Letters to the Editors



I am not surprised to see my name in the politically motivated article “Last Train to Texas” (Sept. 3). The Texas Observer has a long history of arbitrarily sticking my name into stories where it doesn’t belong, quoting me out of context, and making outlandish claims without any sources or evidence whatsoever.

Despite the many times the Observer has printed my name, no one has ever requested an interview, called to fact-check a story, or even had the courtesy of contacting my office. Whatever happened to the basic principles of journalistic integrity in which reporters actually spoke to the people they wrote about and editors checked facts and stories included multiple points of view? It’s time for The Texas Observer to provide some evidence to support its reporting and stop trying to connect imaginary dots.

For the record, I provide long-term strategic business consulting for clients in a variety of industry sectors, the vast majority of which are not engaged in disaster response and recovery. I believe in honesty and integrity in business and that’s why I list my clients on my firm’s Web site and on disclosure forms with the U.S. Congress. It would be no skin off my nose or money out of my pocket if there were a lifetime ban on federal contract procurement for those who have served in high government posts. It’s not what I do.

Efforts to link me to government contracts are intellectually dishonest. You will not find any published reports that cite a named source or provide any proof to support such a claim. It simply isn’t true. The Texas Observer is guilty of using reports published elsewhere as primary sources and passing along erroneous information that some other reporter had improperly used.

I deal my cards on top of the table; I return reporters’ calls and answer questions honestly. It is time for The Texas Observer to stop tarnishing my good name with unfounded allegations.

Joe M. AllbaughPresident & CEOThe Allbaugh Company, LLCAustin

The Observer Replies:

Joe Allbaugh is correct that he was not asked for comment for our September 19 cover story, “Last Train to Texas.” Mr. Allbaugh asserts that his various business enterprises are not involved in federal contract procurement-either in a direct or advisory role. For our story, author Anthony Zurcher relied on news accounts in The Washington Post and USA Today. In 2005, the Post quoted Mr. Allbaugh saying, “I tell [clients] how to best craft their pitch, to craft their technical expertise so everybody knows exactly what they do.” Mr. Allbaugh disputes the accuracy of these news stories. Neither the Post or USA Today has retracted or corrected its account.

-The Editors