Attorneys in San Antonio Divided on Ethics of $700,000 Donation to Campaign
Campaign finances have come under scrutiny, with politically interested parties a-buzz with what the limitations on contributions can be for sponsorship of candidates. The idea is that our government offices can’t (or shouldn’t) be bought, but that candidates should win based on their professed and observed ability to be the best public servant. While that may sound a little naively idealistic, it’s an important concept to keep in mind when examining stories like this one, in which a Corpus Christi attorney has donated more than $700,000 to a local San Antonio race for the office of District Attorney. While Thomas J. Henry staunchly maintains his humanitarian motives, attorneys in San Antonio are divided on the issue, with many remaining skeptical.
Stating that his interest is in protecting the children, Henry effectively tugs on the heartstrings of the public who might be scrutinizing his motives for basically propping up a San Antonio candidate for office. Current Bexar County DA Susan Reed sees the move as nothing more than an attempt to buy the office, despite Henry’s claims as a philanthropic investor in public service. Attorneys in San Antonio like Juan Castro who practice in family law may want to take a closer look at Henry’s purportedly altruistic donations.
Henry is convinced that Reed isn’t doing as much as she could be to “put child abusers in jail.” It’s the expressed concern of the Corpus Christi lawyer that the “lack of prosecution of child abuse cases in Bexar County” are what led him to try to unseat the incumbent Reed. “We compare Bexar County to much larger counties and areas and you have the highest child abuse rate in Texas,” Henry complains. With a planned move to the area, Henry states that he just wants to “make the community better,” and he sees that happening through improved recognition and prosecution of child abuse cases. For attorneys in San Antonio, the issue might be a little stickier.
Referencing Henry’s planned move from Corpus Christi to Bexar County, some attorneys in San Antonio might see his large donation amount as a way to make a splash—his big entrance into the area’s legal world. “He likes to show himself in his Learjet and his Rolls Royce. I believe he’s using it to establish his name and to buy this office,” Current DA Susan Reed told the press.
Nico LaHood is the candidate to whom Henry has donated so much money, and who he continues to plan to support through more financial contributions to the campaign. But controversy seems to surround La Hood, who is leveraging statistics in an entirely different way than Reed. “That means directly comparing the reports on violent crime is like comparing apples to oranges.” Is this LaHood playing dirty? Or is he letting the ambiguity in statistical presentations show different data trends to his advantage just another valid campaign strategy?
One thing is for sure, this race is already heated here in San Antonio, and the final result of the election will see supporters of the candidates both crestfallen and triumphant either way, depending on who wins.