As Tim wrote in Leading Off, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton paid his daughter $132,000 over the past two years. This is news, yes, but should not be a surprise. In 2011, Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Barton one of the most corrupt politicians in Congress, after the Morning News found that the 15-term congressman earned nearly $100,000 from natural gas wells that he purchased from a campaign donor, one who also advised Barton on energy policy.
He also paid his wife $58,000 during the 2006 election cycle, and doled out $12,000 to the same daughter during that same period. The problem, since 1984, when Barton first rode into office, is that no one has ever really challenged him for the Sixth Congressional district seat. But maybe that’s changing.
Look at the graph above. That’s the percentage of the vote Barton has received each year. It’s dwindling. In 2012 Barton defeated democrat Kenneth Sanders 58 percent to 39.2 percent, an 18.8 percent victory that’s his tightest since an 11.6 percent victory back in 1986. Redistricting removed much of the white, rural population from District 6 — from 73 percent of the district down to 58 percent — concentrating the new area in southeast Tarrant County. And with the shifting politics of Texas – never mind a growing Hispanic voting bloc across North Texas — Barton should expect 2014 to be even tighter.