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Republican GOP officials arrested, indicted on fraud

January 18, 2023 - 00:00
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  • Article Image Alt Text
    GOP Chair Conrad Streigl and Treasurer Cari Renae Leith turned themselves into the Bandera County Jail Friday, Jan. 13, following their indictment.
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Checks sent to election workers featured signatures from Conrad Streigl and Renee Leith.
  • Article Image Alt Text
    A letter accompanying checks sent to election workers urged them to cash their check because Wells Fargo had terminated their relationship with the county party.

Editor's Note: Portions of this article first appeared online in two seperate articles. This article contains new information and was published in print on January 18, 2022. 

Bandera County Republican Party Chair Butch Streigl and Treasurer René Leith turned themselves into the Bandera County Jail Friday morning following indictments for fraudulent securing of document execution, according to paperwork filed with the Bandera County District Clerk.

“We can confirm that OAG investigated this case but have no further comment at this time. The Bandera County District Attorney presented the case to a grand jury,” said Brent Dupre, Director of Law Enforcement of the Office of the Texas Attorney General.

Bandera GOP Chair Conrad Streigl and Treasurer René Leith turned themselves in to the Bandera County Jail on Jan. 13 following indictments from the 198th District Court filed with the Bandera County District Clerk’s office.

The two were indicted for fraudulent securing of document execution regarding an amount between $2,500 and $30,000. According to the Texas Penal Code, this is a state jail felony. Leith is listed on the indictment as Cari Renae Leith.

A March 8, 2022, complaint filed last year with the Bandera County Sheriff’s Office contended then-Chair Lynn Haueter was unlawfully removed from three GOP Bank Accounts after Wells Fargo Bank was presented with a document claiming Haueter had been censured.

“She was replaced by 3 individuals with equal access and a new dual signature requirement was imposed when before there was no such requirement,” Streigl emailed the Bulletin when confirming Haueter’s removal last year.

Cat Parks, who was at that time the Vice-Chair of the Republican Party of Texas, called the censure groundless and unenforceable.

Streigl, elected unopposed to replace Haueter, told the Bulletin in an email last year he knew the “censure had no teeth because the [Republican Party of Texas] had routinely failed to strengthen Rule 44,” but the action was done on principle. Rule 44 refers to the censuring process as outlined by the state party.

The censure document was signed by then-Secretary Striegl, Precinct 101 Chair Laura Briscoe, Precinct 408 Chair Deanna Skoglund, Precinct 305 Chair Darcy Hasty and Precinct 306 Chair Rene Leith.

“She was directed to relinquish the website and all financial assets, she refused,” Streigl told the Bulletin following the incident. “Consequently, she was removed from all financial accounts,” Streigl’s term would not begin until June.

“[Haueter’s] term of office does not end until 11:59 p.m., June 12, 2022,” Jennifer Hall, Organizational Director for the Republican Party of Texas, wrote in a letter last year.

Leith lost her re-election last year bid to Cammie Burger Morgan, 190 votes to 69. Streigl later named her Treasurer.

Hasty lost her re-election bid to Joe Kitzman, 181 votes to 168. Streigl later appointed her Parliamentarian.

Briscoe and Skoglund were reelected without opposition.

Chief Sheriff Deputy Matt King said an investigation was presented to a grand jury on Tuesday, Jan. 10, where Streigl and Leith were indicted on a state jail felony, since the amount of money involved was between $2,500 and $30,000.

Both Streigl and Leith, who is listed on the indictment as Cari Renae Leith, turned themselves in to the Bandera County Jail Jan. 13. King said they posted bail.

Lynn Haueter told the Bulletin last year there were three party accounts totaling over $13,000, one of which was funded by the Texas Secretary of State to compensate election workers for their services during the March 1 primary.

Checks delivered to Bandera locals for their time as an election/poll worker in March 2022’s primary feature signatures from both Streigl and Leith.

“They had no authority to issue that check, which is why I didn’t cash it,” Robert Haueter told the Bulletin.

Election worker Becky Lay told the Bulletin she did not cash the check because she had volunteered to work but received a check anyway.

The checks were accompanied by a letter urging people to cash the check since Wells Fargo had elected to terminate their relationship with the party.

That letter was signed by Streigl, Leith, Laura Briscoe, Darcy Hasty and Deanna Skoglund (whose name is misspelled on the letter), then-members of the party’s executive committee, whose signatures also appeared on the Haueter censure document.

A picture of a check and accompanying letter appear at the end of this article. The Bulletin was shown checks sent to two other election workers with the same two signatures, including Lay.

Lynn Haueter said she was “sad and embarrassed” for the Bandera community.

“This never had to happen and should not have happened. I’m glad that justice is being done and all the bad actors are being revealed for who they really are,” she said. “My hope is that the community can move forward in selecting people with integrity and honor to lead our Republican Party.”

Streigl and Leith were absent from Jan. 12’s monthly party meeting in Tarpley, where party officials said both were sick.

“I talked to him, and he sounded bad,” Hasty said at the meeting.

Prosecution is pending.