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Lone Star Project Report

Empower Texans Shows Sympathy for White Supremacy

Texas officials backed by Empower Texans must disavow the group, its leaders and refuse its support
The violence and death in Charlottesville, Virginia last Saturday brought both tragedy and clarity to the growing influence of the Alt Right/White Nationalist/White Supremacist movement within our country.  Any doubt about the dangerous influence of those driven by racial hatred, anti-Semitism and white nationalism was erased when President Donald Trump could not bring himself to immediately name and condemn the KKK, neo-Nazis, Skinheads and other hate groups who brought hate and death to Charlottesville.
 
We can be proud that many Texans of all political stripes joined together to forcefully speak out against racism and bigotry.  However, it also became immediately clear that the hate groups who attacked in Charlottesville have overt and covert allies here in Texas who must be called out and condemned.
 
Empower Texans officials used social media to harass and criticize legislators speaking out against racist white nationalism
Official staff members working for GOP-aligned Empower Texans launched a Twitter attack aimed at a bipartisan group of Texas legislators, led by State Rep. Helen Giddings (HD 109 – Dallas).  Rep. Giddings and others asked their colleagues to reflect prayerfully on the events in Charlottesville, condemn racism and called on Texas A&M University to cancel a planned white supremacist event in College Station.
 
Instead of commending the bi-partisan effort to denounce hate, Empower Texans called it a “cheap move” and sought to mock legislators who take a clear public stand against racial hatred and bigotry. Respected members of the Austin media, and even some Republicans called out Empower Texans for siding with white nationalists. Take a look at the Twitter exchanges with Empower Texans staff members Tony McDonald and Ross Kecseg:
GOP legislators condoned Empower Texans with their silence
As Empower Texans attacked on Twitter, essentially defending white nationalism, Texas officials who the group supports and funds remained silent to their actions.  There was no criticism from the three statewide GOP leaders supported by Empower Texans – Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and AG Ken Paxton.  In the Legislature, House and Senate members like State Sen. Konni Burton (SD10 – Colleyville) and State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (HD92 – Bedford) failed to utter a word of criticism or even caution.  Here are some of the Empower Texans supported officials who failed to speak out: 
  • State Senator Konni Burton (SD10 – Colleyville)
  • State Senator Bob Hall (SD2 – Edgewood)
  • State Rep. Matt Rinaldi (HD115 – Irving)
  • State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (HD92 – Bedford)
  • State Rep. Bill Zedler (HD96 – Mansfield)
  • State Rep. Rodney Anderson (HD105 – Grand Prairie)
  • State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (HD94 – Arlington)

 
Empower Texans backed officials must condemn group’s actions and refuse future public and financial support

Many Texas GOP legislators would not likely be in office if not for the political and financial support provided by Empower Texans.  State Senator Konni Burton’s latest financial disclosure report shows that 30 percent of her contributions came from just one source - Empower Texans and its major funder, right wing billionaire Tim Dunn.
 
Healthy debate between the far-right views of Texas Republicans and the more mainstream views held by Democrats makes our state stronger.  However, there is no room for Alt Right, white supremacist bigotry and racism in Texas or anywhere in our nation.  Empower Texans has forfeited any legitimacy by so overtly showing sympathy to the white nationalist cause.

Texas Republicans – especially those publicly supported by Empower Texans – should publicly condemn the group’s actions and refuse its endorsement and financial support.