First, let’s reset the story. This quote from County Judge Ed Emmett appeared in a couple of small editions of the Houston Chronicle:
And, in the words of Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who attended the town hall with his wife, Gwen, the Republican Party “is a mess.” The local party office has been closed for days because the staff hasn’t been paid, Emmett said.
At first, I didn’t believe it, so I called the reporter, Robin Foster. She freelances for the Chronicle and assured me that it was true. I noted that she had Judge Emmett’s wife’s name incorrect (she had it as Gina) but she insisted that her quote was true. So I called Judge Emmett and he verified it – yes, he said it and yes the offices were closed because Jeff Yates and Marc Cowart hadn’t been paid.
So I went with it and everyone went nuts. My original story was posted at Lonestartimes.com and was lost forever in a server crash later that year. But that doesn’t change the fact that it happened – I have no idea why Jared didn’t just own up to it and send out a clarion call for more funds.
Instead, one of his central campaign themes has been that he has raised over $7 million during his eight years in office. In fact, both Gov. Perry and Sen. Dan Patrick “thank” him for his superb fundraising ability, conveniently overlooking the fact, and it is fact, that for a time last year, the HCRP offices were literally closed because the bulk money that had come in was simply candidate pass-throughs for judicial candidates.
One thing about campaign funds, though – they are pretty transparent if you can get the campaigns to file correct reports. When reviewing HCRP finances, you need to look through three different accounts:
Only then will you get a true picture of the HCRP’s finances. So…let’s take a look at the payroll from last year for the two employees they had at the time, Executive Director Jeff Yates, and Deputy Director Marc Cowart. Remember, Woodfill supporters are telling people that I was wrong, that Judge Emmett was wrong, that it just plain didn’t happen. They are wrong, it did, in fact, happen.
As you can see from the table above, the first six months were lean for Mr. Yates and Mr. Cowart. The second six months, they fared better and caught up – I don’t know what their exact salaries should be but if you divide their yearly total by 26 pay periods, it comes up just short of what appears to be their bi-weekly salaries.
Also note carefully the months of May and June, the time during which Judge Emmett and I took note of the HCRP’s financial problems. Mr. Yates received one quarter of his normal salary, Mr. Cowart one half.
It happened. It is a fact. The Woodfill camp needs to move on.
Now, about that rent. We see the same pattern:
Those are payments to the landlord, Western Properties. Notice how the HCRP struggled to pay the rent in April and May. The payments ceased altogther after that August 11th payment until March 4th of this year. On that date, a payment of $1,658 was sent to Western. As I noted here, I think that Jared announced that he was able to negotiate a new lease at one of the debates but I cannot confirm that.
But the fact is that the HCRP struggled to make their rent payments. It is just a fact, nothing more or less.
Just like the payroll. They happened.
Now stop trying to rewrite history.