Sleazy Staples gets busted!

Hank Gilbert’s campaign recently launched, a website dedicated to show the world the truth about Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, with one hell of a bang

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples bought a suburban with campaign funds, registered it in his own name, and is still driving it around—with State Official license plates.

Go read the whole thing and remember that it’s a very illegal to convert campaign funds or assets to personal use without paying for it. Keep in mind, as well, if he never paid for it, then it’s essentially a gift from the campaign to himself. If unreported, that’s tax fraud. Needless to say, it’s a mess for the guy who, like Kinky, has tried to make such a big deal out of Hank’s tax issue from 10 years ago.
Then there was a memo out from the Gilbert campaign in response to a piece in the DMN in which Staples CM Cody McGregor said…

Gilbert’s latest press release is 100 percent wrong,” he said. “These were two separate vehicles. This is an example of libel and slander, and another example of him trying to cover up his criminal conviction for theft, current tax liens and allegations from Kinky that he took a $150,000 bribe.”

Much like the Staples campaign’s libelous repetition of Kinky’s bribe claims, Hank’s claims about the suburban are IN writing, making them at best libel not slander. Of course, to prosecute a libel claim, Staples would have to prove that he paid the campaign for the suburban, and it’s clear he didn’t. But that’s really neither here nor there because the campaign itself goes right off the rails just trying to explain things… Keep in mind, Staples doesn’t deny that there WAS a campaign vehicle. Staples further, through McGregor, states that there were two separate vehicles purchase, presumably, in 2005.
Here’s where it gets tricky… back to the DMN…

Staples still drives the SUV he purchased five years ago, which has state office holder plates. These plates are also on his pick-up and a four door sedan registered to his wife. The campaign reimburses Staples for his campaign-related travel with these vehicles. A campaign vehicle no longer exists.

And there it is… there was a campaign vehicle and there was a personal vehicle, while proof of only one actually exists. Now there is only a personal vehicle and no campaign vehicle, but proof of only the campaign vehicle exists. And Staples has it tagged with an SO plate. See how that works? Like magic, the campaign vehicle ceased to exist! Which led the Gilbert campaign to issue a tongue in cheek memo to the press which offered some suggestions for questions to the Staples campaign…

1. Was the Suburban raptured?
2. If no one is looking at the Suburban, does it exist?
3. If the door on the Suburban is opened in Arizona does that cause a typhoon in the Pacific?
4. Could the quantum nature of Todd Staples’ Suburban be the key to the Grand Unified Theory?
5. Has Texas A&M University expressed an interest in studying the Suburban-if, in fact, it is presently occupying the same dimension as College Station at this moment in time?
6. Was Todd’s Suburban a mysterious byproduct of the now-defunct Superconducting Super Collider-sent from an alternate dimension in which the collider was completed?
7. If Todd Staples sells the rights to the story of his esoteric Suburban to MGM Studios, does Todd or the campaign get the royalties?
8. Could Todd Staples’ Suburban be the long-sought proof of the existence of the Higgs Boson?

Y’all please keep in mind that that the TEC fines on this could be run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention the fines and penalties from the IRS.
Gilbert’s campaign also offered the following statement in response to a press release sent out Friday afternoon by Staples which was, literally, chockablock with ad hominem attacks which were discredited during the primary. More on that in the supersize

On Friday, the Todd Staples campaign released a series of personal attacks against Hank Gilbert that were almost a point by point rehash of attacks made by Kink Friedman during the primary.
Our campaign offers the following statements attributable to Campaign Director Vince Leibowitz:
“Hank has never made any attempt to hide the single bounced check from more than 10 years ago or the settlement with the IRS, both of which were interrelated (see this Austin American-Statesman piece). Unlike Todd Staples, who expends a great deal of private and public resources to hide his sleazy behavior, Hank has been honest and upfront about everything and it’s all been public record for more than 10 years. It’s obvious that Staples, given that he didn’t make a big deal of any of this in 2006, has discovered some disquieting polling that clearly shows the race far closer than any of the published polls.”
“We’d like to invite members of the press to visit for information on one of the dirtiest politicians in Texas history. Even now, Hank’s campaign staff is working diligently to bring the public the truth about Staples self serving public service. And, of course, some of his sleazier business dealings from the 90s since, apparently, things that are 10 years old are new again.”
Additionally, the following statement may be attributable to Peyton Gilbert, 17, eldest son of Hank Gilbert, Democratic Party Nominee for Agriculture Commissioner:
“Over the past two years, I’ve learned from and listened to teachers and students in my classes who say that politics is all about party, not issues. This is why elected officials can’t get anything done, on both sides. Mr. Staples’ attacks on my dad’s character, and my parent’s businesses are just another example of an elected official that would rather try to demean his opponent than engage in a debate about the issues.
My dad has put his personal life and career out there for everyone to see, yet Mr. Staples refuses to be as transparent with his or that of the TDA. This is why most voters, and most Texans, can’t stand career politicians. My dad’s environmental remediation and carpet cleaning business, in addition to our cattle operation, is no different from the millions of other small businesses operated by hardworking Texans all across this state. Many people don’t know this, but my dad’s business was one of many that worked in Lake Charles, Louisiana following Hurricane Rita, and that he also worked hauling feed and fencing supplies to ranchers in Mississippi immediately after Hurricane Katrina. My parents taught me that every vocation involves public service, from the lowest to the highest-including politician-are noble.”

Honestly, I’ve never seen a campaign disintegrate so rapidly. It’s clear that despite the quality of the people working on Staples campaign (Eppstein and McGregor are both pros), there’s little that can be done with a man (and barely that) who is functionally a stuffed shirt. Note that Staples says nothing, day after day, about Hank’s ides on reshaping the TDA. He also ignores ANY attack on the terrible job he’s doing at TDA by pointing back at Hank.
Voters are tired of the lies and personal attacks, especially when food safety is at stake. People are making the move to Hank.

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