Shady Business? Leaked Video Shows 'Dark Money' Group Behind Texas Voting Bills

The future of Texas voting in one image.
The future of Texas voting in one image.
Dallas Observer
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

With hundreds of recently introduced bills aiming to restrict voting in state legislatures nationwide, a conservative “dark money” outfit has singled out as Texas as the next big battleground over electoral legislation, according to a leaked video.

As first reported by Mother Jones, the video depicts Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America, speaking to a private meeting of donors in Tucson, Arizona, in April.

In the clip, she says that the right-wing organization wrote 19 provisions in a Texas House bill that makes it harder for election administrators to prevent voter intimidation by partisan poll watchers. The bill also makes it illegal for election officials to distribute unsolicited mail-in ballot applications.

Anderson also expressed confidence that the bill, which is opposed by businesses, civil rights groups and voting advocacy outfits, would become law in Texas. “Gov. Abbott will sign it quickly,” she said, referring to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who has backed a slate of similar voting bills.

In recent weeks, dozens of corporations have come out against voting restrictions in Texas and elsewhere. Civil rights groups say the bills would further entrench voter suppression, especially harming voters of color and those with disabilities.

“American Airlines, Dell, they’re coming after us,” Anderson added. “We need to be ready for the next fight in Texas.”

The video didn’t just include Anderson’s comments about Texas, however. Heritage Action for America, a sister organization for the Heritage Foundation, has been at the forefront of crafting similar legislation in states including Georgia, Florida, Arizona and Iowa, Mother Jones reports.

The bills picked up around the country in the wake of the November 2020 presidential election, which many Republicans baselessly claim was rigged against former President Donald Trump.

In response to Mother Jones’ inquiries, Anderson said, “We are proud of our work at the national level and in states across this country to promote commonsense reforms that make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”

She also blamed opposition to the bills on “cancel culture” and a left-wing “smear campaign.”

In Texas, Gov. Abbott declared “election integrity” an emergency legislative item this session, insisting that legal voting was in peril in the state.

During a press conference in March, Abbott said his objective was “to ensure that every eligible voter gets to vote and that only eligible ballots are counted.”

"In the 2020 election, we witnessed actions throughout our state that could risk the integrity of our elections and enable voter fraud, which is why I made election integrity an emergency item this session,” the governor said.

But the Texas Democratic Party has condemned moves to further restrict voting in Texas, already one of the most difficult states to cast a ballot in.

“The GOP lost the presidency, the House, the Senate and a lot of ground in 2020 – but instead of addressing the real problems Texans face, they continue their race to the bottom by appealing to right-wing extremists and putting forward wildly unpopular and discriminatory policies,” Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement on Friday.

“They are letting outside interests like Heritage Action control them and try to tell Texans how to live and how to vote,” Hinojosa added. “It won’t work.”

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.