More East Texas Corruption: Cherokee County Republican Chairman Steve Looney Arrested on Felony Charges
by David Bellow on January 12, 2012 at 1:20 PM
As a State Republican Executive Committeeman (SREC), I am elected to represent the Republicans in 16 counties in East Texas. Cherokee County is one of my counties. It is a great county with many good Republicans. However, there is also a bunch of corruption, mostly stemming from "good old boy" Democrat networks because Democrats have long been in power in East Texas. For the last year, there has been controversy swirling around about the County Republican Party Chairman.
Steve Looney was elected into his position when several Democrat officials switched Republican and supported Looney as the chairman. Don’t get me wrong, I want all the good conservative Democrats to wake up and switch Republican. I welcome that. Not everyone who switches are good people though, and certainly some of them do it just so they can still get elected. There was not much I could do for Cherokee County though because the county chairman is an elected position, so I just told the people of Cherokee County that if they do not like their chairman then they need to just elect a new one. This kind of thing is best handled at the local level by just electing someone new if they do not like their current chairman. The SREC cannot really even do anything anyway because, like I said, we cannot remove an elected official from office. If things get bad enough, then the SREC can pass a resolution opposing the actions of a county chairman and asking that chairman to step down, but we cannot remove anyone. We actually just recently passed a resolution disapproving of the inappropriate actions of the Upshur County Republican Chairman.
Cherokee County Chairman Steve Looney Arrested on Felony Charges
I received a call from a Republican in Cherokee County a couple of days ago. I was told that Steve Looney was arrested. Steve Looney is innocent until proven guilty, but this is still very disappointing and gives the good Republican Party of Texas a bad image. There are other candidates running for Cherokee County Republican Chairman and I would imagine that, after this arrest, Looney will probably not be elected again.
The following is the full story of Looney’s arrest from TylerPaper.com:
Republican Party Chairman Facing Felony Charges
By TIM MONZINGO
The chairman of the Cherokee County Republican Party is facing felony charges stemming from investigations into his work as a public servant.
Stephen Looney turned himself into the Cherokee County Jail Monday on charges of tampering with government records with the intent to defraud or harm, and theft of property greater than $500 but less than $1,500 by a public servant, according to documents from the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. Both are state jail felonies.
The charges have caused Republicans in the county to call for his resignation.
Danny Morris, the president of the Cherokee County Republican Club, said he would like to see Looney step down from his position as chairman before the end of his term.
“The things that he’s done has given a black eye to the party,” Morris said. “The longer he stays as chairman of the party I think the more damage we’re going to have in the eyes of the public.” Morris said he did not want Looney to seek reelection in the next round of primaries.
Cherokee County District Attorney Elmer Beckworth said an indictment was issued for Looney in December.
Beckworth said the charges came from an investigation conducted by the Health and Human Services Commission, for which Looney worked as a specialist with Adult Protective Services.
“I was contacted by an investigator for the Health and Human Services Commission, Office of the Inspector General,” Beckworth said. “(The investigator) met with me in June and later sent me a detailed report regarding this investigation.”