Former Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says he is finally paying off the nearly $1 million in debts owed to campaign consultants and vendors since his lopsided loss to Ted Cruz in the 2012 U.S. Senate race.
In a Sept. 22 letter received by one of the vendors, Dewhurst, a multi-millionaire, said he would fork over $800,000 to his old Senate campaign account in order to pay the debts in full over the next year.
Dewhurst, a Republican, said he wasn’t legally required to settle the debts from the 2012 race, and he took a shot at some of the vendors who went public with their complaints about the thousands of dollars they were owed.
“While there is obviously no legal obligation that I personally pay the vendors invoices, and while a few of you let me down with messaging and media that was counter-productive, plus there were mistakes in polling, we all went through a tough time,” Dewhurst wrote. “Therefore, I have decided to pay the vendor invoices in full.”
Dewhurst blamed the delays on a former aide who bilked his state and federal campaign committee for millions. In February, Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for embezzling millions of dollars from Dewhurst’s campaign for the U.S. Senate.
Barfield had pleaded guilty in October to charges of wire fraud, falsifying tax returns and tapping funds contributed to a federal candidate. Barfield admitted to taking $1.8 million from the David Dewhurst Committee and the Dewhurst for Texas campaign funds from 2008 to 2012.
“This has been a difficult experience for both of us,” Dewhurst said in the letter. “I hope you never experience a betrayal.”
Dewhurst suggested that Barfield's thievery may have cost him the election he lost in July 2012 to firebrand Republican Cruz, who is now running for president.
Dewhurst wrote that "Barfield's theft of campaign funds in the 2012 runoff, which included in part critically important get-out-the-vote funds, may have changed history."
One of the vendors who got the letter, media and digital consultant Ryan Gravatt of Austin-based Raconteur Media, was owed $45,000. He applauded the former lieutenant governor for making good on the debt.
"I know David and I knew he would do his best to make this right. It's been a long time and I had my doubts,” Gravatt said. “But I'm glad to hear from him personally and to know that I'll be fully reimbursed. The entire ordeal is sad for David. But he's acting with grace and courage, which is what I believed he would do."