Sid Miller, our state’s rodeo clown-cum-agricultural commissioner, is in the news—again. And for all the wrong reasons—again.
Miller has brought glory upon himself in many ways. In 2015, he charged the state $1,100 for a pain-killing treatment called the “Jesus Shot.” The treatment was created by Dr. John Michael “Dr. Mike” Lonergan, who had his Ohio medical license revoked after being convicted of tax evasion.
The Jesus shot was sketchy but Miller’s proudest moment came during the 2016 presidential campaign, when he called Hillary Clinton a cunt. But Miller is man enough to admit when someone else has fucked up, and promptly blamed (and then fired) an aide for the gaffe.
Today he’s in the news because, in late 2016, he appointed a generous campaign donor to the state’s Rural Health Task Force. Giving a deep-pocketed benefactor a sinecure in exchange for a fiscal happy ending is a pretty standard political circle jerk, especially here in Texas. What’s raising eyebrows is that this appointee is a convicted criminal who had his medical license suspended or revoked in three states.
The “doctor” in question is Rick Ray Redalen. Seriously, that’s his name; he sounds like he could be a drive-time shock jock, or the protagonist in a John C. Reilly flick. Redalen, who calls himself “the Maverick Doctor,” (Maverick Ex-Doctor is probably more accurate) said he was introduced to Miller by lobbyist Todd M. Smith, Miller’s longtime political strategist. Smith has reported making hundreds of thousands of dollars from Redalen’s company.
But more about those medical licenses.
Iowa suspended Redalen’s license following a perjury conviction for lying about his marriage to his 15-year-old stepdaughter. In 1986, he pleaded guilty to assault after he struck the girl’s mother with a rifle butt and pointed a gun at sheriff’s deputies. The license was later revoked for good when Redalen failed to report a malpractice suit.
Redalen also had his license suspended or revoked in Minnesota and Louisiana. The action in Minnesota was due to psychiatric and drug problems.
See? Sketchy AF.
Redalen’s largesse includes $17,000 in donations to Miller’s campaign in 2016, and in ’17 an $80,000 in-kind donation, the largest of the sort Miller has ever received. Redalen said he has used the unpaid task force position to advocate for expanded access to telemedicine — a service which, coincidentally, is offered by one of his companies. Redalen said he never expected any favors in exchange for his contributions, but ethics watchdog group Texans for Public Justice said the arrangement “looks like a pay-to-play situation.”
Redalen called Miller “… a true Texas gentleman.” By my lights, a gentleman wouldn’t call a woman a cunt but then again, I’m not an ex-doctor.