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FBI: Dead border agent suspected in kidnapping

Associated Press
Posted on March 13, 2014

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — The FBI believes a Border Patrol agent found dead in his South Texas home is responsible for the kidnapping and assault of three females who were in the country illegally, the agency said Thursday.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said agents encountered an injured adult woman during their regular operations Wednesday night near McAllen, which is close to the Texas-Mexico border about 350 miles from Houston. The woman told agents that she and the two others had been attacked by a man, which prompted authorities to start a “search and recovery” operation. Border agents later found the second injured female. Continue reading here.

At South by Southwest, Cities Taking Cues From Perry

by Kate McGee, KUT News
Wed, 12 Mar 2014
photo by: Bob Daemmrich

Gov. Rick Perry shows a picture of his new granddaughter to a reporter after voting early in Austin on Oct. 30, 2013.

Gov. Rick Perry has ruffled feathers across the country by encouraging businesses in other states to relocate to Texas. Now, cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C., are doing the same thing at South by Southwest — right in Perry’s backyard. Read the full story atKUT News.

Rep. Castro backs off Buc-ee’s boycott

SAN ANTONIO – There’s renewed faith in the Buc-ee’s Beaver.

Congressman Joaquin Castro is abandoning his personal boycott of Buc-ee’s over what appeared to be the company’s support for State Senator Dan Patrick, who’s vying for the Republican nomination for Texas Lt. Governor.

Patrick posted a picture of himself with the Buc-ee’s Beaver on Facebook, thanking the company for its support, a picture that Rep. Castro calls misleading.

“I was happy to hear that a Bucc-ee’s spokesperson clarified Dan Patrick’s misleading endorsement announcement by stating unequivocally, ‘Buc-ee’s is not supporting any candidate.’ When I read that, I was relieved to find out that the company itself is not lending it’s support to the kind of divisive politics that has no place in Texas,” Rep. Castro said in a statement.

Rep. Castro described Patrick as a “fear mongering immigrant basher” via Twitter.

Continue reading:

Annise Parker Talks ‘Gay Agenda’, Wendy Davis, And Reclaiming Democratic Values In Inspiring Speech

by: Omar Araiza

Houston Mayor Annise Parker addressed the California Democratic Party convention this weekend, providing the crowd with an inspirational speech on how Democrats win in red states, even when seemingly facing all odds against them.

But first, she thanked Californians for allowing her to marry her partner of over 23 years this January.

After taking a jab at Rick Perry and Texas Republicans, Parker, the country’s first openly LGBT mayor of one of the ten largest cities in the US, dove straight into personal matters regarding LGBT equality. She thanked the state of California once again for paving the way nationally in ensuring the safety of trans children in our schools.

“I’ve been a lesbian activist for 40 years, and it’s hard to break a habit,” said Parker.

Continue reading (+video):

New Republican group hopes to counter Wendy Davis’ appeal to Texas women voters

By Wayne Slater

wslater@dallasnews.comA Republican group aimed at countering Wendy Davis’ appeal to Texas women has launched a political committee and begun posting on-line videos to promote the idea the GOP is not an enemy to women on issues they care about. In a telephone conference call Tuesday and a news conference today, Davis has denounced GOP rival Greg Abbott as part of what Democrats are calling a Republican war on women. She has chided Abbott for opposing equal pay for women in court. As attorney general, Abbott defended Prairie View University against a lawsuit by a female professor who said she wasn’t being paid the same as her male counterparts. Abbott fought her claim of pay equity and won in the Texas Supreme Court, which denied the professor a jury trial.

On Wednesday, a group called RedState Women announced it has begun a series of web-based videos about Republican Texas women in politics. The first video features Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick, who talks about the responsibilities of being both an elected official and the mother of a 2-year-old.

PAC executive director Cari Christman says RedState Women wants to promote the idea that Davis does not speak for all women in Texas. Continue reading here:

New terror compound found in heart of Texas

By Art Moore

Declassified FBI documents confirm the existence of an Islamic jihadist enclave in Texas that is part of a network in the U.S. identified by the Department of Homeland Security as a terrorist organization.

The enclave belongs to the network of Muslims of the Americas, which is linked to the Pakistani-based militant group Jamaat al-Fuqra, according to an investigation by the Clarion Project and ACT! For America Houston.

Jamaat al-Fuqra was founded in New York in 1980 by Sheik Mubarak Ali Gilani, an Islamic cleric in Pakistan who at one time was in Pakistani custody in connection with the abduction of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Muslims of the Americas says it has a network of 22 “villages” around the U.S., with headquarters at an encampment in the Catskill Mountains near Hancock, N.Y., called Holy Islamberg, as WND reported in 2006. An investigative report at the time found neighbors of Islamberg were deeply concerned about military-style training taking place there and frustrated by an apparent lack of attention from federal authorities.

WND also reported in 2006 that Jamaat al-Fuqra has collaborated with major terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah and al-Qaida.

See the remarkable investigative film that exposed the subversive plans of the Muslim Brotherhood in America, “Jihad in America: The Grand Deception”

The FBI describes the compound in Texas, called Mahmoudberg, as an “enclave” and “communal living site.” Located in Brazoria County along County Road 3 near Sweeny, Texas, it was discovered by the FBI through a tip from an informant in New York, according to the Clairon Project.

The Texas commune, in a heavily wooded area, is estimated by a local resident who spoke to ACT researchers to encompass about 25 acres. It dates back to the late 1980s, the resident said, which is confirmed by the FBI documents.

The FBI reported in 2007 that one commune resident formerly was a leader at the Muslims of the Americas compound in Badger, Calif., called Baladullah.

In March 2001, a Baladullah member was arrested for transporting guns between New York and South Carolina. Another was charged with murdering a police deputy that caught him breaking and entering a home.

The declassified FBI documents show that the enclave is not the only affiliate of the organization that has operated in the state.

In 1991, after a MOA/Jamaat-ul-Fuqra bomb plot in Toronto was foiled, a federal search warrant for three suspects was issued and a nearly 45-acre “compound” about 70 miles south of Dallas was raided.

The location of the compound corresponds to a reference in an FBI document obtained…Read more at

Michael Quinn Sullivan Files Federal Lawsuit Against Texas Ethics Commission

by Brandon Darby

As Republicans nationally are fighting to stop the Obama Administration’s IRS from imposing new rules limiting political speech by conservative groups and forcing them to reveal their donors, a state agency in Texas is trying to impose a similar restraint in the Lone Star State.

To fight the effort, a lawsuit has been filed against the Texas Ethics Commission by Empower Texans, a watchdog group that focuses on state spending issues under the name Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. The group is led by Breitbart Texas contributor Michael Quinn Sullivan.

In 2013, left-leaning Republicans and their allies in the Texas Democratic Party pushed legislation that would force conservative non-profits to reveal the names of their donors but exempted labor unions from the requirements. The legislation was vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry, who described the measure as “unconscionable” and designed to “expose more Texans to the risk [of] harassment.”

Yet two weeks ago, the Texas Ethic Commission voted to post for public review in the Texas Register new rules that would do, under their assumed regulatory powers, what the governor vetoed.

Since mid-2012, the Texas Ethics Commission has been pursuing Empower Texans. It is a matter of public record that the two legislators who have filed complaints against Sullivan’s group have been committee chairs appointed by Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.

The lawsuit asserts that the legislators’ complaints and the subsequent Ethics Commission action were taken in an attempt, according to the lawsuit, to silence conservative critics.

The Texas Ethics Commission’s tactic is similar to demands by the Internal Revenue Service nationally that non-profit conservative organizations reveal their donors’ names despite clear US Supreme Court precedent protecting that information.

Over the course of two years, Sullivan’s law Continued here:

Lobbyist: Efforts Afoot to Get Candidates to Drop Out


Updated, 5:10 p.m.:

Harvey Hilderbran, who won second place in the Republican primary for comptroller, announced late Friday afternoon that he will withdraw from the runoff in the race.

Original story:

An email from a lobbyist at one of the state’s largest law firms suggests there may be efforts underway to persuade three second-place Republican primary finishers, including incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, to withdraw from the May runoffs.

In a message sent to clients on Friday, Robert Miller, the chairman of Locke Lord’s public law division, wrote that only the “hardcore of the hardcore will vote” in the May Republican primary runoffs and that he believed the races for comptroller, attorney general and lieutenant governor “are over before they start.”

“Efforts are underway and will intensify to have Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, Rep. [Dan] Branch, and Rep. [Harvey] Hilderbran drop out of the races,” wrote Miller. “I don’t know whether these efforts will succeed, but I am certain that money will rapidly begin moving to [Dan] Patrick, [Ken] Paxton and [Glenn] Hegar. I am in the process of organizing major Houston fundraisers for each of them.”

Dewhurst cleared just 28 percent of the vote in the March primary. Challenger Dan Patrick, a state senator from Houston, finished ahead by a 14-point margin. Attorney general hopeful Ken Paxton finished over Dan Branch by an 11-point margin for the open seat. In the race for comptroller, Glenn Hegar was fewer than 100 votes from avoiding a runoff in unofficial tallies, with Harvey Hilderbran trailing at a distant second with just under 27 percent of the vote.

“I assessed the situation and that’s my assessment of where we are,” Miller said in a phone interview. “You are seeing the big-money Republicans move.”

According to filings with the Texas Ethics Commission, Miller’s law firm has contributed $6,000 to Dewhurst and $10,000 to Patrick since June 2013. In that period, the firm also gave $15,000 to Hegar and $25,000 to Barry Smitherman, a third candidate for attorney general who finished last in the primary.

The Dewhurst, Branch and Hilderbran campaigns told The Texas Tribune on Friday that they intended to continue to the May runoffs.

Dewhurst spokesman Travis Considine said the incumbent had not been asked to drop out.

“He’s been receiving calls from the grassroots leaders that supported him in the primary,” said Considine.

Enrique Marquez, a spokesman for the Branch campaign, questioned Miller’s judgment, noting that Miller had predicted in November that Branch would not be in a runoff at all.

Marquez said he expects “Mr. Miller to be wrong once again.”

Reeve Hamilton contributed to this report.

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

14 Texas Republicans Ask Dan Branch to Withdraw from Attorney General Runoff

by Bob Price

AUSTIN, TEXAS–Fourteen conservative Republican members of the Texas House of Representatives have sent a letter to State Rep. Dan Branch asking that he withdraw from the runoff election race for Texas Attorney General.  The result of the primary election on March 4th showed State Senator Ken Paxton in first place with a double digit lead over Branch who finished second in a three-way race.


In a call for party unity and moving the battle to defeating Democrats in the November General Election, the 14 State Reps said in a letter received by Breitbart Texas, “As your colleagues in the Texas Legislature, today we call on you to respectfully consider withdrawing from the race for Texas Attorney General.”


The letter asks Branch to avoid a costly and potentially more divisive runoff election and states that “moving forward with this continued campaign is not in the best interests of you, our party, or the state we know you dearly love.”


The authors of the letter argued, “The millions of dollars that would be spent by your campaign characterized by negative ads aimed at Senator Paxton servers no legitimate or helpful purpose, especially when considering Senator Paxton’s strong support reflected in the Republican Primary Election last week.”


The letter cites Paxton’s success in winning 19 of the 20 most populated counties and a strong first-place finish in 9 of the top 10 GOP counties including Branch’s home county, Dallas County.  Additionally, the letter claims Senator Paxton won 50 of the top 75 Republican counties representing about 85 percent of the GOP vote.


The Texas Secretary of State’s Office election results page reflects that Sen. Paxton received 44.44 percent of the vote compared to Rep. Branch’s 33.49 percent.  Out of 1,273,733 Republican votes cast, Paxton was 141,545 votes from winning without a runoff.


The letter references the class move by State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran in his decision last Friday to withdraw from the State Comptrollers race and his endorsement of his former opponent, Sen. Glenn Hegar.


In urging Branch to withdraw, the signing Reps said, “Should you choose to do so, you will earn the lasting respect and admiration of Texans all across our state as we band together as Republican and fight to Keep Texas Red!”


The letter is signed by Representatives, Pat Fallon, Dan Flynn, Bryan Hughes, Phil King, Jodie Laubenberg, Jeff Leach, Charles Perry, Scott Sanford, Matt Schaefer, Jonathan Stickland, Van Taylor, Steve Toth, James White and Bill Zedler.


The third candidate in the race, Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman, conceded the election to his opponents Tuesday night but does not appear at this time to have made an endorsement in a prospective runoff election.

A Breitbart Texas call to Rep. Branch’s campaign office was not immediately…Continued here:

Perry hoping for ‘a second chance’ from voters

National Harbor, Maryland (CNN) – On the heels of a rousing morning address to the Conservative Political Action Conference that brought a sleepy audience to its feet many times over, Texas Gov. Rick Perry had a bounce in his step.

He hosted a meet-and-greet with conservative activists, young and old, in a corner room at the Gaylord National Resort outside Washington. The line snaked out the door and down the hall. He crossed paths with major conservative donors.


His advisers, meanwhile, scanned their phones, happily re-tweeting favorable headlines out of his CPAC remarks. One aide was quietly singing the lyrics to “Happy,” the bouncy Pharrell Williams tune that was nominated for an Academy Award.

Perry’s speech to conservatives here, thick with anti-Obama rhetoric, conveyed the kind of roaring energy that he sorely lacked during his disastrous 2012 presidential bid, a campaign faltered for many reasons: hubris, lack of preparation, feuding staff and some questionable policy pronouncements. But Perry was also suffering from the lingering effects of a 2011 spinal surgery that left him moody, lethargic and often in pain.

A very different Rick Perry showed up at CPAC.

“It helps when you’re healthy,” the governor said in an interview with CNN. “When you’re healthy you generally perform better. It took me a year, a year and half, to get healthy,” he said, making note of a second medical procedure he underwent in 2012 to repair his right clavicle.

Echoing comments he made the previous day on CNN’s “The Lead With Jake Tapper,” Perry called his 2012 bid “a humbling experience.”

That campaign, and its spectacular flameout, is still fresh in the minds of the Republican donors and activists evaluating the early 2016 field. Many of them remain skeptical of Perry’s ability to make a second run at the GOP nomination, even though he’s decided against another gubernatorial run in Texas and is actively laying behind-the-scenes groundwork for another presidential bid.

Perry said voters are more forgiving.

“I have been taught to judge people on how they perform after they have fallen down and after they have failed,” he said. “And how you come back from that. So I hope people will look at me and say, ‘You know what? We will give you a second chance.’”

Perry paused, not wanting to get too far ahead of himself with a reporter.

“If that’s what I decide to do on the presidential thing,” he quickly added. “Don’t take that as anything other than it is an option. I am happy with where I am in life. I have a 9-month old grand baby.”

Perry insisted his focus is on electing Republican governors in 2014, as part of his role on the Republican Governors Association’s executive committee.

Perry said he’s pleased with the group’s fundraising pace this year under New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the current RGA chairman who also happens to be a potential rival for the GOP nomination in 2016. Perry and Christie have a well-documented chilly relationship, but he betrayed no ill-will toward his blue state peer.

Perry, however, gave credit to his fellow governors and previous RGA chairmen – including former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, and himself – for transforming the committee into a financial powerhouse. His message was clear: The RGA is bigger than just Chris Christie.

“All of us are out there raising money,” Perry said. “It’s always been a team effort. We have shown people that the Republican Governors Association is a really good investment and the return on that investment is good as any organization that’s out there.”

Perry also weighed in on Russia’s standoff with Ukraine, and President Obama’s handling of the geopolitical crisis. Like other Republicans, he accused Obama of “muddling” American foreign policy by mishandling events in Egypt and Iran, projecting an image of weakness abroad and indirectly giving Russian president Vladimir Putin a green light to move into Crimea.

“Nobody should be surprised that Putin is making these moves because there is substantially less respect for the United States than there was four…Continued here: