Activists Bailed Out Accused Criminals, Then Asked Them To Canvass For Dem Candidate

Activists Bailed Out Accused Criminals, Then Asked Them To Canvass For Dem Candidate

By Trevor Schakohl

The bail reform-supporting Texas Organizing Project (TOP) reportedly paid alleged criminals to work in support of Democratic Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales’ campaign after bailing them out of jail, according to News 4 San Antonio.

Some people the TOP bailed out of jail were being paid $20 per hour to canvass for them, staff member Greg Williams said in a recorded phone call with a man pretending to be a Bexar County inmate bailed out by the organization, the outlet reported. (RELATED: RNC Prepares For Election Integrity Legal Fights As Midterms Get Underway)

“We have certain asks of people that we bail out,” Williams reportedly told the caller, the local outlet reported. “The certain ask is, this is getting into election time, and we have people out here canvassing for us that we bailed out, they’re making twenty dollars an hour.”

Trouble Shooter Jaie Avila obtained audio of the call, according to News 4.

Gonzales reportedly contributed $5,000 to TOP in late August, and the organization performed more than $27,000 in canvassing for him the next month, according to campaign finance records News 4 cited. But there is no indication that Gonzales worked directly or indirectly with TOP’s canvassing activities, according to the outlet.

TOP Statewide Policy Coordinator Laquita Garcia was on the call with Williams, according to News 4 . The organization later claimed their staff member was new and “misspoke regarding paid canvassing opportunities.”

“TOP unequivocally condemns the practice of quid pro quo, full stop,” the organization said in a statement to News 4.

TOP has bailed hundreds of inmates out of jail, claiming they are low-level offenders, but some were reportedly repeat offenders with violent histories, according to a New 4 analysis. The organization has also canvassed for Democratic Texas state Attorney General candidate Rochelle Garza, and Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar in 2020, according to the outlet.

“Sending people that have just committed a crime that we know, we’ve seen, have a history of committing crimes while on bond, and you’re sending them to people’s houses, to me it’s a public safety issue,” Gonzales’ Republican challenger in the district attorney race Marc LaHood said, according to News 4.

Gonzales denied involvement with the TOP’s inmate bailouts to the outlet in May.

“Neither my office nor my campaign staff have provided direction to or have any influence over Texas Organizing Project’s PAC recruiting, hiring, or training practices for their canvassers or their program for defendants who are bonded out,” Gonzales told News 4 recently.

The TOP and Gonzalez, Garza and Salazar’s campaigns did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.


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