Imagine a state legislator who, even before his final term in office ends, opens up a lobbying practice with a client base that includes state vendors and payday lenders.
Now imagine that it is discovered that this same former state legislator turned revolving door lobbyist used his campaign account to play the stock market and personally profited by more than $21,000 from a loan that he made to his campaign.
Let’s say this lobbyist decides he wants to go through the revolving door back into state government. He chooses as his campaign treasurer and co-chairman a serial adulterer who has fathered 9 children from 7 different women, acknowledged having sexual encounters with underage girls, and speaks favorably of this personal lifestyle.
Would you support a candidate like this in the Republican Primary?
The candidate/lobbyist described above is Sid Miller. He wants to be the next Texas Agriculture Commissioner. Amazingly, he is trying to position himself as a conservative and family values candidate. Unfortunately, some well-meaning conservative and Tea Party oriented voters have failed to vet Miller and have been conned into believing he represents their values.
In 2005, the Texas House considered House Bill 3, which was strongly opposed by many in the grassroots as amounting to a state income tax. Despite this, Sid Miller supported the idea of a state income tax in House Bill 3. Miller’s opponent in the Republican Run-Off Election for Agriculture Commissioner, former State Representative Tommy Merritt, voted against House Bill 3. Merritt was joined in his opposition to a state income tax by other conservative leaders in the legislature including Ken Paxton, who is in a run-off for Attorney General.
In 2009, when Ken Paxton challenged Joe Straus for Speaker of the Texas House, it was none other than Sid Miller that led the charge against Paxton as the hatchet man for the Straus team. In a widely distributed letter to a prominent conservative activist, Miller viciously attacked Paxton, questioned his conservatism, and accused him of “betrayal.” Miller now seeks the support of the same Tea Party activists whose work he undermined with his personal attacks on Ken Paxton and support of Joe Straus.
Sid Miller is running for Agriculture Commissioner and telling people that he makes his living off the land. However, documents submitted by Miller himself to state officials paint a much different picture.
Lobbyist registration forms submitted to the Texas Ethics Commission by Miller indicate that he made as much as $405,000 lobbying for eleven different clients. One of Miller’s largest lobby clients was Snap Trends, Inc., a state vendor that does business with the Texas Department of Public Safety. Miller is also a shareholder in Snap Trends, Inc. During his final term as a state legislator, Miller was the chairman of the House committee that had oversight over the Department of Public Safety. Another one of Miller’s major lobby clients, Sun Partners Capital, is involved in the payday loan industry.
The exact kind of revolving door lobbying that Sid Miller has found very lucrative has been targeted by conservatives and others concerned about ethics, integrity, and transparency in government. Over the past several legislative sessions, State Senator Dan Patrick has authored legislation that would require lawmakers to sit out at least two consecutive legislative sessions before they would be allowed to lobby.
Sid Miller has a long track record of ethically questionable behavior. He is currently the subject of a probe by the Texas Ethics Commission concerning the more than $21,000 he personally profited from by using his campaign account funds. In addition to this current investigation, Miller has been fined by the Texas Ethics Commission on three separate occasions for violations of campaign finance law, including his failure to disclose a business relationship with a lobbyist.
Also questionable is Miller’s decision to name rock musician Ted Nugent as his campaign treasurer and co-chairman, and his continued defense of Nugent in the wake of controversy. Nugent’s sexual encounters with underage girls and offensive comments regarding women and minorities have been well publicized in recent weeks. Texas Democrats and their friends in the liberal media want Sid Miller on the Republican ticket in November. They want to exploit his personal and political baggage for their maximum political advantage and to give new life to Wendy Davis’ fledgling campaign. They want to use Sid Miller’s numerous problems to distract from the real issues facing Texas in order to help elect Democrats up and down the ballot.
How sad would it be to wake up after election night to learn Democrats elected Kinky Friedman as Agriculture Commissioner, liberal activist judges, and other Democratic candidates across the state simply because of fatally flawed Republicans like Sid Miller?
Don’t let the dreams of progressive liberal activists come true. Vote against Sid Miller for Agriculture Commissioner in the Republican Run-Off.
Mark McCaig is the host of "The Mark McCaig Show" on AM 1070 The Answer in Houston and a former member of the Texas State Republican Executive Committee