Image: Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley at right.
Magnolia, February 2 – Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley paid $10,000 for the fake “Conservative Republicans of Texas” (CRT) endorsement flyer that hit the mailboxes of primarily elderly Republican voters throughout Montgomery County over the past two days. Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Walter D. Wilkerson, Jr., has in the past been very critical of the CRT mailout. Many conservative Republican activists have criticized the “Pay-to-Play” aspect of the CRT mailout.
The mailout – largely aimed at elderly voters – asked voters to support Riley and his slate of allegedly “conservative” candidates. Many of the elderly voters then received follow-up calls telling them to send in and obtain an absentee ballot so they can vote for this slate of allegedly “conservative” candidates.
The CRT mailout
Even on its face, the CRT mailout is highly questionable. First, it falsely referred to Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and to Riley as “conservatives.” The mailout gave credit to Doyal and Riley for the 20% homestead exemption which the Commissioners Court approved in 2017 over the initial objections and opposition of Doyal and Riley.
The mailout falsely claimed that Doyal “reduced county tax rate and budget, saving taxpayers money,” when, in fact, Doyal’s efforts on the Commissioners Court have actually caused taxpayers to pay an additional 133% in taxes over the past ten years, because property tax appraisals have risen so rapidly. Doyal has overseen a 424% increase in County government spending since 2002 even though population has only grown 84% during that time period.
As to Riley, the mailout referred to Riley as a “strong Christian conservative” when he has had one of the most liberal, pro-spending voting records of any County Commissioner in Texas and also supported transgender adoptions twice. The mailout complimented Riley for “his focus on public safety” but the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Association has actually endorsed his opponent, Gregory Parker, for County Commissioner instead.
Both Doyal and Riley are under indictment for alleged violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act and are subjects of another Montgomery County Grand Jury investigation presently proceeding in Conroe.
The CRT mailout shows that the address of CRT is “PO Box 75190, Houston, TX 77234.” That address turns out to be an important part of the fake mailout and the true story behind it.
Second, the fake mailout clearly contains a list of endorsements of “establishment” candidates whom Riley would support over any reform candidates whom conservatives have lined up to support. The CRT mailout appears to be a Riley fake mail piece even on its face.
Riley’s Pay-to-Play connection
The facts show that Riley did, in fact, pay for the CRT mailout. CRT shows “PO Box 75190, Houston, TX 77234” as its address. That address appears prominently on Riley’s Campaign Finance Report as the address of Jeff Yates, a political consultant whose Yates Company is known for sending out fake endorsement mailouts used as a fundraiser for other clients of Yates.
If one examines Riley’s Campaign Finance Report that Riley filed on January 12, 2018, the exact same address, “PO Box 75190, Houston, TX 77234” appears next to $10,000 worth of payments Riley made to “The Yates Company.”
It turns out, however, that Riley has an additional connection to the fake CRT mailout and follow-up calls.
CRT has had to file reports with the Texas Ethics Commission in Austin. The Treasurer of CRT is none other than Bart C. Standley.
Standley is a name that often appears in Montgomery County government records of a certain type, because he is a registered civil engineer who works for RPS Klotz, an engineering firm that regularly does business with the Montgomery County government. Both RPS Klotz and Standley conduct extensive business with Riley who has hired them as Precinct 2 County Commissioner.
Therefore, the CRT mailout is little more than an endorsement list from Riley himself where he, of course, endorses himself.
County GOP Chairman Wilkerson’s reaction to CRT
Longtime Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Walter Wilkerson, Jr., has condemned CRT on at least two occasions for coming into Montgomery County as a Houston-controlled group and interfering with local elections.
In both 2008 and 2012, Wilkerson condemned CRT and their practice of mailing fake endorsement flyers like the one for which Riley paid, as his Campaign Finance Report reveals.
Wilkerson “sharply criticized the mailing and called it an intrusion into the Montgomery County Republican Party’s Primary election campaign by a Harris County organization.” Wilkerson elaborated, “We do not appreciate an outside political action committee’s attempt to influence the outcome of our local county races. The majority of the candidates on the sample ballot were not interviewed by Dr. Hotze or any representative of the committee.”
The highly-respected Republican Chairman, Wilkerson, added, “This Conservative Republicans of Texas mailing is especially disturbing because many county Republicans have been led to mistakenly believe the Montgomery County Republican Party was responsible for the mailing and the Party had violated the Bylaws that prohibits endorsement of any candidates in Primary races.”
Hopefully, Wilkerson will pull Riley aside privately and reprimand the beleaguered County Commissioner for this inexcusable deception of Montgomery County voters.
Riley did not return telephone calls seeking a comment.