According to recent FEC filings, an anti-choice PAC is spending thousands of dollars on independent expenditures against Texas Democratic congressional candidates. Women Speak Out PAC is an affiliate of the anti-choice group the Susan B. Anthony List and in Texas they are targeting incumbents Rep. Lizzie Fletcher and Rep. Colin Allred, as well as challengers Wendy Davis, Sri Kulkarni, and Candace Valenzuela.
The most recent filing of Women Speak Out shows $11,000 spent on text messaging against Valenzuela and $13,000 against Kulkarni. Women Speak Out has spent over $250,000 on “printing and postage” from the Richard Norman Company, based in Leesburg, Virginia. On its website, The Richard Norman Company lists several right-wing organizations as clients, including the Family Research Council, the Media Research Center and PragerU.
This writer’s grandfather, who lives in far North Dallas, was visited by a canvasser opposing Allred. The door-hanger he left after my grandfather said he wasn’t interested in speaking with him showed photos of two women over headlines “I’m pro-life” and “I’m pro-choice” and below “But we agree… there should be reasonable restrictions to protect the health and safety of women and their unborn children. However, Colin Allred’s views on abortion are extreme.” On the back, the hanger says that “Allred’s backers believe abortion should be legal all the way through birth, even as a baby is being delivered.” It is a fact that neither Allred nor any pro-choice organization or candidate supports such a position.
Women Speak Out describes itself as a partner of the Susan B. Anthony List, a “super PAC amplifying the voices of women opposed to abortion extremists in Congress.” The Susan B. Anthony List is one of the largest anti-choice groups in the country. Though they are named after the famous woman right’s activist, there is little evidence to suggest she was opposed to abortion. In January they pledged to spend over $52 million for President Trump and anti-choice Senate candidates in battleground states, including Texas.
Over the past two years, Women Speak Out has received over $3.9 million from Jan Duncan, a Republican donor from Houston. Duncan is the widow of Dan Duncan, at one point Houston’s richest resident. Texas Signal previously reported on Women Speak Out spending over $50,000 against Houston Congresswoman Fletcher and in support of her challenger Wesley Hunt.
Dan Duncan was the CEO of Enterprise Products, an oil and gas company. A big-game hunter, Duncan had to appear in front of a grand jury in 2007 after shooting a moose and sheep from a helicopter in Russia (which is illegal), but was ultimately not charged. He died in 2010 at the age of 77. His children and grandchildren did not have to pay an estate tax on his $9 billion fortune after Congress allowed the law to lapse.
His widow Jan is also the biggest contributors to Susan B. Anthony’s statewide affiliated group Pro-Life America. According to the Texas Tribune, Duncan was its only supporter and contributed $2.2 million to the organization according to their most recent filing.
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A longtime writer and journalist, Jessica was thrilled to join the Texas Signal where she could utilize her unique perspective on politics and culture. As the Features and Opinion Editor, she is responsible for coordinating editorials and segments from diverse authors. She is also the host of the podcast the Tex Mix, as well as the co-host for the weekly SignalCast. Jessica attended Harvard College, is a onetime fitness blogger, and has now transitioned to recreational runner (for which her joints are thankful).