in Houston, Texas
State Rep. Vicki Truitt spent six-figure money with Eppstein Group in primary campaign’s last days
Monday, Sep 24, 2012, 04:45PM CST
By Steve Miller
checkbook

As her seven terms in the statehouse ebbed away in May’s Republican primary, state Rep. Vicki Truitt paid tens of thousands of dollars in advertising and consulting fees to political starmaker Bryan Eppstein, records show.

Truitt made two separate May 21 payments of $31,311.22 – ten days before the primary – to The Eppstein Group, one for advertising, and one for printing, according to Truitt’s most recent campaign finance report, which covers expenditures between May 20 and June 30. In total, Truitt paid $114,002 to The Eppstein Group in those 40 days.

Truitt lost the primary 56 percent to 44 percent to Giovanni Capriglione, a Tea Party-backed candidate who spent $20,847 on advertising in the same period.

In 2010, when Truitt narrowly won her seat in the North Texas district, she spent $54,355 on advertising with The Election Group, which was Eppstein’s company at the time. She won the primary with 52 percent of the vote and ran unopposed in the general election.

Other entrenched Republican incumbents who were ousted in May’s primary spent much less. Wayne Christian lost his East Texas seat to Chris Paddle, the former mayor of Marshall, 52 percent to 48 percent, spending $9,270, including $400 on Facebook ads, in the last days.

In The Woodlands, Rob Eissler lost to minister Steve Toth 57 percent to 43 percent after five terms in office. Eissler has $639,761 in his campaign coffers, according to his most recent finance report, and spent $40,025 on advertising in the last days.

Truitt was fighting adverse publicity as she lost her seat, which may account for her hefty advertising.

On April 10, Texas Watchdog reported on the no-bid contracts that Physician Resource Network, the consultancy run by Truitt and her husband, Jim, had secured from Tarrant County’s public health agency. The contracts were carried out down the line by Truitt donors. Five days later, the story was also run in the hometown Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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