In campaign where ethics dominates as issue, Walker’s Campaign Finance Report starkly different from opponents in Precinct 1 Commissioner’s race

In campaign where ethics dominates as issue, Walker’s Campaign Finance Report starkly different from opponents in Precinct 1 Commissioner’s race

Image: Robert Walker (right), Precinct 1 Montgomery County Commissioner Mike Meador’s (left) first cousin, is running to replace the retiring Meador. It’s business as usual for Montgomery County vendors who are treating Walker as though he were the incumbent.

Conroe and Willis, July 24 – Given the importance of ethics as an issue in the campaign to replace Precinct 1 Montgomery County Commissioner Mike Meador who will retire on December 31, 2020, the Campaign Finance Report filings present starkly different pictures. Robert Walker, Meador’s first cousin, appears to be running a campaign as though he were the incumbent.

Montgomery County vendors, who have greased Meador with substantial campaign contributions over the years in order to procure lucrative County government contracts, have come out in enormous force to invest in Walker to replace their close friend Meador who has shoveled many tens of millions of dollars their direction. Meanwhile, Walker’s two ostensible opponents in the race have raised less money than several of Walker’s largest individual campaign contributions.

With the funding disparity, it’s clear that conflicts of interest with Montgomery County vendors are a huge problem in the race for Commissioner Precinct 1 but they don’t appear to bother Walker at all.

Total fundraising for the filing period of January 1, 2019, through June 30, 2019, follows:

  • Businessman Robert Walker, $134,900, plus $8,000 in loans Walker made to his own campaign, for a total of $142,900;
  • Pastor Billy Graff, $4,455;
  • Businessman John Davis, $0.

Davis spent $1,049.41 of his own money in the campaign so far. Graff has spent $1,475.85. Graff’s son made $3,000 contribution to his father. Graff made a $1,000 contribution to himself.

In other words, from a campaign finance perspective, it appears there is presently only one candidate in the Precinct 1 Commissioner race, Robert Walker.

In other words, from a campaign finance perspective, it appears there is presently only one candidate in the Precinct 1 Commissioner race, Robert Walker.

Physically, there’s a big difference in the Campaign Finance filings. Graff’s entire Report is 7 pages. Davis’ Report is 9 pages. Walker’s report is more than an inch high.

Of Walker’s contributors, $36,150 have addresses outside of Montgomery County. Approximately two-thirds of Walker’s contributors by dollar amount of contribution are individuals who are vendors or do some other form of business regularly with the Montgomery County government.

Nevertheless, the appearance of County government vendors in a gigantic manner is particularly troubling in a campaign where ethics and County government spending are the primary issues.

Walker’s contributors include, among others:

  • Calvin Ladner, President of LJA Associates, an engineering firm which has several enormous contracts with the Montgomery County government, $8,000;
  • Peggy Ray, $10,000;
  • Russell Miller, the owner of Fairweather Construction, which almost entirely depends upon government contracts from Meador, $4,130;
  • Cobb Fendley PAC, an engineering firm, $2,000;
  • Jim Russ, President of EHRA Engineering, $1,500;
  • Rich Muller, tollroad lawyer, $500;
  • The Yancey family, contractors, $2,500;
  • S&B PAC, an engineering firm, $1,500;
  • Schwarz, Page & Harding law firm, the law firm which represents the San Jacinto River Authority as well as numerous municipal utility districts and other special purpose districts, $500;
  • Bob Smith, the owner of Geoscience Engineering, $5,000;
  • Terracon PAC, an engineering and construction firm, $500;
  • Don Reed, $2,000;
  • Randy Roan of Roan Construction, $900;
  • John Holzwarth, the octogenarian engineer who has a lucrative contract with the County government, $2,500;
  • Costello PAC, an engineering firm, $1,500;
  • Halff & Associates PAC, the engineering firm with several connections to the Montgomery County Toll Road Authority and numerous Precinct 1 road projects, $1,000;
  • Ranney McDonough, $1,500;
  • Jack Miller, $1,500;
  • Bobby Finley, $805;

Walker’s contributors also include, among others:

  • Disgraced former County Judge Craig Doyal, $100;
  • Precinct 1 Constable Phillip Cash, $500.

Although many have suggested Walker dissociate himself with the social planner whom he has hired to help Meador run his campaign, Walker paid her $9,750 during the reporting period.

At the June 25, 2019, meeting of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court, Meador, Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts, and Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley issued their message loud and clear: they will absolutely not tolerate ethical behavior in the Montgomery County government. After Montgomery County Republican Party Vice Chairman Reagan Reed criticized the unethical conduct of Metts’ political buddy Precinct 4 Constable Rowdy Hayden, who faces a six-month suspension of his peace officer license for submitting a false government record to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), Metts, Riley, and Meador booted Reed off of the County government’s “ethics committee,” a powerless body, because, as Metts explained, “…I believed I had confidence in him that he would make good decisions and he would be unethical in anything to come before him on the committee. I no longer have that confidence.”

That Reed was ethical with respect to County government behavior was absolutely unacceptable to Meador, Metts, and Riley. By a 3 to 2 vote, with Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack and Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, the “People’s Judge,” dissenting, the “unethical” three got rid of a young man of unimpeachable ethics and integrity, Reagan Reed.

Robert Walker is a nice person. He should seriously reflect whether he wants to appear as the Commissioner candidate whom Meador’s vendor buddies have bought before Walker even were to take the oath of office.

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