Dan Branch

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Dan Branch
Dan Branch.JPG
Current candidacy
Running for Attorney General of Texas
General election November 4, 2014
Current office
Texas House of Representatives, District 108
In office
2003 - Present
Term ends
January 13, 2015
Years in position 11
PartyRepublican
Compensation
Base salary$7,200/year
Per diem$150/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First elected2002
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Education
Bachelor'sOklahoma Christian University, 1980
J.D.Southern Methodist University School of Law, 1983
Websites
Office website
CandidateVerification
Daniel H. Branch (b. March 5, 1958) is a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing District 108. He was first elected to the chamber in 2002.

Branch is running for Attorney General of Texas in 2014.[1]

Biography

Branch earned a bachelor's degree from Oklahoma Christian University in 1980 and earned a Juris Doctorate from Southern Methodist University School of Law in 1983.

Upon receiving his law school degree, Branch was brought to Washington D.C., where he worked as an aide to then-United States Senator John Tower. He then went on to serve on the Texas Supreme Court as a judicial clerk for Chief Justice Jack Pope, a position he maintained for three years beginning in 1982. For over two decades, Branch has practiced law at a number of private firms across the state of Texas. In 1984, he joined the prestigious global law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP where he remained for the next two years. From 1987 until 1991, Branch served as an attorney at law for Baker Botts L.L.P., a major United States-based international law firm. He left the firm to found his own, working as a partner of Langley and Branch for eight years before aligning himself with Winstead, Sechrest, and Minick, one of the largest business firms in the state whose attorneys and consultants serve as trusted advisors to mid-market and large businesses throughout the country, as both an attorney as well as a shareholder.

Branch entered local politics when he campaigned in 1991 for United States House of Representatives seat in the third congressional district. Despite winning the party nomination, he ultimately lost the general election contest. Although he served as co-chair of the Dallas County George W. Bush for Governor committee in both 1994 and 1998, Branch would not take a more active role in local politics for another eight years. It was in 1999 that he was named as chairman of the Texas Public Finance Authority, a state political organization created in 1984 by the Texas Legislature to provide financing for the construction and/or acquisition of facilities created for the use of state agencies; he remained in this role for two years. When George W. Bush ran for President of the United States in 2000, Branch acted first as member of the Texas delegation at the Republican National Convention and then later as a member of the Bush-Cheney Florida Legal Team during the hotly contested recount effort in December 2000.

Committee assignments

2013-2014

At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Branch served on the following committees:

Texas Committee Assignments, 2013
Calendars
Higher Education, Chair
Pensions
Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Ed Governance, Excellence & Transparency, Co-Chair

2011-2012

During the 2011-2012 legislative session, Branch served on the following Texas House of Representatives committees:

Issues

Voting transparency

Branch has made state legislative voting transparency a signature issue. The Dallas Morning News commended him for this, writing, "It's a good day when a bright, upwardly mobile state legislator like Dan Branch goes on record in support of recorded votes. We salute Mr. Branch."[2]

Universities

Texas Monthly in its "Best and Worst Legislators of 2009" edition said that Branch is one of the state's best legislators because he has put "Texas on the path to developing more top-tier universities."[3]

University of Texas investigations


Seal of Texas.svg.png

University of Texas Investigations

Background
Wallace Hall impeachment trialPolitical favoritism in admissions to the University of TexasForgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations (TSAO)Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Ed Governance, Excellence & Transparency

UT Regents
Wallace HallPaul FosterEugene PowellSteven HicksErnest AlisedaJeffery HildebrandBrenda PejovichAlex CranbergRobert Stillwell

Elected Officials
Rick PerryJoe StrausCharles PerryTrey FischerDan FlynnNaomi GonzalezEric JohnsonLyle LarsonCarol AlvaradoFour PriceJim PittsDan Branch

UT Individuals
Bill PowersLarry SagerBarry BurgdorfKevin HegartyFrancisco CigarroaCarol Longoria
See also: Wallace Hall impeachment trial, Forgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School and Political favoritism in admissions to the University of Texas

After he was appointed in 2011, University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall began looking into what he believed to be clout scandals within the University of Texas system. Hall investigated the university's forgivable-loans program and admissions policies and preferential treatment to politically-connected individuals.[4] Hall, as an individual citizen, filed a large number of FOIA requests with the University system after his inquiries via his role as a Regent were rebuffed.[5] According to his accusers, Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden.[6][7] However, a letter from University chancellor Francisco Cigarroa in February 2014 said that Hall likely requested fewer than 100,000 pages.[8][9] In addition, Cigarroa wrote: "During testimony before the Select Committee, some early witnesses implied that the U.T. System has not protected the privacy rights of students, staff, and patients. This is simply not true."[10] Governor Rick Perry and University of Texas President Bill Powers have differed on education issues, specifically tuition, graduation rates, teacher roles and research.[11]

An effort was begun in June 2013 to try and impeach Hall from his position as Regent. On June 24, 2013, State House representative Jim Pitts (R) filed a resolution to advance along impeachment proceedings of Hall by the select committee.[12] However, State House Speaker Joe Straus issued a proclamation that expanded the jurisdiction of the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, allowing it to investigate a possible impeachment. Some legislators are justifying the impeachment under the grounds that Hall did not disclose several lawsuits that he was involved in when he originally completed his Regent background check. Hall updated Perry's office in April 2013 with the full list.[13][14] No unelected official in Texas has ever been successfully impeached or removed from office.[15] Perry's spokesperson said the investigations send a "chilling message" to gubernatorial appointees.[16] He added that the investigation was "extraordinary political theater."[17] Texas state legislators have never previously tried to remove an appointed official. Only two elected officials in the history of Texas have ever been successfully impeached.[18][19]

Branch is co-chairman of the Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence, and Transparency, which inquired into the possibility of an impeachment. In an April 2013 interview with Texas Monthly, Hall said that there was little outreach from state officials about the process prior to the impeachment proceedings. "Dan Branch has been a friend of mine for many years. He’s never asked me a question about this situation, and the next thing I know he’s asking his staff to investigate the rules for impeachment. I’m mystified by that, frankly," Hall said.[20]

In November 2013, committee member Trey Martinez Fischer submitted a request indicating a desire to look at Hall's personal computers, iPads and smartphones as part of the investigation. "we must consider forensic examination of the personal or professional electronic communications of the regents in order to ensure compliance with the law," Fischer wrote in a letter to committee attorney Rusty Hardin.[21]

At a November 12, 2013 meeting, the committee issued a subpoena for Hall to appear on December 10. However, legislators quickly rescinded the subpoena, since no meeting was scheduled until December 18. Legislators also voted to issue subpoenas to University of Texas Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and University of Texas, Austin President Bill Powers to appear at the December 18, 2013 meeting.[22][23][24][25]

Authored

  • HB 51 - Relating to measures to enhance and maintain the quality of state universities, including funding and incentives to support emerging public research universities, to the abolition of the higher education fund, to the institutional groupings under the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's accountability system, to the independent status of Lamar Institute of Technology, to research conducted by public universities and other state entities, and to the authorization of revenue bonds for certain institutions of higher education.[26]
  • HB 55 - Relating to an offense of using a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle.[27]
  • HB 1768 - Relating to the elimination of straight-party voting.[28] (Left pending in committee)
  • HB 4292 - Relating to access to criminal history record information by the office of the attorney general.[29] (Reported favorably w/o amendment(s))
  • HB 4293 - Relating to notice to the attorney general of an action, suit, or proceeding challenging the validity of a Texas statute or rule.[30] (Referred to State Affairs)
  • HJR 16 - Proposing a constitutional amendment requiring any increase in a franchise tax rate to be approved by three-fourths of all the members elected to each house of the legislature.[31] (Left pending in committee)
  • HJR 139 - Proposing a constitutional amendment establishing the national research university fund to enable emerging research universities in this state to achieve national prominence as major research universities and transferring the balance of the higher education fund to the national research university fund.[32] (Referred to Higher Education)

Joint Authored

  • HB 4031 - Relating to the agricultural biomass and landfill diversion incentive program.[33]
  • HB 4149 - Relating to certain studies and reports by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board regarding achievable cost-saving measures and the use and availability of electronic textbooks at institutions of higher education.[34]
  • HB 4386 - Relating to the creation of DNA records for the DNA database system.[35] (Laid on the table subject to call)

  • SB 174 - Relating to accountability of institutions of higher education, including educator preparation programs, and online institution resumes for public institutions of higher education.[36]
  • SB 175 - Relating to the automatic admission of undergraduate students to certain general academic teaching institutions and to scholarship and other programs to facilitate enrollment at institutions of higher education.[37]
  • SB 1081 - Relating to access to criminal history record information by the office of the attorney general.[38]
  • SB 2244 - Relating to the eligibility of employees of certain businesses or organizations established as part of the state's economic development program and of dependents of those employees to pay resident tuition at public institutions of higher education.[39]
  • SB 2262 - Relating to the administration of mathematics, science, and technology teacher preparation academies at institutions of higher education.[40]

Campaign themes

2008

Branch's answers to the Texas State Legislative Election 2008 Political Courage Test are available. The test informs voters how a candidate would vote on the issues if elected. He did not provide an answer when asked his legislative priorities.[41]

Elections

2014

See also: Texas attorney general election, 2014

Branch is running for election as Texas Attorney General. Branch came in second for the Republican nomination in the primary on March 4, 2014 and faces a runoff with Ken Paxton on May 27. The general election takes place November 4, 2014.[1][42]

  • Primary
Texas Attorney General Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Barry Smitherman 22.1% 281,050
Green check mark transparent.pngDan Branch 33.5% 426,561
Green check mark transparent.pngKen Paxton 44.4% 566,080
Total Votes 1,273,691
Election Results Via:Texas Secretary of State.

Endorsements

  • Former Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Troy Aikman[43]

2012

See also: Texas House of Representatives elections, 2012

Branch won re-election in the 2012 election for Texas House of Representatives, District 108. Branch ran unopposed in the May 29 primary election and defeated Jarrett Rab Woods (L) in the general election, which took place on November 6, 2012.[44][45]

Texas House of Representatives, District 108, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngDan Branch Incumbent 79.7% 43,675
     Libertarian Jarrett Rab Woods 20.3% 11,133
Total Votes 54,808

2010

See also: Texas House of Representatives elections, 2010

Branch won re-election in District 108. He was unopposed in the March 2 Republican primary and defeated Democrat Pete Schulte and Libertarian Jarrett Woods in the November 2 general election.[46]

Texas House of Representatives, District 108
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent


Green check mark transparent.png Dan Branch (R) 21,420 64.91%
Pete Schulte (D) 10,793 32.71%
Jarrett Woods (L) 783 2.37%

2008

On November 4, 2008, Branch won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives from the 108th District, receiving 33,442 votes ahead of Libertarian Emil Reichstadt (21,737).[47] He raised $1,546,864 for his campaign; Reichstadt raised $60,715.[48]

Texas House of Representatives, District 108
Candidates Votes Percent


Green check mark transparent.png Dan Branch (R) 33,442 60.60%
Emil Reichstadt (D) 21,737 39.39%

2006

On November 4, 2006 Branch won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives from Texas's 108th District, defeating Jack Borden (D) and T. Evan Fisher (L).[49]

Branch raised $639,610 for his campaign while Borden raised $1,600 and Fisher raised $1,245.[50]

Texas House of Representatives, District 108 (2006)
Candidates Votes


Green check mark transparent.png Dan Branch (R) 17,244
Jack Borden (D) 12,447
T. Evan Fisher (L) 1,106

2004

On November 4, 2004 Branch won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives from Texas's 108th District, defeating Malcome Dade (D).[51]

Branch raised $527,402 for his campaign while Dade raised $6,712.[52]

Texas House of Representatives, District 108 (2004)
Candidates Votes


Green check mark transparent.png Dan Branch (R) 31,684
Malcom Dade (D) 19,010

2002

On November 4, 2002 Branch won election to the Texas House of Representatives from Texas's 108th District, defeating Malcom Dade (R).[53]

Branch raised $421,614 for his campaign while Malcom raised $4,323.[54]

Texas House of Representatives, District 108 (2002)
Candidates Votes


Green check mark transparent.png Dan Branch (R) 21,514
Malcom Dade (D) 10,862

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Branch is available dating back to 2002. Based on available campaign finance records, Branch raised a total of $7,108,428 during that time period. This information was last updated on August 15, 2013.[55]

Dan Branch's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Texas State House, District 108 Won $2,594,365
2010 Texas State House, District 108 Won $1,378,573
2008 Texas State House, District 108 Won $1,546,864
2006 Texas State House, District 108 Won $639,610
2004 Texas State House, District 108 Won $527,402
2002 Texas State House, District 108 Won $421,614
Grand Total Raised $7,108,428

2012

Branch won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Branch raised a total of $2,594,365.

2010

Branch won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2010. During that election cycle, Branch raised a total of $1,378,573.

2008

Branch won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2008. During that election cycle, Branch raised a total of $1,546,864.

2006

Branch won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2006. During that election cycle, Branch raised a total of $639,610.

2004

Branch won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2004. During that election cycle, Branch raised a total of $527,402.

2002

Branch won election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2002. During that election cycle, Branch raised a total of $421,614.

Scorecards

Empower Texans Fiscal Responsibility Index

Empower Texans produces the Fiscal Responsibility Index as "a measurement of how lawmakers perform on size and role of government issues." The index uses "exemplar votes on core budget and free enterprise issues that demonstrate legislators' governing philosophy."[56] Legislators were graded along a 0 through 100 scale in 2013 and on an A through F grading scale in 2011.

2013

Test received a score of 58.2 in the 2013 Fiscal Responsibility Index, compared to the grade of C+ that Test received for the 2011 Fiscal Responsibility Index.

2011

Dan Branch received a grade of C+ on the 2011 Fiscal Responsibility Index.

Personal

Branch and his wife, Stacey, have five children, named Daniel Jr., Spencer, Catherine, Charles, and Sarah. They currently live in Dallas, Texas.

Organizations and other activities

  • Secretary, The Fund for American Studies (1993-present)
  • Board Member, The John G. Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University (1997-present)
  • Trustee, Southwestern Medical Foundation (1999-present)
  • Board Member, Dallas Real Estate Council (2000-present)
  • Member, Southeastern Medical Foundation (2000-present)
  • President, The Dallas Assembly (2000-2001)
  • Board Member, John Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University (2003-present)
  • Board Chair, John Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University (2007- present)
  • Chairman, John Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University (2007-present)
  • Board Member, Texas Education Reform Foundation (2008- present)
  • Member, Boy Scouts of America Circle Ten Council
  • Member, Council on Foreign Relations

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External links

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Austin Statesman, "Branch announces candidacy for attorney general," July 23, 2013
  2. Dan Branch, "Pressroom"
  3. Texas Monthly, "The Best and Worst Legislators 2009," July 2009
  4. American Spectator "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013
  5. Daily Texas Online "Facing impeachment, Regent Wallace Hall defends actions in debate with Sen. Kirk Watson," September 28, 2013
  6. Daily Texas Online "Former UT System vice chancellor alleges Regent Wallace Hall’s ‘clear intent to get rid of Bill Powers’," October 24, 2013
  7. Dallas Morning News "UT regent sought 800,000 documents, official says in impeachment hearing," October 22, 2013
  8. Watchdog "‘Witch hunt’ fallout: Speaker calls for narrower public records law," February 5, 2014
  9. Texas Tribune "UT System Responds to Transparency Committee Directives," February 3, 2014
  10. Texas Tribune "Cigarroa letter to the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations," February 1, 2014
  11. Austin American Statesman "Perry pans impeachment proceedings, defends UT Regent Hall," October 30, 2013
  12. Alcalde "Pitts Files Resolution to Impeach UT Regent Wallace Hall," June 24, 2013
  13. Texas Tribune "UT Regent Wallace Hall Updates Lawsuit Disclosures," April 30, 2013
  14. Real Clear Policy "The Campaign Against Wallace Hall," August 15, 2013
  15. News-Journal "University of Texas regent not worried by impeachment inquiry," September 9, 2013
  16. Texas Tribune "Transparency Committee to Mull Impeachment of UT Regent," June 25, 2013
  17. Texas Tribune "Perry Blasts Impeachment Probe of Wallace Hall," October 30, 2013
  18. Texas Public Radio "UT Regent Wallace Hall Will Testify In Impeachment Hearing," November 13, 2013
  19. Texas State House Committees "Transparency in State Agency Operations Committee Members," accessed October 31, 2013
  20. Texas Monthly "The Wallace Hall Interview," April 15, 2013
  21. Texas Tribune "Lawmaker Eyes Access to UT Regents' Computers," November 4, 2013
  22. San Francisco Chronicle "Texas House subpoenas Hall, but then recalls it," November 12, 2013
  23. Texas Tribune "UT System Lawyer: Hall May Have Shared Private Info," November 12, 2013
  24. Austin American Statesman "UT Regent Wallace Hall might have broken privacy laws, panel members suggest," November 12, 2013
  25. Texas Tribune "Committee Recalls Subpoena for UT Regent Hall," November 12, 2013
  26. Texas Legislature - HB 51
  27. Texas Legislature - HB 55
  28. Texas Legislature - HB 1768
  29. Texas Legislature - HB 4292
  30. Texas Legislature - HB 4293
  31. Texas Legislature - HJR 16
  32. Texas Legislature - HJR 139
  33. Texas Legislature - HB 4031
  34. Texas Legislature - HB 4149
  35. Texas Legislature - HB 4386
  36. Texas Legislature - SB 174
  37. Texas Legislature - SB 175
  38. Texas Legislature - SB 1081
  39. Texas Legislature - SB 2244
  40. Texas Legislature - SB 2262
  41. Project Vote Smart - Rep. Branch Issue Positions
  42. Austin Culture Map "Cruz to the finish line? Dallas Rep. Dan Branch joins Texas attorney general race" November 13, 2013
  43. Houston Chronicle, "UPDATE: Texas attorney general’s race sees strange endorsement," October 1, 2013
  44. Texas GOP list of candidates for 2012 Elections
  45. Texas Secretary of State, "1992 - Current Election History," accessed February 17, 2014
  46. Official Texas Election Results
  47. Texas Secretary of State, "1992 - Current Election History," accessed February 24, 2014
  48. District 108 Texas House candidate funds, 2008
  49. Texas House official election results for 2006
  50. District 108 Texas House candidate funds, 2006
  51. Texas House official election results for 2004
  52. District 108 Texas House candidate funds, 2004
  53. Texas House official election results for 2002
  54. District 108 Texas House candidate funds, 2002
  55. Follow the Money, "Branch, Dan," accessed August 15, 2013
  56. Empower Texans, "Fiscal Responsibility Index," accessed February 22, 2014


Political offices
Preceded by
Kenn George
Texas House - District 108
2003–present
Succeeded by
NA