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Lone Star Project Report

Like Father, Like Daughter

Ethics Complaints Filed Against Tom and Christi Craddick

For former Texas Speaker of the House Tom Craddick and current Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick, politics is not the only family tradition. It appears they make time for money laundering, too.

Complaints filed with the Texas Ethics Commission charge the Craddicks, along with State House political crony Rep. Phil King, with forming a conspiracy to illegally funnel $25,000 to Christi Craddick’s 2012 campaign for the Texas Railroad Commission.

Making contributions or expenditures in someone else’s name is a violation of Texas Election Code Sec. 253.001, punishable by up to a year in jail and / or a fine up to $4000.

Scheme designed to hide Tom Craddick as source of funds

The $25,000 donation was concealed to hide the fact that Tom Craddick was the brains—and the billfold—behind his daughter’s race for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission.

In the weeks leading up to July 2012 Republican Party primary runoff, Christi Craddick needed cash. Her opponent, Rep. Warren Chisum, was making headway by attacking her for her dependence on her father’s money—and he had a point. Christi Craddick’s parents had already funneled more than $340,000 in direct and in kind contributions to her campaign.

Now Christi Craddick needed more money, but she needed to conceal the source was her father Tom Craddick.

Ethics Complaint Details Path of Hidden Funds

This is how the ethics complaints expose the illegal money trail:

First, Tom Craddick made a $25,000 donation to Rep. Phil King. Then King passed the money on to the Dallas-Fort Worth Conservative Voters PAC, which then used the money to help Christi Craddick in her primary.

Tom Craddick did not report his contribution to Phil King until after the 2012 vote. In fact, King still hasn't reported taking the money from Craddick.

Not the First Scandal for Christi and Tom Craddick

This isn't the first time the Craddicks have been investigated for ethical violations involving money and politics, friends and family.

Back in 2008, Tom and Christi Craddick were the focus of another formal ethics complaint charging that Tom Craddick paid his daughter a total of $625,000 in campaign money as a “consultant”—something that is against state law.

Tom Craddick also worked to change Texas insurance eligibility laws so to allow his adult daughter, Christi Craddick, to remain a “dependent” so she could continue to receive Texas taxpayer-funded health care.

Will Abbott Unload Christi Craddick?

Christi Craddick’s past and current ethical problems make her damaged goods, yet she was recently named to head the Texas Republican Party 2014 Victory Fund, a move many saw as a bid to court women voters.

Greg Abbott declared her appointment a great idea, saying, “I couldn't think of a better selection than Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick to help lead Republicans.”

He might think again. The Texas Ethics Commission will—once again—look into Craddick political corruption. While Abbott himself is facing criticism for approving bond contracts for law firms that contribute to his campaign.

“Greg Abbott and his allies are overtly hostile to Texas women and their families. In order to find a woman to defend them, they had to trot out Christi Craddick, who sits under a dark ethics cloud,” said Matt Angle, Lone Star Project Director.