Former Republican state Sen. David Sibley is in a runoff election to get back his old job in the Texas Senate. But there’s a problem. After he left office in 2003, to become a lobbyist, he made a habit of contributing to very liberal Democrats.
It’s not uncommon for lobbyists to give to both political parties, but it’s another thing to go before primary voters and defend it as a candidate. The Sibley campaign for Senate District 22 says his donations to Democrats were minor. But where did the money go?
For example, Mr. Sibley has donated to the campaigns of state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) and state Rep. Jim Dunnam (D-Waco), the elected Democratic leaders in their respective legislative chambers, and two lawmakers certainly not known for promoting conservative initiatives.
Let’s not forget Rep. Dunnam helped orchestrate the Democrat’s strategy to cut-and-run to Oklahoma during the last redistricting effort, an issue that will be front-and-center next year. Additionally, Rep. Dunnam helped kill Voter ID at the end of the 2009 legislative session.
It’s interesting that Mr. Sibley chose to donate to Rep. Dunnam during the election right after the redistricting runaway antics. Of any time that Rep. Dunnam might have been vulnerable for re-election, it may have been that year (2004), when he was facing a Republican challenger.
Perhaps they were minor amounts to Mr. Sibley, but I doubt conservative activists would agree. Especially, when Sen. Van de Putte and Rep. Dunnam have contributed thousands of dollars to other liberal Democrats. A practice that’s not unusual for party leaders, and something Mr. Sibley should be keenly aware of.
It certainly looks like then-lobbyist Sibley wanted to have it both ways by helping Republicans, while also quietly providing funds to the Democratic leaders. In the end, it’s not how much he gave to Democrats in comparison to all Republicans, but who the influential recipients were.
While Mr. Sibley may be more philosophically principled as a legislator than it looks like he was as a lobbyist, his actions should raise serious flags for conservatives in Senate District 22.
Mr. Sibley is challenged by retired Army Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell, also a Republican, in the runoff election, which will take place on a date to be selected by Gov. Rick Perry.