The King Street Patriots may have illegally supported GOP candidates for office, according to a complaint filed with the Texas Ethics Commission today.
Ethics watchdog organization Texans For Public Justice accuses the Houston-area Tea Party group and its anti-voter fraud initiative, True the Vote, of making in-kind donations to political parties and candidates worth "tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars," which Texas law prohibits it from doing as a nonprofit corporation. Those contributions include promoting Republican candidates for office and producing professional videos and communication materials to recruit "conservative" poll watchers for the Harris County Republican Party.
The Liberty Institute, a conservative legal foundation that represents the group, released the following statement in response to the complaint:
This ethics complaint filed by a George Soros funded corporation is a bullying tactic to intimidate citizens into silence. It won’t work. Citizens have every right to speak out and encourage citizens to vote and be involved in their government. Trying to bully and intimidate citizens into silence is politics at its worst. It is an embarrassment. It is also unconstitutional.
The King Street Patriots also currently face a defamation lawsuit for statements made by one of its leaders, Catherine Engelbrecht, linking a Harris County voter registration drive to the New Black Panthers. Read the Texas Tribune story on that lawsuit here. Download the full TPJ complaint above.