Washington, DC – Today, Club for Growth Action launched a broadcast ad in the Texas U.S. Senate race, kicking off a seven-figure television campaign that will run over the next two months.
Entitled “Bulldozer,” the ad highlights Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s scandal-filled past. Specifically, the ad educates voters about O’Rourke’s participation in a wealthy, elite cabal of El Paso businessmen seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of the local community.
As an El Paso city councilman, O’Rourke refused to recuse himself and attempted to push through an El Paso redevelopment plan led by his wealthy father-in-law, Bill Sanders. The plan would have used eminent domain powers to bulldoze the historic Hispanic neighborhood of Segundo Barrio, displacing families and local businesses in favor of big-box retail.
At the time, Beto O’Rourke, whose district included the Segundo Barrio neighborhood, was deemed a “a liar, a thief, and a sellout,” part of an elite group of “neo-conquistadors.” (Texas Observer, 5/4/07)
Watch the ad here:
“Beto O’Rourke’s crooked past is an ominous indication of the kind of senator he would be,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh. “As liberals celebrate Beto O’Rourke as their rising star cast as a ‘man of the people,’ the truth couldn’t be more different. O’Rourke is a modern-day Elmer Gantry who has a long record of using government to enrich his family and his friends. We can’t trust Beto O’Rourke.”
- Bosses. Bullies. Conquistadores.
- El Paso’s rich and powerful stay that way by controlling politicians, like Beto O’Rourke.
- As councilman, Beto carried water for his wealthy father-in-law, the developer behind a “downtown redevelopment” scheme.
- Pushing the city to bulldoze an historic Hispanic neighborhood using eminent domain.
- A government wrecking ball, displacing poor families to enrich his own.
- Beto the Bully.
- Club For Growth Action is responsible for the content of this advertising.
Beto O’Rourke was a member of the Paso del Norte Group (PDNG), a private and highly secretive organization of powerful influencers and businessmen in El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico.
- “O’Rourke, who is running for reelection, adamantly denies any conflict of interest despite the fact that his wife, his mother, his father-in-law, and even O’Rourke himself were at one time all members of the PDNG.” (Texas Observer, 5/4/07)
- Beto O’Rourke’s father-in-law, Bill Sanders, was the driving force in developing the Paso Del Norte Group and spearheaded a plan to redevelop El Paso Downtown. (El Paso Inc, 5/29/07)
The PDNG redevelopment project would have been devastating to local communities and businesses.
- “Under the plan, roughly 325 acres between Interstate 10 and the Mexican border are targeted for redevelopment. Nearly 168 acres probably will be bulldozed, and another 157 acres designated a historical zone eligible for tax incentives.” (Texas Observer, 5/4/07)
- “Now a powerful alliance of wealthy businessmen, aided by local politicians, is on the brink of seizing the barrio. If it’s successful, hundreds of residents will be forced out of their homes. Businesses will be relocated. And the Segundo Barrio and surrounding neighborhoods gradually will be erased – ‘de-Mexicanized.’” (Texas Observer, 5/4/07)
- “The Downtown TIRZ would come with a muscular implementation program to force owners of blighted property to make one of three choices – exchange their property for shares in a real estate investment trust (REIT), in essence converting the property into a liquid investment delineated by shares in the trust; sell to the REIT at fair-market value, or; face an eminent domain action.” (El Paso Inc, 4/3/06)
Beto O’Rourke was a critical player in pushing for the PDNG redevelopment plan.
- “O’Rourke, who is the son-in-law of Sanders, made the motion to begin the process of adopting the Plan, calling Downtown ‘one piece of El Paso that was missing on the road back to greatness.’” (Newspaper Tree, 3/3/06)
- “‘El Plan,’ as it’s become known, was received with enthusiasm by El Paso’s elected officials, including Mayor John Cook…and 34-year-old Councilman Beto O’Rourke, a boyish-looking, fourth-generation El Pasoan who runs a Web-based technology business.” (Texas Observer, 5/4/07)
- Beto O’Rourke voted against an attempt to “rule out eminent domain for private development from the downtown plan” at a city council meeting on June 13, 2006. (City council minutes, 6/13/06)
- Beto O’Rourke voted for PDNG’s master plan at the city council meeting on October 31, 2006. (City council minutes, 10/31/06)
- Despite a clear conflict, O’Rourke refused to recuse himself from votes relating to the redevelopment plan. (Texas Observer, 5/4/07) (Deep Inside El Paso, 5/28/12)