Defend Texas Liberty – the far-right political action committee (PAC) whose president recently hosted white supremacist Nick Fuentes for an hours-long meeting – apparently has new leadership.
Former state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, who hosted Fuentes, apparently no longer leads the group as president, Texas Tribune managing editor Matthew Watkins says. Stickland’s name has been removed from the PAC’s website, and Luke Macias, a Republican political strategist, has assumed the role of president.
“We’ve asked many questions about what’s going on,” Watkins says. “They won’t say, but it seems as though it’s very possible that some action has been taken here.”
Defend Texas Liberty is the latest iteration of efforts from the far-right to challenge what they consider “moderate” Republicans in the state Legislature, Watkins notes.
After the Tribune provided evidence of Fuentes – an open white supremacist, misogynist and avowed Nazi sympathizer – meeting with Stickland at his right-wing consulting firm, political turmoil engulfed the state Capitol.
Some members of the Texas House, led by Republican Speaker Dade Phelan, have decided to return donations received from the PAC in response to the controversy. The largest beneficiary of PAC funds, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, received $3 million but opted not to return the money. However, he publicly distanced himself from the meeting involving Fuentes.
For more stories from the week in Texas politics, listen to the interview in the audio player above.