The Big Conversation
GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz responded to a news report that he failed to disclose a loan from Goldman Sachs during his 2012 Senate run by describing the problem as "an inadvertent filing question."
“Those loans had been disclosed over and over and over again on multiple filings,” the Tribune's Patrick Svitek reported Cruz as saying. “If it was the case that they were not filed exactly as the [Federal Election Commission] requires, then we’ll amend the filings, but all of the information has been public and transparent for many years, and that’s the end of that."
Cruz was reacting to a report from The New York Times that detailed low-interest loans from Goldman Sachs, which employed Cruz's wife, and from Citibank.
The Times reported the loans work against Cruz's narrative on the campaign trail that he and his wife decided "to liquidate our entire net worth" on his ultimately successful run for the Senate. The Times also reported that the disclosure of a loan from a high-profile Wall Street firm "might have conveyed the wrong impression for his candidacy. Mr. Cruz, a conservative former Texas solicitor general, was campaigning as a populist firebrand who criticized Wall Street bailouts and the influence of big banks in Washington."
Svitek reported that rival candidates for the GOP presidential nomination had already begun to pick up on that line of attack Wednesday night.
"Unreported 7 figure Goldman Sachs loans are standard for authentic anti-establishment leadrs, right? Right? Bueller?" tweeted Jim Merrill, a senior adviser to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
Trib Must Reads
As "El Chapo" Extradition Unfolds, Border Region Could See Impact, by Julián Aguilar — While Mexican and U.S. officials discuss drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán's extradition, some wonder if a surge in cartel violence along the Texas-Mexico border could follow.
Border Patrol Agent Indicted in Cartel Murder, by Jay Root — The capital murder indictment of a U.S. Border Patrol agent with drug cartel ties should signal that local authorities will fight back against violence spilling over from Mexico, the Cameron County district attorney said Wednesday.
Investigators: No Evidence of Cheating in UT Basketball, by Matthew Watkins — An investigation commissioned by the University of Texas at Austin has found "no evidence" of academic cheating by its basketball players. The NCAA has also decided not to pursue any punishment.
Trump Campaign Loses Texas State Director, by Patrick Svitek — The head of Donald Trump's presidential campaign in Texas has left his post.
Pro-Ted Cruz Super PACs Target Marco Rubio, by Patrick Svitek — Ted Cruz may be increasingly setting his sights on Donald Trump, but the super PACs supporting the U.S. senator from Texas are keeping another White House hopeful in their crosshairs.
The Day Ahead
• The seven leading GOP candidates for president meet for a debate in North Charleston, S.C. The encounter, scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. CST, will be broadcast by the Fox Business Network and will be live streamed on FOXBusiness.com.
• Tribune CEO and editor-in-chief Evan Smith moderates a lunch hour discussion with Austin state Reps. Celia Israel, Eddie Rodriguez and Paul Workman. The event takes place at St. Edward's University and will be live streamed on the Tribune’s website for those unable to attend in person.
Debate a key test of how Ted Cruz handles Donald Trump challenge, The Dallas Morning News
Why Cruz decided to take on Trump, Politico
Ted Cruz Starts to Crack G.O.P. Establishment’s Wall of Opposition, The New York Times
Exclusive: Ted Cruz Sees an Emerging Two-Man Race With Trump, US News & World Report
State employee on probation following conflict of interest probe, Houston Chronicle
Texas retired teachers’ group worries about insurance deal, Austin American-Statesman
New Mexico AG seeks funds in Rio Grande water fight, The Associated Press
Health clinics could be penalized for banning guns under new law, Houston Chronicle
Another migration crisis may be looming, The Dallas Morning News
Quote to Note
“My qualifications for president of the United States are rather narrow: Is he or she Godly, does he or she love us, can he or she do the job, and finally would they kill a duck and put him in a pot and make him a good duck gumbo?”
— Phil Robertson of "Duck Dynasty" fame, detailing in a Ted Cruz campaign video why he's endorsing the Texas senator for president
Today in TribTalk
New Texas Education Commissioner Morath has promising pre-K record, by Stephanie Rubin — Some have expressed concerns about new Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath's views on school choice and his work on a “home rule” proposal in Dallas. But his track record shows he is a strong believer in the power of quality pre-K to boost school readiness and academic achievement.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• A Conversation with Steve McCraw, Texas DPS Director on Jan. 19 at the Austin Club
• A Conversation with Comptroller Glenn Hegar on Jan. 21 at the Austin Club
• A Symposium on Urban Public Education on Jan. 22 at the University of Texas at El Paso
• A Conversation on Health Care: Bending the Cost Curve on Jan. 28 at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth
• The Texas Tribune's second Texas-centric Trivia Night on Jan. 31 at The Highball in Austin
• A Conversation with Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer on Feb. 4 at the Austin Club
• A Conversation with Sen. José Menéndez on Feb. 11 at the Austin Club
• The Ticket: A Live Recording and Democratic Primary Debate Watch Party on Feb. 11 at KUT Public Media Studios in Austin
• A Conversation with Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. and Rep. Jose Manuel Lozano on Feb. 25 at Texas A&M University-Kingsville
• A Conversation with Sen. Carlos Uresti and Rep. Poncho Nevárez on March 23 at Sul Ross State University in Alpine
• A Symposium on Transportation on March 29 at Texas A&M University in College Station