Texas Democrats’ stunt to block an election security bill by fleeing the state for Washington, D.C. is expected to cost around $1.5 million, the state lawmaker leading fundraising efforts for the Democrats said Monday.
More than 50 Democratic members of the state House fled to the nation’s capital last week to prevent Republicans from advancing a sweeping election security bill during a special legislative session. The state legislature requires a quorum of two-thirds of lawmakers to be present in order to conduct business in the chamber.
Democratic state Rep. Armando Walle said in an interview that the cost of keeping Democrats outside the state until the special session ends Aug. 7 will cost around $1.5 million, NBC News reported. Democrats are not using taxpayer dollars for the stunt, but are instead financing the costs with personal credit cards and through fundraising efforts, lawmakers said.
“The price of keeping the Democrats out of Texas through Aug. 7, when the session expires, is expected to be around $1.5 million, state Rep. Armando Walle (D) said in an interview.” https://t.co/vFR56MkGoQ
— Logan Ratick (@Logan_Ratick) July 19, 2021
Walle said the private charter jets the majority of lawmakers flew on to Washington, D.C. cost more than $100,000 and were paid for by a wire transfer from the state House Democratic Caucus hours before takeoff, NBC News reported. Other expenses included housing, food and other transportation costs. (RELATED: More Texas Democrats Who Fled State Test Positive For COVID)
Texas Democrats booked a number of hotel rooms at a D.C. hotel using a member’s personal American Express card, one lawmaker said, adding that members are expected to be reimbursed.
Walle also said the state House Democratic Caucus has received around $250,000 in donations and other financial commitments, NBC News reported. Former Democratic Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke said last week his voting rights group Powered by People raised more than $500,000 for the lawmakers in the first two days after they fled, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The NAACP is also raising money to support the Texas Democrats. The group’s president, Derrick Johnson, promised a bail fund for the lawmakers in case they are arrested upon returning to Texas, according to The Hill.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott threatened to have the lawmakers arrested when they ultimately return to the state during an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
“There is no excuse for their PR stunt, and I join thousands of Texans in demanding that these Democrats get back to work,” Abbott said in a recent statement, according to The Associated Press.