Image: Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley (left) and his mentor and criminal co-indictee, lame duck County Judge Craig Doyal (right), eating cake.
Conroe and Magnolia, May 18 – Readers of The Golden Hammer may recall the so-called “Conservative Republicans of Texas” (CRT) fake endorsement organization which Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley paid $2,000 per month so that they would “endorse” him along with other establishment candidates whom Riley selected. Riley ran those funds through The Yates Company, a Houston political consulting firm that CRT uses as well.
On May 14, 2018, Riley filed his Campaign Finance Report eight days ahead of the May 22 Republican Runoff Election, but, this time, Riley forgot to mask the CRT payment. The campaign finance report shows an $11,500 payment to “Conservative Republicans of Texas.” Riley paid the group to endorse him, so that he and his supporters could lie to voters that Riley had the “Republican endorsement” in the March 6 Republican Primary Election.
Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Walter D. Wilkerson, Jr., has been sharply critical of the fake organization, “Conservative Republicans of Texas,” whose “Pay to Play” endorsement flyer Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and their supporters were handing out at March 6, 2018, election polling locations. The fake Republican group has a Harris County address – P.O. Box 75190, Houston, TX 77234 – which is the same address as “The Yates Company,” a public relations firm which shows up on Riley’s Campaign Finance Reports to whom he’s paying $2,000 per month. If that’s not “Pay for Play” endorsements, nothing is.
Wilkerson said of “Conservative Republicans of Texas” in 2014, “Nobody in Harris County votes on these people in Montgomery County. Our position is that the people in Harris County have their hands full and they don’t need to be telling people in Montgomery County how they should vote.”
It turns out that this group performs the same scheme in Galveston County as well where they’re supposedly endorsing three anti-conservative, “establishment” candidates, just like Doyal and Riley, running for County offices. Contrary to the Republican Party Platform, Doyal and Riley support tollroads (Platform Plank 211) and greater government spending (many Platform Planks). Radio commentator Michael Berry and State Senator Paul Bettencourt have both called out the “Pay for Play” scheme and severely criticized the Houston group.
CRT is a fundraising organization of two Houston politicians that sell their endorsements under the “Conservative Republicans of Texas” name to the highest bidder. The Montgomery County version of their endorsement list is nothing but a “pay to play” political advertisement for which Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley paid more than $23,500 (and possibly more). Riley paid for that group to endorse him, to call him a “conservative,” and to endorse Riley’s choices in the Primary Election, according to two individuals in Riley’s County office and one individual in Riley’s campaign who have requested anonymity. Riley’s Campaign Finance Reports reflect the payments of $2,000 per month to a political consultant in Houston who is the consultant who organizes the “Conservative Republicans of Texas” mailer.
It’s not surprising that Riley would engage in such a deceitful and underhanded strategy. Riley and Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal won election in 2014 by creating a complete fake “tea party” organization to confuse voters at the polls about which “tea party” organization was the real one handing out the real “tea party” voter guide. Riley would not have won the 2014 Republican Runoff Election without the deceit and confusion he created.
When volunteers of the Texas Patriots PAC, the leading Tea Party organization in Montgomery County, confronted Riley’s campaign manager, Kristin Nicole, on February 28, 2018 with the “Pay to Play” scheme in the parking lot of The Woodlands Community Center, Nicole couldn’t defend the allegation but instead responded, “Well, the Texas Patriots PAC has received a lot of money from Eric Yollick [Publisher of The Golden Hammer] who is a criminal convict!” Nicole then announced to several people that she would continue to tell people at polling locations that Yollick is a criminal convict if people dare to speak the truth that her boss, Riley, is paying $2,000 per month for the fake endorsements. Nichole left the parking lot and did not return during the Primary Election.
The staff of The Golden Hammer conducted an exhaustive search into federal, state, and local criminal records. They have not found criminal charges or convictions of Eric Yollick anywhere with the exception of a speeding ticket 23 years ago in central Texas which was a Class C misdemeanor for which Yollick paid a fine of approximately $75. “Charlie Riley refers to me as a convicted felon. I don’t believe that one speeding ticket qualifies me as a felon, but I appreciate Charlie’s interest,” Yollick said. There was a civil lawsuit against Yollick, which he settled, involving a bank client of Yollick’s and some people who borrowed money from the bank. “I settled that civil lawsuit rather than wasting time with it. While I’m certainly no Donald Trump, our great President settled civil lawsuits against him as well for similar business reasons,” Yollick said.
As for donations to the Texas Patriots PAC, Yollick confirmed, “Yes. I have contributed to the Texas Patriots PAC. They’re a great local conservative organization fighting for smaller government and less government spending. I agree with Dr. Wilkerson that the so-called ‘Conservative Republicans of Texas’ have no business sticking their fake advertisement endorsement in our local election. Riley ought to feel ashamed.”