First, Geren, who chairs the powerful House Administration committee, had to announce an updated and more rigorous sexual harassment policy after claiming just last month there was no need to discuss the policy because there had been no complaints of harassment. In November, Geren told the Texas Tribune, “We don’t have any (referring to sexual harassment complaints). I don’t deal in ‘ifs.’ When there’s one, I’ll handle it. And that’s it.” Within weeks of Geren’s statement, multiple allegations of harassment surfaced in which victims claimed they had suffered predatory behavior and found little recourse. At least one of the alleged victims claims she reported the incident to Geren himself.
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One of the biggest differences distinguishing Empower Texans from other advocacy groups is the fact that they do not lobby elected officials. They do not write bills or meet with lawmakers to ensure passage or failure of particular legislation. Instead, Empower Texans focuses on reporting information to voters about what’s happening at the Capitol and then aiding citizens in holding legislators accountable for their actions. As the most outspoken opponent of current Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, the group is often at odds with Straus’ inner circle, Democrats, and other more moderate Republican legislators. Empower Texans is also known for its promotion of conservative policies and for their scorecard, The Fiscal Responsibility Index, which scores legislators based on votes and positions taken on liberty and self-governance issues. Texas Monthly has called them “one of the most influential advocacy groups in Austin” and has described their scorecard as having the power “to make or break careers.”
Mr. Frost & Ms. Wall are relatively new to the Texas political giving scene, with their first donation coming in 2008. They’ve made up for lost time over the past few cycles though, as their giving has increased dramatically. Mr. Frost, 72, and Ms. Wall, 50, are members of Second Baptist Church in Houston.