ICYMI: Texas Republicans Hire Partisan Political Operative to Draw Maps During this Decade’s Redistricting Process
ContactFabiola Rodriguez firstname.lastname@example.org
Austin, TX — The Texas Tribune reports this week that the legislature quietly added Adam Foltz to their payroll — a political operative with a history of aiding Republicans in Wisconsin — in their quest to consolidate power at the expense of communities of color. As the map drawing process in Texas kicks into high gear, Texas legislators have once again proven that they are willing to bend and even break the rules to attack American democracy through egregious gerrymandering.
Texas legislators have the opportunity to undo the proposed gerrymandering scheme and draw fair maps, but they have instead decided to hire a partisan political operative to work with them behind-the-scenes and draw unfair maps that dilute the votes and voices of Texans.
It’s clear Texas legislators tried to hide the hiring of Foltz who is being paid with state dollars because they knew they wanted to replicate an egregious partisan gerrymander. The Tribune states a federal court found that Foltz’s work for the Wisconsin legislature included multiple violations of the Voting Rights Act for “improperly dilut[ing] the vote of Latinos.” The court also criticized Foltz’s process for being “needlessly secret” and “excluding input from the overwhelming majority of Wisconsin citizens.”
Statement from NDRC Spokesperson, Fabiola Rodriguez:
“Texas Republicans are on a mission to lock in gerrymandered districts for the next decade by eliminating all of the competitive or toss up seats in the state. And they’re now adding a sharp kick in the face to democracy by secretly hiring an extreme partisan political operative who was condemned by courts for drawing maps that diluted the voices and votes of communities of color. Make no mistake, NDRC is watching Republican legislators closely and will continue to fight for a fair process and maps that accurately reflect the Lone Star State’s communities of interest and the growing urban and suburban communities.”
- Adam Foltz, a Republican operative with a problematic history regarding redistricting, has quietly been on the Texas Legislature’s payroll throughout the redistricting process.
- Despite the staff directory claiming that he works for the House Redistricting Committee, at least one Democrat on the committee had no knowledge of Foltz’s involvement.
- Foltz is officially on the payroll of the Texas Legislative Council, a “non-partisan state agency” that “manages the internal mapping tool lawmakers use to redraw political maps”.
- In 2010, Foltz was hired as an aide to the Speaker of the Assembly in the Wisconsin state legislature.
- In Wisconsin, he worked out of a private law firm and operated under what federal courts deemed “a cloak of secrecy”, holding meetings with every Republican member of the House and not a single Democrat.
- Ultimately, a federal court found that Foltz’s maps contained multiple violations of the Voting Rights Acts for “improperly dilut[ing] the vote of Latinos”.
- The court also criticized Foltz’s process for being “needlessly secret” and “excluding input from the overwhelming majority of Wisconsin citizens”.
- “’Without a doubt, the Legislature made a conscious choice to involve private lawyers in what gives every appearance of an attempt — albeit poorly disguised — to cloak the private machinations of Wisconsin’s Republican legislators in the shroud of attorney-client privilege,’ the court said in a 2012 ruling. ‘What could have — indeed should have — been accomplished publicly instead took place in private, in an all but shameful attempt to hide the redistricting process from public scrutiny.’”
- In Texas, people of color have accounted for 95% of the state’s growth since 2010- over half of that from Hispanic Texans. The state’s newly proposed congressional map- designed in conjunction with Foltz- does not reflect that reality.