Voucher-Obsessed Leininger Moves to Close Sale on Legislature

Voucher-Obsessed Leininger Moves to Close Sale on Legislature


February 13, 2006

AUSTIN Voucher sugar daddy Dr. James Leininger is spending more than twice as much money leading up to the Republican primary this year than he has in any GOP primary campaign in the last decade, Texas Freedom Network’s president said today.

“James Leininger is so obsessed with forcing taxpayers to subsidize tuition vouchers at private schools that he has tried for years to buy a Legislature that would do it,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “Now he’s moving to close the sale.”

According to reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission, so far Dr. Leininger and his wife have contributed or pledged nearly $1.4 million dollars to political action committees and Republican candidates before the March primary. That total is more than twice the $568,851 the Leiningers contributed before the Republican primary elections in the 2001-02 cycle, their previous high-water mark for pre-primary campaign spending.

Most of the Leininger money for the current election cycle has gone to political action committees, including the Texas Republican Legislative Campaign Committee (TRLCC), the Texas Club for Growth PAC and The Future of Texas Alliance. The TRLCC and Texas Club for Growth have funneled much of their money into the campaigns of challengers to five Republican House incumbents. Those five incumbents voted against a Leininger-backed voucher scheme in the Texas House in 2005: Rep. Roy Blake, R-Nacogdoches; Rep. Carter Casteel, R-New Braunfels; Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth; Rep. Delwin Jones, R-Lubbock; and Rep. Tommy Merritt, R-Longview.

The Future of Texas Alliance received $100,000 from Dr. Leininger in January and $55,000 in November from All Children Matter, another Leininger-funded PAC that has supported pro-voucher candidates in the past. The Future of Texas Alliance has so far made less than $10,000 (total) in in-kind contributions to seven pro-voucher Republican House members: Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler; Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell; Rep. Scott Campbell, R-San Angelo; Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands; Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van; Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman; and Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas. All but Rep. Eissler face Republican primary challengers in March.

“The Republican House majority that Dr. Leininger bought four years ago failed to pass a voucher scheme,” Miller said. “Now this one-man special interest is digging even deeper into his pockets to get the kind of Republicans who will do what he wants next time.”