Campaign Central
Thu February 7, 2008 4:37 pm

I'm going to post current information on campaigns under this headline, when it is available.

Moreno vs. Marquez (El Paso)

El Paso radio station KVIA is reporting that veteran legislator Paul Moreno erroneously claimed on his Web site to hold a J.D. degree from the University of Texas law school. In fact, he never graduated. Moreno's opponent, Marissa Marquez, issued this statement:

Unfortunately, State Rep. Paul Moreno has a pattern of misleading the public. He claims to [be] a “fighter” for our district, but he has only passed one bill in the past 16 years and missed over 1,000 votes in the last Legislative Session. Despite the critical needs of El Paso, he failed to vote or did not support legislation to provide funding for children, veterans, seniors and other residents in our community who are in critical need.

From the El Paso Times Web site:

The report questions whether Moreno deliberately allowed incorrect information to be publicized about his education. Moreno never completed his law degree, but his own Web site (the erroneous information is corrected now) and past news reports indicated he obtained a JD from the University of Texas School of Law. He told the station it was an oversight, that he never meant to mislead the public.

KVIA has a more extensive report:

ABC 7 has discovered a current state representative has offered misleading information about his law school credentials.

District 77 Rep. Paul Moreno has served El Paso for nearly 40 years.

In the early 1960's, he attended the University of Texas at Austin's Law School, but dropped out a few credit hours shy of graduation. ABC 7 asked Moreno why his own campaign web site states he received, "his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law."

"It is a fact I never graduated from law school," Moreno said. "It is a fact I probably never did pay attention to the fact that it said graduated law school."

At present, there is no mention of a degree from the University of Texas Law School. ABC 7 has learned his campaign office took that down that indication after a reporter called on Monday to ask if he actually earned his Juris Doctor.

News articles demonstrate the bad information has been circulating as far back as 2006, and that it even found its way to official records.

The Texas State House Web site also states Moreno has a J.D. from the U.T. law school.

The information Moreno's office sent to the chief clerk in austin didn't specify he graduated, but they admitted someone in the office jumped to conclusions.

"There was an assumption that whenever someone puts a law school on there and they put an occupation as attorney, you assume they have completed their study," an official with that office said.

"It was negligence on my part. That's it," Moreno said. "It's something that I never paid attention to. It was nothing to mislead the public."

While Moreno may not have a law degree, he is, in fact, an attorney. the state bar web site confirms Paul C. Moreno was self-taught.

"I passed the bar and I'm a lawyer. That's it," he said.

Moreno did say he will read what's written about him more carefully, especially on his own web site.

Geren vs. Annunciato

The following article about a candidate's forum at the North Tarrant Republican Club involving Charlie Geren and Tom Annunciato appeared in the Northwest Tarrant County Times-Record. It is undated.
As you can tell from the reporter's description, this is a no-holds-barred race.

DECEPTIONS AND LIES RETURN TO DISTRICT 99 RACE

By Art Jones

When it comes to politics, the old adage, "if you can’t say something nice about someone, say nothing," has degenerated into "if you can’t find something bad about your opponent, just make it up." Think of it as freedom of creative speech.

Tom Annunziato, a licensed Doctor of Optometry in the State of Texas, is challenging incumbent Charlie Geren for the office of State Representative, District 99. Both are Republicans, although you won’t find that information on any of Annunziato’s campaign advertising – at least not yet. What has been glaringly obvious in his most recent series of mailed political ads, is a complete disregard for the truth.

At the North Tarrant Republican Club’s candidate forum Monday night, candidate comments were limited to only three minutes each. After briefly noting the last legislature’s accomplishments, Geren took the opportunity to respond to the Annunziato campaign’s attacks on his voting record.

"When I heard Tom might be running, he said he’d let me know if he was or not – he didn’t. He also said he was going to stay positive – he didn’t," Geren told the audience.

"One of his mailers sent out today says I decided not to vote on abortion. He forgot to say that five votes later, I voted for that same legislation. He knows that you’re not on the floor or at your desk all the time [the legislature is in session], and you miss votes. That particular vote I missed, and five votes later, we voted … that very same day he’s accusing me of choosing not to vote.

"I do not own a bar, I own a restaurant," Geren said, handing Annunziato a copy of his liquor license for the Railhead Smokehouse BBQ. "There is a bar in there, just like there’s one in Chili’s."

Geren’s comment referred to a recent Annunziato mailer claiming that "bar owner Charlie Geren voted ‘yes’ on a bill that allowed bars to serve alcohol all day Saturday and until Noon on Sunday." The mailer lists House Bill 815 as the source of the claim. The mailer also states that "Geren voted to let the good times roll and put more drunk drivers behind the wheel."

What the ad did not say was that HB 815 pertains only to hotels and motels with 100 rooms or more that provide regular food service to hotel guests. The bill requires that, during the extended service hours, the mixed beverages can only be served to hotel guests and must be charged to the guest’s account. Payment is made when the guest ends his or her stay at the hotel.

Geren did not mention an equally misleading Annunziato mailer claiming that Geren "voted to give illegal immigrants college tuitions at taxpayer expense." The ad cites House Bill 1403, passed in April, 2001.

According to the Office of House Bill Analysis, HB 1403 allows in-state tuition – instead of the higher foreign student tuition – only for students who meet all three of the following requirements: they must be Texas high school graduates (or have Texas GEDs), have lived in Texas for three or more years, and be either US/Texas citizens and/or individuals who swear to have applications for citizenship pending and/or to be filed.

According to Bryan Eppstein, Geren’s campaign spokesperson, HB 1403 passed the Texas House by a margin of 142-1 and passed the State Senate by a margin of 28-2. This legislation was supported by all of Tarrant County's Republican delegation and signed into law by Republican Governor Rick Perry. Even Annunziato's lawyer, Republican State Representative Phil King (Weatherford), voted for HB 1403 as did 2001 Texas Republican House Caucus Chairman Kenny Marchant, who is now a Republican Congressman and an outspoken supporter of strong illegal immigration reform.

"I would like to keep this race on the issues, and I’m going to try to do that, and try to stay positive," Geren told the audience, "but the fact [is] that Mr. Annunziato wants to lie about my record [and] misrepresent the facts. I don’t believe that’s the right thing to do. I’m going to represent the people of District 99. That’s my job, and I’m going to continue to vote the way I believe the people of District 99 want me to vote," Geren said. "I do not support abortions. I believe that abortions should only be made in cases of rape, incest or in the best interests of the mother’s health."

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