19625 Texas Observer Kickapoo Contributions To Statewide and Legislative Candidates, 1997-2002 Office Held Kickapoo Donation Candidate or Sought Donor Entity Date Amount Total Governor Tribe 10/03/01 $5,000* 6/17/02 $25,000* $30,000 Land Ofc. Casino 2/19/02 $10,000 5/24/02 $10,000 $20,000 A.G. Tribe 8/13/98 $15,000 $15,000 A.G. Nation 10/17/02 $10,0001 $10,000 House Casino 9/25/01 $10,000 $10,000 A.G. Tribe 10/14/02 $10,000t $10,000 Comptroller Casino 2/19/02 $5,000* 6/02/02 $5,000* $10,000 Senate Casino 10/20/01 $5,000 $5,000 TOTALS: $110,000 $110,000 *Appears to be a contribution to a “state-wide elected official” cited in the indictment. The old Kickapoo regime made these contributions in its last two weeks in power. been sealed even before he was elected, took office, and got appointed toof all thingsthe House Law Enforcement Committee. One week before Timo’s November 2002 election, the 500-member Kickapoo tribe elected a new slate of tribal leaders who accused their predecessors of mismanagement and corruption. The indictment alleges that the defendants improperly spent some Kickapoo funds, secretly subsidizing the political campaigns of both Isidro and Timo Garza. Prosecutors charged Isidro with using the casino’s corporate credit card to pay for $3,664 worth of flyers for his campaign against Congressman Bonilla. Two years later, they allege, the casino poured $143,075 into Timo’s House race, including paying for signs, campaign workers, and musicians for campaign rallies. During this period, the Garza campaign disclosed just one payment to the Lucky Eagle Casino: a big, round figure of $10,000 for “Copies and Supplies.” Although the campaign said this payment occurred on April 10, 2002, it did not list this check in an initial report filed with the state in July 2002. The fact that the campaign only disclosed this huge reimbursement in a “corrected” report filed in early October could indicate that Garza foresaw the possibility of an audit if the Kickapoo elected new leadershipas they did several weeks later. Timo’s attorney Robert Garza, who is not related to the defendants, noted that, “the casino apparently subsidized many other campaigns, too.” He added that his client “is innocent and plans to aggressively defend himself.” Apart from Isidro and Timo Garza, the grand jury convened by U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, a George W. Bush appointee, mentions just one other recipient of questionable Kickapoo political contributions by name: the Washington-based It received a total of $30,000 from the Lucky Eagle Casino in 1999 and 2000. More obliquely, the indictment mentions four specific contributions totaling $40,000 to certain unnamed statewide elected officialsa class of politicians who are all Republicans. Yetgiven the dates and amounts of these contributionsthe recipients almost certainly were Governor declined to say why the indictment names some recipients of disputed Kickapoo contributions while referring to others generically. A Strayhorn spokesperson said that prosecutors have not contacted her office about the Kickapoo case. The governor’s office and Perry campaign director Luis Saenz did not return calls asking if prosecutors had contacted them. \(When Timo fled with other House Democrats to Ardmore, Oklahoma, to postpone the 2003 Congressional redistricting vote, Governor Perry called the Eagle Pass representative directly in an unsucA further indictment mystery is why the grand jury focused on the four Kickapoo contributions that Perry and Strayhorn apparently received. The indictment never mentions $70,000 worth of contributions that the old Kickapoo regime made to other statewide and legislative candidates between 1997 and 2002. The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on this point. One explanation is that prosecutors only cited contributions that they believe were made without proper tribal approval. Although the indictment does not mention Texas attorney general candidates, no other kind of state politician received more contributions from the old Kickapoo regime. The top recipient of this cash was Democrat Jim Mattox, who lost the 8 THE TEXAS OBSERVER FEBRUARY 4, 2005
You May Also Like
The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.