Sam Harless is making his first run as a candidate for the Texas State House of Representatives, but special interest money is already playing a big role. Harless is hearing his big money campaign contributors loud and clear, but will he listen to us?

Over the past year, Harless has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars from special interest groups and political action committees (PACs) across the state. His top contributors include party and committee special interest groups who have donated over $100,000, and anti-consumer groups who have donated over $15,000. Other big contributors include lawyers, lobbyists, executives, and insurance companies. Sam Harless may be a rookie candidate but he has already learned how to play the political money game better than most.

As Texans know all too well, money can have a large influence in decision making for elected officials, and that’s exactly what special interest groups and PACs count on when they contribute to political campaigns. When these groups help further Sam Harless’ career, they expect him to return the favor by voting their way in Austin. And too often the public loses.

Though a first-time candidate, Sam Harless is no stranger to politics. He served as campaign treasurer for his wife, Patricia Harless, the former state representative for the District 126 seat he’s now seeking.  Ironically, Patricia is now serving as treasurer for Sam (the carousel goes round and round, but taxpayers never get ahead).

Not surprisingly, Sam and Patricia share many of the same campaign contributors, perhaps because they expect the same access to him they got from her.

We won’t get the property tax relief we need as long as the corporations are getting their tax cuts first. We won’t get better schools if the privatization interests still give millions to legislators. We won’t get the consumer protection we deserve when it comes to insurance, utilities and corporations if policymakers are seduced by big campaign cash.

As long as the business lobbyists have their deals and willing politicians like Sam Harless, public officials won’t vote in favor of their constituents. We need honest government and real transparency. We need to Reform Austin.