioning H-Town CM James Rodriguez’ political party affiliation. Hey, that’s his right. Here’s what he sent me yesterday:

“Are Hispanics in Houston and Harris County unable to vote without extra prodding? At what point does this become the fault of the community in question?”

Commentary thought about having a discussion with him to talk about how to get out the vote and what is involved but I decided against because I think he had already made up his mind on this issue so here’s what I sent him:

“Look, I don’t want to get into it with you because folks like you are determined to undermine a point I have been making for over a decade now – sorry.”

I think I hurt his feeling because here’s how he responded:

“Folks like me? You hardly have any idea who I am or what I think. I sure have never had great relations with my fellow bloggers. I’ve agreed with a number of things you’ve written over time. Often agreeing with some your views about statements of bravado by bloggers.

Between my own blog and my space on the Chronicle, I’ve got a bigger audfeince than any progressive Houston blogger than but Kuffner. I was open to a discussion and you chose to make an enemy. You’re a fool.”

Marc has the story half right. I did call him a fool. It seemed a good response to anybody who says “folks like me.”  (Though I guess it is better than a Ross Perot “you people.”) Marc leaves out where I apologized to him. Lincoln (Photo Above) said it was always wrong to speak in anger. I’m happy to apologize to Marc right here again. Though I will say Marc is a bit misguided to regard me as a player around here when I don’t really see myself as such. Thanks for the promotion. 

Marc is nice to highlight my traffic. I’ve run 889 page views a day for 2008. And over 2,100 a day for November so far. These are good numbers and I’m proud to discuss them. They reflect a lot of work and time for not a dollar’s worth of pay. I’ve told Kuffner I’ll catch up with him. Self-promotion is the coin of the realm for bloggers. If I don’t do it, who will? (Besides Mr. Campos. I hope he’s not going to charge me a fee for the plug. I hope he spends the same time on his paying clients.

Here is the link to Kuffner. Here is a link to Julie Pippert at Momocrats. She also has very good traffic. Maybe higher than mine.


As for Councilman Rodriguez, here is the link to where he is a co-chair of the issues committee for Republican Bill King. (Picture Above. Mr Rodriguez is to the left of Mr. King. ) Mr. King is a former Mayor of Kemah who may well run for Mayor of Houston. According to the Chronicle, Mr. King has voted in Republican primaries for the last decade.  I’ve never posted on this issue before today. I might never have gotten around to it if not pressed. 

(Yes–I know Lincoln was a Republican as well. But that’s different.)

As for the question of Hispanic turnout in Houston, at what point does the Hispanic community itself bear some fault for the poor turnout? That was my question and it was a good one. Anyone got a thought?   

Mr. Campos gets it wrong in one big respect. I had not made my mind up about anything or anybody. I wanted to learn from the guy. That’s why I asked him a question. He seems unable to look past a George W. Bush black or white view of the world of are you with me or against me? If Marc is about outreach, doesn’t that mean talking to people?

In the year ahead I intend to post more than I have in the past about City of Houston politics. There are a number of people I figure I can learn from as we move ahead. If Marc would like to share his wisdom with me, I’d be more than happy to listen. I’ve e-mailed him saying that I would be happy to talk. I’m open to anybody who would like to talk.

As a matter of fact, I’ll give Mr. Campos and Mr. Rodriguez space on this blog to reply to anything I’ve said or to make any case they would like to make.

November 13, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Houston, Politics | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments