For Albert Lipscomb Dist. #3 WE URGE YOUR SUPPORT FOR OUR CANDIDATES FOR COUNTY COMMISSIONER DISTRICTS #3 and #4 on MAY 6. SuP PAL *Open Housing * County Reforms *Welfare Increase * Busing *Equal Education * Tax Stabilization May We Recommend: AL LIPSCOMB for COMMISSIONER DIST. 3 DICK REED for COMMISSIONER DIST. 4 Democratic Primary Saturday, May 6 Committee for Lipscomb Reed The flier in question: note phony committee name. Dirty tricks in Dallas By Colleen O’Connor Austin In May, 1974, the statute of limitations will run out on an illegal “dirty trick” which helped defeat a Dallas liberal in his race for county commissioner in May, 1972. And, despite a renewed outrage against political dirty tricks on a national level, it looks as if little will be done to prosecute the perpetrators of a fraud that the candidate, two-term Rep. Dick Reed, says cost him the election. Not that Reed hasn’t tried. In fact, he’s spent a good deal of his time and personal finances since the election investigating a handbill which was circulated two days before the election in the white areas of racially-mixed southwest Dallas County precinct 4. The handbill, an obvious tactic to inflame racial hatred against Reed, was a direct violation of Article 14.10 of the Texas Election Code which says circulars must identify the individuals printing and distributing them. The handout purported to be from Reed’s committee and linked him to an outspoken black candidate, as well as advocating busing, open housing and increased welfare. Reed claims that flier was enough to send droves of white conservatives to the polls to vote against him. ALTHOUGH HE has what he considers a strong case of circumstantial evidence that his opponent in the race, Roy Orr, was responsible for the handbill, Reed hasn’t been able to get the authorities to take action. The county sheriff’s office refused to press charges. The Dallas Police Department shuffled Reed’s request for an investigation around several offices at City Hall, then did nothing. After some insistence on the part of the Fair Campaign Practices Committee, District Attorney Henry Wade referred the investigation without a recommendation for action or a preliminary investigation by the D.A.’s office to the presiding grand jury. The grand jury, after only three hours O’Connor is the editor of The Dallas Journalism Review. 12 The Texas Observer of testimony, refused to pursue an investigation. When Reed took his case to Secretary of State Bob Bullock \(who also serves as chief elections officer for the about and then forgotten. He also filed a civil suit, but was forced to drop that because of financial reasons. As a last resort, Reed wrote to acting U.S. Attorney General Robert Bork Oct. 23, asking for an investigation by the Justice Department. In his letter to Bork, Reed related his futile attempts to use local and state legal channels in seeking his vindication. He attributed that to a near cabal among the people in office who give their allegiance to the Democratic Party’s ubiquitous machine. “The unwillingness of these officials election laws in my case and in similar ones,” Reed told Bork, “lies in the fact that the Connally-Strauss political machine has, since 1960, generally been able to handpick most Democratic nominees, and to effectively prevent the election, by whatever means necessary, of those who challenge their candidates. Roy Orr … was just a handpicked candidate.” There really isn’t any doubt that Orr had the backing of the Democratic machine and that Reed, a Dirty 30 legislator who considers himself a reformist, was on his own when he decided to run. In fact National Democratic Party Chairman Robert Strauss gave $250 to the Orr campaign. \(Earlier this year, Strauss came back to Dallas in order to appear at an appreciation Judge Lew Sterrett, somewhat of a folk hero to the rank-and-file segregationists of Precinct 4, sent letters of endorsement during the campaign. It was Sterrett, incidentally, who appointed Orr to the $26,900-a-year commissioner position in 1971 when commissioner Denver Seale died. WH EN REED brought his charges up for investigation, he was told by nearly every law enforcement agency that he had no tangible proof that Orr was behind the flier. Reed himself was accused by Orr of malicious mud-slinging and similar tactics. But, of course, since Orr won the election \(by a need to follow up on his charges. On denied that he knew anything about the handout. After the votes were counted, he told a Dallas Times-Herald reporter that he suspected that Reed had put out the circular. Why Reed would do that Orr didn’t say. In the meantime, Reed set out to substantiate his claims. After studying the printing process, examining the typeface on the flier, tracking the sources of the photographs, and tracing the delivery procedures, Reed concluded that the handbill was the work of an employee of a suburban weekly newspaper. The machine used to reproduce the flier was a small out-of-make offset press called a “Chief 22.” He established that there are only four of them in the area and that one belongs to a close associate of Orr’s PR man during the 1972 campaign. Someone paid $825 to Dinwiddie
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.