When he ran for state representative in 2012 against a liberal incumbent, Giovanni Capriglione aligned himself with the Tea Party and campaigned against state and federal overreach. But had voters known about Capriglione’s connections to the Obama stimulus program, they might have anticipated his eventual betrayal of his campaign promises.
Giovanni Capriglione, now the Republican state representative representing Southlake, still serves as Vice President for Pacesetter Capital Group, which won a lucrative role as a middleman handing out cash as part of the Obama administration’s stimulus program.
Capriglione was listed on Recovery and Reinvestment Act documents as the point person at Pacesetter for a $30 million allotment from the “Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.”
Obama administration Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced the award to Capriglione’s company in a May 27, 2009 press release. Under the program, Pacesetter was entitled to receive federal tax credits for making investments in “low-income communities.”
In his first term in 2013, Capriglione voted with conservatives, earning a 94 on the Fiscal Responsibility Index. However, in 2014 during a race for speaker between the liberal incumbent, State Rep. Joe Straus (R–San Antonio) and State Rep. Scott Turner of Plano, Capriglione flipped hard against conservatives and started voting with the leadership against conservative measures.
Capriglione earned a 72 on the Index in 2015 before falling even further to a 63 in 2017. To earn that rating, he voted to allow local school districts to raise property taxes without voter approval, voted with Democrats to kill a strong state spending limit, and voted to give taxpayer handouts to NASCAR.
Capriglione faces a tough challenge in the Republican primary from Armin Mizani, a conservative city councilman from Keller. Texans for Fiscal Responsibility has endorsed Mizani in the race.
In retrospect, Capriglione appears to be an opportunist and his initial campaign and legislative session appear to be an aberration. It seems he was always a crony. He simply hid that fact for a couple of years while he was trying to convince Republican voters to send him to Austin.

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.