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King Street Patriots set fundraising goal of $500K

Fresh off the heels of its national True the Vote summit, Houston tea party group King Street Patriots (KSP) is seeking to raise $500,000 to achieve its goal of recruiting 1 million volunteers across the nation to monitor polling places during the 2012 presidential election.

A letter to supporters reads:

“If you have been to a weekly meeting at King Street, you know our hallmark of fundraising is passing a cowboy hat. **Fellow patriots, we cannot pass a cowboy hat fast enough to keep up with the growth of our program. **We’ve moved to larger space, added a weekly live stream webcast, and are actively working to build True the Vote models across the country. The True the Vote National Summit was attended by patriots from 27 states and watched by thousands online. Together, we are building a national program. To continue to grow and sustain this burgeoning national effort we will need to raise approximately $500,000. That is a big number, but it is absolutely achievable. Together, we can true the vote in every election across the nation.”

From March-October 2010, the Houston tea party group brought in about $87,000 in donations, according to financial records it posted online in response to legal action threatened by the Texas Democratic Party, the Texas Independent previously reported. Three large individual deposits accounted for more than $34,000 of that total.

KSP, its True the Vote project and leader Catherine Engelbrecht are embroiled in suits brought by Texas Democrats, Harris County Democratic Party and Houston Votes head Fred Lewis, and is also the subject of a Texas Ethics Commission complaint by nonprofit watchdog Texans for Public Justice. KSP is a 501(c)4 nonprofit, while True the Vote has applied for 501(c)3 status.

Last Friday, U.S. Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) commended KSP on the floor of Congress for receiving the Ronald Reagan Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Olson said:

“The King Street Patriots started the True the Vote initiative in an attempt to uncover voter fraud in the greater Houston area. In their investigation they discovered unimagined levels of voter fraud, from vacant lots with registered voters to election judges helping voters with their ballots.

This is a movement made up of ordinary citizens who realize that voter fraud is one of the most egregious offenses under our Constitution. The King Street Patriots are now lobbying the Texas legislature to strengthen election laws and prevent future abuses.”

KSP challenged thousands of voter registration applications — not in Olson’s suburban Congressional District 22 — but in inner-city Houston’s CD 18, represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

A request for comment was not immediately returned by Jackson Lee’s office.

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