Throughout his campaign for Agriculture Commissioner, former State Representative turned lobbyist Sid Miller has not constrained himself to the truth while seeking the support of Republican voters. Miller’s lies were on full display at a recent candidate forum in Tarrant County, the video of which is available online here.
Here are a few examples of Sid Miller’s dishonesty on full display, along with documentation to refute his bogus claims:
Sid Miller’s Lie:< Miller says his lobby work was for pro-life, school choice, and agriculture groups, “helping the same people I helped before” (1:17:45)
Truth: Miller’s own filings with the Texas Ethics Commission (available here) indicate he made as much as $405,000 last year lobbying on behalf of eleven different clients. None of Miller’s lobby clients appear to be pro-life or school choice organizations. Only one of his lobby clients, the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association, appears to be an agriculture group. This was also one of his smallest lobby clients, with Miller reporting under $10,000 in compensation from them.
Miller’s largest lobby clients, with each generating between $50,000 and $99,999 in lobby income for Miller were Snap Trends, Inc. and Impact Texas Communications. Snap Trends is a government vendor of social media tracking services that does business with several state agencies and other public entities. On his most recent personal financial statement, Miller also reported owning between 5,000 and 9,999 shares of stock in this privately held government contractor.
Impact Texas Communications is a lobbying and public relations company owned by Miller’s longtime political consultant and business partner Todd M. Smith. In 2009, Miller was fined by the Texas Ethics Commission for failing to disclose a business relationship between him and Smith.
Miller’s third largest lobby client, which generated between $25,000 and $49,999 in lobby income for him, was Sun Partners Capital, LP. This company is involved in the payday loan industry.
Unless the same people Miller “helped” as a state legislator were state vendors, payday lenders, and his lobbyist business partner/political consultant, it sure looks like Sid Miller’s career as a revolving door lobbyist was motivated by financial gain, not ideology or altruism.
Sid Miller’s Lie: Miller says my ethics complaint against him regarding over $21,000 he personally profited from a loan he made to his campaign does not constitute a violation of the law and will not be considered by the Ethics Commission (1:19:00)
Truth: This past December, I filed a sworn complaint against Miller with the Texas Ethics Commission regarding over $21,000 in interest payments Miller personally pocketed from a personal loan he made his campaign. Miller has admitted that he personally profited from this loan, but contends he did nothing illegal. I disagree, and believe the interest payment violated state law. The complaint also included allegations on possible clerical errors I also found, such as that Miller did not report the loan on his personal financial statements and that Miller’s campaign finance reports failed to report the total amount of outstanding loans.
On December 19, 2013, I received a letter from the Texas Ethics Commission accepting my complaint as it related to the improper interest payment as well as Miller’s 2012 personal financial statement. I was notified in this letter that the Commission would not pursue any allegations relating to Miller’s 2011 personal financial statement or the reporting of loan totals. On March 24, 2014, I received a status letter from the Texas Ethics Commission informing me that my complaint against Miller is currently pending.
I have publicly released all correspondence I have sent to or received from the Texas Ethics Commission regarding my complaint against Sid Miller, and I call on him to do the same. Instead of publicly defending his decision to pocket over $21,000 from his campaign, Miller has instead chosen to lie about me and the status of my complaint.
Sid Miller’s Lie: Miller says “I did, uh, not back Joe Straus against, uh, or say anything derogatory about Ken Paxton when he ran against Joe Straus” (1:20:40)
Truth: Sid Miller was one of the most visible and vocal supporters of Joe Straus’ campaign for Speaker against Ken Paxton. In a letter to conservative activist Donna Garner dated January 4, 2011, Miller wrote in strong support of Speaker Straus’ re-election as Speaker. Miller also had some choice words about Ken Paxton, stating “It seems that Ken Paxton was willing to sacrifice Craddick’s conservative leadership of the Texas House and endanger his reelection as Speaker so that he could support a more moderate legislator from his home county.”
Miller further attacked Paxton and his conservative credentials in this letter, saying “Ken Paxton promises that he will be more conservative than Joe Straus, but the record is clear. At a time when we needed him to stand up for conservative values, Ken Paxton was willing to put geography ahead of conservative values. I am simply not willing to reward that kind of betrayal.”
In addition to his letter to Garner, Miller also wrote a widely distributed open letter in support of Joe Straus to then-State Representative Leo Berman, a vocal Straus opponent. In this letter, Miller accused Berman of making “vicious personal attacks against our Republican brothers and sisters” and “childish attacks which do nothing but empower liberals.”
After Joe Straus was re-elected as Speaker at the start of the 2011 legislative session, he appointed Sid Miller as Chairman of the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee.
Sid Miller has aggressively sought the support of many of the same organizations and activists that have opposed Joe Straus over the past several years. Instead of being open and honest about his support of Straus and attacks against Ken Paxton, Sid Miller has instead chosen to lie to these voters in an attempt to gain their support for his campaign for Agriculture Commissioner.
Texans deserve an Agriculture Commissioner with honesty and integrity, not a political opportunist like Sid Miller who will tell shameless lies to court votes. Tommy Merritt deserves your vote in the upcoming Republican runoff.
Mark McCaig is President of Texans For Individual Rights and a former member of the State Republican Executive Committee.