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Texas: Dem suit against pro-GOP groups begins next week

Political State Report reports: Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick will likely testify next week in at a trial in the first of three civil lawsuits stemming from the 2002 elections in which Democrats allege Republicans illegally raised and spent corporate money during that election cycle.

The lawsuit, filed by four unsuccessful Democratic candidates against Texans for a Republican Majority Treasurer Bill Ceverha runs parallel to a Travis County grand Jury investigation that has resulted in indictments against three political consultants. In addition to being subpoenaed for the civil trial, Craddick is also a subject of the grand jury investigation.

Texas Association of Business President Bill Hammond has also recieved a subpoena to testify at the trial. Hammond's brag that the association's $1.9 million in corporate spending "blew the doors" off the 2002 election led to the criminal investigation of that organization by Travis County DA Ronnie Earle.

TAB and TRMPAC's spending resulted in a Republican majority in the Texas House for the first time since Reconstruction and a Craddick speakership, which led to a Tom DeLay-led mid-decade redistricting effort that ultimately helped defeat a handful of longtime Democratic U.S. Congressmen.

Attorneys for Democratic plaintiffs intend to show that Hammond's activities were coordinated with TRMPAC activities. -- Political State Report: straight from the trenches .:. Campaign 2004