Splash of the Day

And the winner for a Cruz pun that doesn’t have anything to do with “Cruzin'” goes to the New York Post (wonder if this changes his view on New York values?).

Daily Roundup

Money Clipped — Looks like Ken Paxton is going to have to keep his financial woes within the family, or, more accurately, in state. In an opinion released Monday, the state ethics commission said the Attorney General can’t “solicit and accept out-of-state donations to pay for his legal defense against charges that he violated state securities laws,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. It doesn’t appear to be a direct attack on Paxton, who’s getting plenty of that from attorneys and judges. Rather, “opponents of the proposal said it could open Paxton and his office — which has many responsibilities, including criminal investigations and representing the state in legal matters — to innumerable conflicts of interest.” The request for an opinion was submitted anonymously, which, that’s fun! The opinion also sought to clarify how someone like Paxton could raise money. “The commission did not bar Paxton from creating a legal defense fund. Instead, regulators deprived him of legal cover, because advisory opinions, if followed, offer a defense to criminal prosecution or lawsuits in future disputes. Paxton cannot use campaign contributions to pay his legal bills because the charges stemmed from private business deals and not his actions as an elected official.”

Our Man in the Lead — Is our long, national nightmare that is Donald Trump over? Is this the beginning of another wave of Ted Cruz-related puns? It sure seems like at least one of those is happening. Last night, Iowa gave Cruz the gold medal with 27.7 percent of the caucus vote (Trump got 24 percent and Marco Rubio got 23 percent). Whether it’s Trump nuttiness or Cruz’s, er, charming personality, Iowa saw a record breaking turnout. If you want to know how Cruz came away with the win, be sure to read Texas Monthly‘s own Erica Grieder on the matter (she’s been saying Cruz would be the nominee since very early on). There were numerous factors, of course, but it was partly because the “Cruz campaign had an unusually extensive ground game, with hundreds of volunteers, most of them from Texas, having traveled to Iowa to make calls, knock on doors, and, on caucus night, speak on their candidate’s behalf,” Greider writes from Iowa. So what’s next for our man in the race? Why, the next state with overstated primary power: New Hampshire. Cruz’s increasing momentum there is thanks in part to his win last night, but also it’s “that his win in Iowa exposed Trump’s support as essentially artificial — overstated in public polls and not backed up by a serious get-out-the-vote effort,” writes the Texas Tribune, which also notes that Rubio now appears to be a threat, seeing as he performed pretty well and is, like, a serious candidate. Not 12 hours after his Iowa victory, Cruz is already in New Hampshire prepping for the state’s February 9 primary. Looks like that Rick Perry lovin’ really worked.

Stranded — You know the federal government musta done something screwy when there is bipartisan support from Texas lawmakers. Governor Greg Abbott and “U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Laredo wrote to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Monday to ask why the agency asked for a sizeable drop in hours dedicated to aerial observation as part of a border security operation,” writes the Dallas Morning News. “Specifically, Abbott and Cuellar want to know what metrics were used to support the requested decrease in aerial operations; details on how the plans will impact staffing and resources along the border; and how the feds might back-fill any gaps.” As the story notes, Cuellar is a conservative Democrat, but bipartisan is bipartisan. It is a curious cut, considering the border is once again seeing yet another surge of undocumented migrants crossing, a bigger surge than the highly covered period in summer 2014.”From October to December of 2015, about 10,560 unaccompanied minors entered Texas illegally through the Rio Grande Valley sector of the U.S. Border Patrol. That marks a 115 percent increase over the same time frame in 2014,” notes the Tribune. “The amount of family units, defined as at least one child and adult guardian or parent, has increased by 170 percent to 14,336 in the Rio Grande Valley. The El Paso sector also saw 1,030 unaccompanied minors, an increase of almost 300 percent.”

 Clickity Bits

Details on Dallas’ Aggressive Crackdown on Aggressive Panhandlers

No One Likes Texan ‘Bachelor’ Contestant Olivia Caridi

State Ethics Panel Not Keen on Guns Either

The Biannual UIL Realignment and What It Means

Police Probe Suicide Pact of Two Texas Teens

The Mess That is Machete, Texas Film Incentives

And the Zika Virus Just Keep Spreading

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