On December 7th, Frank Leffingwell was quoted in the Austin Statesman saying “A person who lives off the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars does not qualify as any kind of conservative in my book, especially one with a habit of taking taxpayer-funded trips to places like Reno, Nevada, and Deer Valley, Utah. He even bills the taxpayers for stays in fancy hotels in South Austin, in spite of the fact it’s against county policy.”
In response to Leffingwell’s quote, Gravell said: “My opponent would rather launch deceptive attacks in an effort to distract away from his own failed liberal record while raising taxes every single year he has been in office.… That liberal tax-and-spend mindset is truly detrimental to Williamson County and one we cannot afford.”
We looked in to this matter and found Leffingwell’s statements not only misleading, but also blatantly false.
- Did Judge Gravell stay in Reno and Deer Valley? Yes.
- Did the taxpayers of Williamson County pay for a “fancy hotel stay in South Austin” as Leffingwell stated? No
Why was Gravell in Reno? Gravell was selected one of 16 Judges across America to attend the National Judicial College. Here is a summary of the course.
The National Judicial College (NJC) has received funding from the State Justice Institute (SJI) for an exclusive educational opportunity that will be limited. We are therefore seeking nominations from the Chief Justice and State Court Administrator of states that do not currently have a formal coaching program.
Please nominate one judge to attend the 4.5-day course and learn the fundamental concepts underlying the practice of becoming a mentor coach for other judges. The nominated judges will learn about the principles of coaching, have the opportunity for small group practice, gain an appreciation of how a mentor coaching program can positively impact judicial performance, and return to their states with a greater understanding of how to implement a formal coaching program.
As you select the nominees, please consider judges in whom you or others in your state see leadership potential.
Gravell was nominated by the Chief Justice and Administrative Director – Office of Court Administration for the State of Texas with the recommendation “Chief Justice Hecht and I would like to nominate Judge Bill Gravell, Jr., Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3 of Williamson County from Texas for the Coaching and Mentoring Judges program. Judge Gravell is on the Texas Judicial Council and is a leader among the judiciary.”
Was Gravell in Deer Valley? Yes. Who else attended? Wilco’s Director of IT along with the County and District Clerk. Why? They were at a training seminar for implementing technology in Williamson County courtrooms that would ultimately save taxpayers hundreds of thousands a year.
Did taxpayers pay for a stay in a “fancy hotel in South Austin”? No. According to sources, the Auditors office is highly upset at Leffingwell’s assertions that taxpayers paid for Gravell’s hotel room in south Austin and Leffingwell’s statement is 100% false.
Over the past few weeks, Leffingwell’s personal attacks have deepened. In a press release last week, Leffingwell stated Gravell was nothing more than a “youth pastor-turned-professional-politician and a showman”. He then attacked Gravell’s supporters calling them “court house cronies”. Calling the Sheriff, District Attorney, several other Republican leaders and anyone else who supports and endorses Gravell a “crony” is quite disturbing and very divisive for the Republican Party. Very reminiscent of being called a “deplorable”. This is extremely damaging especially given the recent losses of conservative seats to liberal Democrats in the Cedar Park and Round Rock city elections.
We were hoping to see a good clean campaign but it appears Leffingwell, by his own statements, is stooping to gutter based politics filled with wild accusations and blatantly false statements. Then again, when you have a record of voting to raise taxes every single year as a sitting city councilman in Round Rock and you don’t want that being exposed and the focus of your campaign, you sling mud to distract the public. But that’s not all Leffingwell has done. Stay tuned for the next report.