AUSTIN (KXAN) – The group that filed the complaint against Governor Rick Perry in the first place, Texans For Public Justice, has a history of going after Republican leaders.
“We primarily keep databases of campaign contributions and lobby expenditures in an effort to fair it out in terms of who’s paying who to do what to whom in Texas politics,” explained Andrew Wheat, the research director for Texans for Public Justice.
The Perry complaint is just one of dozens the group has filed since its inception. But some question if they are as truly nonpartisan as they claim since most of their complaints have been against Republicans.
“The problem being there are no (other) statewide public officials in Texas,” Wheat says. “They’re all Republican.”
But Wheat does say they’ve filed complaints against other public officials who are Democrats.
TPJ consists of two full time employees and one part time employee and relies strictly on funding from both individual donors and private foundations, like the group Voqal who donated $25,000 this year.
Their annual report last year listed TPJ’s total income at nearly $200,000. Without it, Wheat says the group wouldn’t exist. He adds, “Somebody needs to hold the powerful accountable.”
Wheat says they average three to four criminal and civil complaints per year but, right now, they’re not looking into anyone else.
KXAN wanted to know who some of the individuals donors are. However, Texans for Public Justice won’t release that information due to fear of retaliation.
As for the accusation they only go after Republicans, TPJ says they filed complaints against Democrats most recently with the Texas Ethics Commission in 2009.
The group said two Democratic State Board of Education members; Rick Agosto and Rene Nunez received expensive gifts like Ohio State University football tickets but didn’t disclose them.
We checked out those cases today. The one against Agosto was dismissed but the commission found Nunez violated several laws. Both Agosto and Nunez are now off of the Board.