Tablet Local

Baseball draws new attention in Congress

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, recently announced a new, bipartisan “Congressional Baseball Caucus” that is up and running.

“This is a great opportunity for members on both sides of the aisle to come together and share in our passion for America’s favorite pastime: baseball,” said Williams, a former baseball player with the Atlanta Braves’ farm system and Texas Christian University.

“I can’t think of a better way to set aside our partisan differences than to get together once in a while and hear from baseball legends, discuss important issues about the game, and simply enjoy each other’s company.”

Williams, whose district stretches from the edges of Tarrant County to Austin, anticipates caucus members meeting at least quarterly to hear from professional athletes or other individuals involved in the sport. U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pennsylvania, also helped create the caucus.

Local help

A local man has been tapped to play a major role in helping state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, try to become the state’s next lieutenant governor. Howard Katz, a local fundraiser, is the Fort Worth Team leader, one of almost a dozen key players helping Patrick statewide with campaign finance efforts.

“I am humbled by the outpouring of support our campaign is attracting,” Patrick said. “I am honored that these gentlemen have stepped forward to join our team. It’s an All-Star lineup.”

Texas spoiler?

Did the squeaker of a race this month in Virginia’s gubernatorial election have a Texas trickster? That’s what The Blaze, the Dallas-based conservative news outlet reported just as Republicans were second-guessing the loss of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to Democratic fundraiser Terry McAuliffe.

“A major Democratic Party benefactor and Obama campaign bundler helped pay for professional petition circulators responsible for getting Virginia Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert C. Sarvis on the ballot — a move that could split conservative votes in a tight race,” The Blaze said just before the election.

McAuliffe won by 47.75 percent to Cuccinelli’s 45.27 percent. Sarvis claimed 6.5 percent.

The Blaze identified Austin billionaire Joe Liemandt, founder of Trilogy, a software company, as the donor who gave $150,000 to the Libertarian Booster PAC, according to Virginia campaign records.

However, Liemandt does not appear to be the major bundler for Obama — his wife is. Andra Liemandt collected over $385,000 for Obama’s re-election according to the campaign website

Joe Liemandt is definitely a Democratic contributor, giving $75,796 in the 2012 election cycle to Democrats and Democratic committees, including $5,000 to Obama.

But he is also a big giver to Libertarian entities — $132,000 in the 2012 election cycle, including $100,000 to a Libertarian super PAC and $32,000 to the Libertarian Party National Committee.