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An Open Letter to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus from Conservative State Rep Leo Berman: Charges of Fraud and Ethics Violations


2109 Dover Lane

Tyler, Texas 75703

November 8, 2010



Dear Joe:

Abe Lincoln said, “You can fool all of the people some of the time; some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”.

As a 22 year combat veteran, this is an appropriate week for me to prove the veracity of Abe Lincoln’s wisdom in your particular case and those who compromised their integrity along with you.

At the beginning of last session you and 10 of your cohort Republicans, RINOS would be the proper term, decided you did not want my good friend Tom Craddick, a solid conservative Speaker, to preside over the session.  You met and voted among yourselves as to who would be your Speaker candidate.

It fell upon you since you were the least controversial although you were the one with the least service in the House. You had 11 votes but needed 65 more to make the 76 it takes to elect a Speaker.

You decided to go to the Democrats who eventually gave you the 65 votes to win.  What did you give them?  You gave them a promise not to bring legislation dealing with ILLEGAL ALIENS, PRO-LIFE ISSUES, or VOTER-ID to the House floor and that is exactly what happened during the session.  The Democrats loved that deal because they opposed all three issues vehemently.

When I saw that no bills on illegal aliens were coming out of the State Affairs Committee Chaired by Rep. Burt Solomons, I did notice that Democrats were bringing bills to the floor that would have funneled millions of dollars directly to illegal aliens.  I started to amend those bills immediately, with simple words which said, “These benefits are for U.S. citizens only”.  Excuse the term, but the Democrats went “nuts” over my amendments and Joe, you tried to come to their rescue.  You came to my desk on the House floor and asked what you can do for me (like hearing one of my bills in Solomon’s committee) to get me to stop amending the Democrats bills.  I could not believe what I heard from you.  I asked you if you took the same oath of office that I did and then requested that you leave my desk quickly before I really got angry.

Finally, you single-handedly killed the Voter –ID Bill, a bill that 96% of Republicans in the 2008 Primary election voted to have considered in the next session.  Your Elections Committee Chair Todd Smith, another RINO, finally brought out a Voter-ID Bill with two weeks remaining in the session.  You allowed the Democrat Speaker Pro-Tem, Rep. Craig Eiland, to delay the session by 5 full days, which automatically killed the Voter-ID Bill.  You could have stopped that from day 1 through day 5 but you sat on your hands somewhere behind the House Chamber.  Your tenure as Speaker was a disaster as far as the fact that you called yourself a Republican.

On the first day of any session, it is a custom in the House that everyone votes for the Speaker candidate with 76 votes.  There was not a Red Light on the board.  You received every vote according to custom.

However, you and your cohorts, who were now positioned on every major committee, punished conservative leaders like me. Most did not get any major bills out of committee even though all followed the House custom and voted Yes for your Speakership. Now, you have changed that custom! If you survive and there is a vote on you for Speaker, my vote will light up Red meaning NO.  I believe there will be many NO’s on the board since you and your remaining 6 RINOS will keep conservative legislation from the floor.  By the way, the remaining 6 RINOS are Reps.  Byron Cook, Charley Geren, Burt Solomons, Rob Eissler, Jim Keffer and you.  Closely affiliated with this group are Reps. Dan Branch, Todd Smith, Vickie Truitt, Lois Kolkhorst and others who have written glowing statements about your service as Speaker.  They are all looking for something for themselves and will compromise their integrity for personal gain. I will NEVER compromise my integrity by giving you a green light if it comes to that. My vote will be a strong NO.

Recently, in the days prior to the General election you supported with your presence and funds Democrats who were opposed by substantial Republican candidates Remember you promised the Democrats that you would not personally oppose one of their incumbents. When I announced for Speaker and you realized that you had opposition, you shelved out over $700,000 to Republicans some of whom were actually conservatives, but I believe you did so in violation of State law and I filed an Ethics Commission violation against you with both the Ethics Commission and the District Attorney of Travis County.  One of your spokesman said my complaint has no merit.  We shall see!

To my colleagues in the House, I say you all know what Straus and his 10 cohorts did last session. They compromised their integrity.  Don’t compromise yours by voting with Straus and writing fictitious statements about the service he provided.  It was a farce!  My military career forced me to detest those who would compromise their integrity for personal gain.  You all know what I mean!


/s/Leo Berman

Leo Berman