“You’ve got to see this.”
That’s how the email started out to the Texas Nationalist Movement. Following this brief and cryptic statement were a series of dozens of links. The subject line of the email – State Representative Drew Darby.
Seeing Darby’s name so quickly after his arrest sparked a tremendous amount of curiosity. This kicked off an investigation lasting weeks that peeled back the covers on one aspect of the Legislature that gets little attention. With a part-time Legislature in Texas, all State Representatives spend the majority of their time in their private sector lives and, in theory, in the District they represent “connecting with constituents”.
What, in reality, often happens is that Legislators allow their public and private dealings to co-mingle. Instances of political and business incest are common and are kept like inconvenient family secrets.
Clicking on each link in the aforementioned email, yielded a record on the Texas Comptroller website for a different business. The official title for the record was the “Franchise Tax Account Status”. Rather than contribute to optometry lobby and read them all on the computer screen, they all went to the printer.
Page after page of “Franchise Tax Account Status” reports stacked in the printer tray. Picking them up and spreading them out on the table, a pattern emerged. In the field labeled “Right To Transact Business In Texas”, each business had “FRANCHISE TAX INVOLUNTARILY ENDED.”
For those unfamiliar with GovSpeak, it bears looking up. The official site for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts states that “FRANCHISE TAX INVOLUNTARILY ENDED” means: “The entity’s registration or certificate was ended as a result of a tax forfeiture or an administrative forfeiture by Texas Secretary of State.”
In layman’s terms, if a business fails to file their franchise tax or pay their franchise tax, they are “involuntary ended.”
This, of course, was no surprise. Businesses lose their franchise tax status every day in Texas. The franchise tax was terrible economic policy for Texas when it was passed and remains so today. But it was the other pattern that emerged that was interesting.
Every one of these businesses had the same name listed as the Registered Agent – Drew Darby.
How could it be that all of these businesses failed to file or pay their Franchise Taxes with Drew Darby as their registered agent? What is his connection to these businesses? What role did Darby play in these businesses losing their status?
The questions only grew when the last sheet came off of the printer.
This was not a record from the Texas Comptroller. Rather it was from Wysk which maintains company profiles from companies all over Texas and the United States. Their data is compiled through a mix of public records and other methods which they would not reveal to us when we reached out for comment.
The last link was for a company call Representatives Title, LLC. The address listed for this company is 226 Canyon Creek Lane in Kerrville, TX. A quick lookup with the Secretary of State’s Office on the company yielded two names as principals:…Continued here: http://texnat.org/index.php/news/21-political/2037-the-darby-hilderbran-connection