Yesterday I revealed to you more information about The Forma Group. I consider the information to be sufficiently concerning that I would suspect that any politician using their services sets a dangerous precedent. After all, in a city mired in public corruption I would argue that any candidate running for office would consider whom they do business with before contracting them. A politician asking for a taxpayers vote should consider the ethics of whom they hire. So who are the candidates using The Forma Group this election cycle?
According to the Texas Ethics Commission financial disclosure forms, The Forma Group has managed about $1.6 million on behalf of candidates between July 2007 and December 23, 2013. The following graph and table shows how much money they managed by year.
The following candidates contracted The Forma Group for campaign services. Remember that as far back as 2007, Woody Hunt stated through his Citizens for Prosperity PAC that instead of campaign contributions going directly to candidates that the funds would go to The Forma Group and Mark Walker on behalf of the candidates he and his cohorts supported.
From the candidates that contracted The Forma Group I selected the following, as they are current active candidates running for office.
Norma P. Chavez used The Forma Group from October 15 through October 29, 2008 for a total of $23,686.00. Chavez is currently running for the Texas House District 76 seat against Naomi Gonzalez. Chavez lost the seat she held for more than a decade in 2010 to Gonzalez. Shortly after that, in May 2010 Naomi Gonzalez started to use The Forma Group. She is still using them. However before I get into Naomi Gonzalez I feel it is important that I point out two things to you.
As you probably already know, I’m about connecting the dots. Therefore, I feel it is important that I point out two important items to you. The first is the controversy that transpired in early 2013 where both Naomi Gonzalez and Marisa Marquez appeared together on a mailer on behalf of Dee Margo. As you will see later in my post Dee Margo, Naomi Gonzalez and Marisa Marquez account for a majority of the monies handled by The Forma Group.
The question now becomes where does Norma Chavez fit into this scheme. Looking at the time line, you will note that Chavez used The Forma Group in 2008 and Naomi Gonzalez started to use them shortly after she beat Chavez in 2010. So much for loyalty.
But there is more, The Forma Group are hired guns and therefore their loyalty lies where the money is coming from. As hired guns, I believe they will do whatever it takes to get their client into office, including creating whisper campaigns online and through political circles to benefit their paying customers.
Consider the following. When Norma Chavez was a client of The Forma Group, Ricardo Armendariz was praising her. In 2009, he wrote online; “Thank you Norma Chavez et.al. involved in opening Speaking Rock. I support you!” As soon as Norma Chavez stopped being a paid client she became persona-non-grata for him. Political observers knew Chavez would seek to reclaim her Texas House seat and having Naomi Gonzalez as a client necessitated creating whisper campaigns against Chavez. This is where Forma’s extraordinaire useful idiot comes into play. You’ll be reading more about him on Monday.
For now, let us continue on with Naomi Gonzalez.
Gonzalez started using The Forma Group almost from the moment she beat Chavez in 2010. Since then she has paid The Forma Group $341,629.04 through December. The now infamous mug shot of her arrest for driving while intoxicated in March of 2013 is probably one of the reasons she has spent the second most amount on The Forma Group. They need to overcome the image of her arrest with the electorate.
And this leads on to Marisa Marquez. Marquez has worked with The Forma Group since December 2008. Through December of last year, she has spent $186,067.87 with them. Marquez is a little less problematic for The Forma Group however, they are not taking any chances. Notice how their useful idiot has been going after Lyda Ness-Garcia. Marquez only needs to overcome her picture on Dee Margo’s mailer.
Rounding out the local politicos using The Forma Group is Dee Margo. In all, Dee Margo has spent $646,172.95 with The Forma Group. Interestingly it makes sense that Margo, a Republican would spend the most with The Forma Group who is funded by some of the wealthiest in El Paso.
What doesn’t make sense is why self-styled Democrats like Gonzalez and Marquez use a consultant whose revenues are closely tied to the Republican Party. It’s almost as if Gonzalez and Marquez are disguising themselves as Democrats in an election that takes the Democrat label in order to prevail. It makes sense though that The Forma Group would dress them up in Democratic Party credentials in order to install them into office.
Keep in mind that the candidates I profiled for you here account for about 73% of all of the campaign contributions handled by The Forma Group since 2007.
There are other transactions involving other candidates including in-kind contributions through the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC and the Citizen for Prosperity that I did not include here because they are not significant to the El Paso races.
As I outlined in yesterday’s post I have significant questions about the ethics of The Forma Group. Political consultants aren’t necessarily the most ethical people on earth. There is though the fact that El Paso has a problem with public corruption and as such, I would expect politicians to be extra careful whom they choose to associate with.
Even with all of that, I still have two important questions that I yet to share with you. The first is to share with you who I think the blogger is that is acting on behalf of The Forma Group. I’ll be tackling that on Monday. In addition, last Friday, I promised you I would try to identify who Aliana Apodaca paid $11,500 for campaign services. She listed the company as STA. It seems STA are initials and I think I’ve identified who they are. I’ll reveal to you what I know on Tuesday.