No one can say that Texas Republican staffer Todd Gallaher didn't give 110 percent. Unfortunately for Gallaher, however, his efforts werenât appreciated.
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Last Monday he was forced to resign from his post on the staff of state Sen. Bob Deuell (R-TX) because of the uproar caused by his scheming. And on Friday the Texas attorney generalâs office confirmed that Aransas County Sheriff Mark Gilliam filed a complaint claiming that Gallaher was behind the smear campaign against him in the March 4 Republican primary.
Gilliam, the incumbent, was running against County Constable Bill Mills. The sheriff says he received e-mails before the election threatening him to âback offâ or be publicly humiliated.
Subsequently, the voters of Aransas County received pictures of Gilliam carousing shirtless at a party, mooning the guests and pretending to kiss a man.
The pictures were authentic, if 18 years old, but the senderâs e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, was clearly deceptive. The voters assumed it belonged to Democratic state Rep. Juan Garcia, whose district includes Aransas County. When Garcia learned of the e-mails from callers who had received them, his IT staff tracked them down from the Capitol to Sen. Deuellâs office to Gallaherâs state computer. (Gilliam also traced the e-mails he received to Deuellâs office.)
But Gallaher denies the charge that he posed as Garcia. He was using an identity he created long ago, a âsuper hero-like caricatureâ he named âRepublican Jaun Garciaâ [sic], he says. Though Gallaher has produced sketches of the cartoon character from the 90s, showing that the name is âJaunâ and not âJuan,â the name was spelled correctly in the e-mail address.
And it appears that Gallaher was not working pro bono. An examination of campaign finance records revealed that Mills, Gilliamâs successful opponent, paid between $17,000 and $11,000 (accounts vary) to a political consultant in Austin whose address is Gallaherâs post office box.
Gilliam isnât contesting his loss in the primary, but heâs charging Gallaher with using state property with the intent of âharming or defrauding another,â a criminal offense under the Texas Penal Code. âThis is an allegation of blackmail and of serious criminal acts,â he said.
Gallaherâs troubles donât end there.