Mabrie on the PAC Exchange
Posted by Mike O on April 5, 2010
UPDATE: It turns out, apparently Dr. Christopher Crow apparently spoke for others doctors- which is completely inappropriate, but may not fall to David Marwitz as the guilty party here. Investigation continues, but somewhere, someone took serious liberties with some doctor’s good names. I strongly urge that the doctor’s spouses form an alliance group to serve as assistants to make sure the doctors’ viewpoints are properly expressed and managed from this point forward. This has been effective in Denton County and can be in Collin County as well.
IT WAS JUST LEARNED- AS OF 1:30PM 04/09/10 THAT NOT ONE OF THE FOUR DOCTORS WHOSE NAMES APPEARED ON THE TexPAC LETTER ENDORSING MABRIE GAVE THEIR PERMISSION FOR THEIR NAMES TO BE USED, NOR EVEN KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT THE ENDORSEMENT LETTER! (Per Dr. Tea Acuff who had conversations with the specific doctors involved.)
David Marwitz has much to answer for, as does Mabrie Jackson, by associating herself with such questionable dealings.
The way of PACs in Austin handle things pretty well resembles a stock exchange, where ‘legislative voting options’ are bought and sold. This disgusting process is something that needs to change. Legal or not, the process is an unethical abomination that subverts true representation, even that of the rank and file members of the PACs.
The TexPAC endorsement of Mabrie Jackson is a classic- an unsavory- example. TexPAC represents doctors across the state as a lobbying organization. Doctors pay $2500 per year to be members. Their normal vetting process involves questionnaires and interviews, but was NOT used in this case; neither of Mabrie’s opponents were talked to or sent questionnaires. TexAC claims they have a second method, where they go on the recommendation of doctors; it is said that 3-4 primary care doctors (out of over 750 member doctors who live in the district) made recommendations for Mabrie, but the dates of those recommendations remain unknown.
However, there ARE dates that are relevant that ARE known. In Jackson’s filing of political expenditures, a record of the Texas Ethics Commission, Jackson filed two payments of $21,031.62 and $10,126.00 to the “Election Group” at 408 West 14th Austin, TX. (Update: in the runoff, she has dropped over $102K on this outfit, 10 times what she’s spent in all of Plano for the same period!) This turns out to be a subsidiary and exists at the same address as the Eppstein Group, whose managing partner David Marwitz. David Marwitz among other things is “director of political education for The Texas Medical Association (and) oversaw the association’s million-dollar political action committee”. TexPAC has not given monies to any of these candidates for this primary (Update: in the runoff, they contributed $2,500), but that endorsement came out fast enough after those initial payments.
The ironic thing about this endorsement is Mabrie has received large PAC donations from from some PACs controlled by trial lawyers, who the rank-and-file doctors would very likely consider NOT their best friends. So Mabrie- after an initial payment, then additional payments to the tune of $133K on the firms in which the PAC’s political director apparently has a financial interest- gets an unapproved endorsement from the medical group; this clearly looks like a deal sweetener. This is what the slickness- and questionable ethical conduct- that comes from Austin handlers; not from being a representative of the district. And it is the type of shenanigans that has so disgusts the independent voters and has caused the rise of the Tea Parties.
As for any TexPAC doctors out there reading this; is this REALLY the way you want things handled? And who do you think Mabrie will pay attention to; the endorsers or the ‘money people’? You just might take just a bit of time and ask some questions of the candidates and your TexPAC lobbyist.
The TexPAC letter:
Dr. Tea Acuff’s response to fellow doctors:
April 3, 2010
How is your personal political strategy working for you? Did you like me support the Republicans to have them serve up this Democratic sponsored “healthcare” bill?
We spend countless hours each week working on the problems brought to us by our patients, but we can barely manage to spend a few minutes on tasks that have immense impact on our profession and daily lives. Is voting in each race and sending a check to TMA and TEXPAC enough to insure our political health?
It is said all politics are local. Let me tell you a short local story from Plano, TX, District 66 of the Texas House of Representatives.
In the primary election last month my wife worked for a losing Republican, Wayne Richard, in a three way contest which is now in a runoff between Mabrie Jackson and Van Taylor. TEXPAC sent out a letter of endorsement for Jackson to the 500 TMA members in District 66. In the primary roughly 10,000 votes were cast in District 66, and 500 physicians alone would represent 5% of such a vote. Many elections are won by less than 5% margins.
Since my wife and I were involved in the election, we actually called TEXPAC to see how Jackson was selected among the three Republican candidates. (There was NO Democratic primary candidate for the vacated “Republican” seat.) TEXPAC told us that all candidates are vetted…blah, blah, blah…but we responded that since we worked with the election we knew for a fact that such never happened. We were then told that a few local physicians requested that endorsement. I was given mailing addresses but no TEXPAC letterhead to do the same which is how I came to send you this letter after my complaint of improper due process.
Perhaps you received another TEXPAC endorsement for Jackson over Taylor for the pending runoff election as did I. Perhaps when you see your patient you order some tests to evaluate the significance of the patient’s story. We already know that TEXPAC did not vet these candidates. Is there other information that ties Jackson and TMA /TEXPAC together?
In Jackson’s filing of political expenditures, a record of the Texas Ethics Commission, Jackson filed two payments of $21,031.62 and $10,126.00 to the “Election Group” at 408 West 14th Austin, TX. This address also turns out to be the address of the Eppstein Group named for Bryan Eppstein, a Ft. Worth political consultant/lobbyist. The managing partner of the Eppstein Group is David Marwitz. David Marwitz among other things is “director of political education for The Texas Medical Association (and) oversaw the association’s million-dollar political action committee”. TEXPAC has not given monies to any of these candidates for this primary.
The interesting thing about this from my naïve view is that the money is flowing backwards. Those in the political know are not interested in us doctors for our token $2500 TEXPAC donations. They are interested in our votes. They are buying our votes by paying our consultants; or at least the “data” suggest that.
If we go back to this District 66 primary, we now have an entirely new vision of our political options. If half of our 500 doctors take a little time to meet the candidates and find out if they value our values, we can just by talking to our family, one or two patients, or staff and informing them of our concerns elect the candidates that then are dependent on us. We scattered doctors are like a big labor union. Mabrie Jackson spent $30,000 dollars betting on that belief. TEXPAC did their part.
But we now circle back to how we ended up with the Democratic mandates by our blind support of a Republican agenda. Since all politics are local, let’s put it in local terms. Mabrie Jackson takes political donations from trial lawyers to pay our consultants for our votes. When we go to Austin to fight for tort reform to whom will she be most beholden: trial lawyers, lobbyists, or us? Are we playing this game backwards?
I’ll vote for Van Taylor on this one.
For whomever you decide to vote make sure that your representative personally understands why you voted for them. You can see them and their informants about and at the polls, and right now they are interested in your vote. They may be more open to listen to you when you need something later if you are clear on why you voted and helped them win today.
If we expect to have the resources to help our patients in the future, we better use all our present resources now.
Tea Acuff MD