February 01, 2006
Legislative Council Director controversy

Yesterday when I blogged about James Leininger and his new voucher PAC, there was more to the story at the end, on a different topic. Here it is, from PinkDome:

"TRLCC (Leininger's PAC) also spent $15,000 with Keep Texas Strong. According to Williamson County Assumed Name records, Keep Texas Strong is a proprietorship owned by Milton Rister"

This is the same Milton Rister that came to Austin with Tom Craddick; who helped run the 76 in '96 and 8 in '98 campaigns; who worked with Rove to handpick certain legislators; who worked for TRMPAC, TLR, and both Dewhurst and Craddick.

Now Craddick, Perry and Dewhurst have agreed on a guy to head the vacant position of Legislative Council director. Their pick? Bingo, Milton Rister. This guy is actively campaigning RIGHT NOW to knock out several incumbents in the House. Does this not strike anyone as odd? An ultra-partisan running the Lege Council while snipering wayward House members? These Lege Council folks are the poor saps who work tirelessly (and unbiasedly) to punch up into legalese whatever wet dream a legislator can think of. With this guy at the helm, things look like they could take a fairly unbalanced swing.

Rep. Senfronia Thompson has sent a letter to Dewhurst and Craddick to object to Rister's selection. Again from PinkDome:

31 January, 2006

The Honorable Tom Craddick
The Honorable David Dewhurst

To the Honorable Members of the Legislative Council:

It has come to my attention that the Council is scheduled to approve a new Council director Wednesday morning, Milton Rister, a political operative, who has worked against sitting members of both Houses. Mr. Rister will more than likely work with some of these members in his capacity as the Executive Director of the Legislative Council. Mr. Rister's devisive presence may create a perceived erosion of the confidentiality, independence, discretion, and credibility of the non-partisan Legislative Council.

As one of the most senior legislators and a former member of the Legislative Council, I urge your reconsideration of this ill-considered and ill-timed appointment. Texas Legislators must be able to depend on the Legislative Council to draft potential legislation according to the members request and for those requests to remain confidential. This has always been the policy of the Legislative Council. Having an Executive Director, with such a well-documented political agenda could stifle many legislators' willingness to make use of the such a valuable legislative asset.

The bipartisan traditions of the Texas Legislature have been honored by such diverse persons as George W. Bush and Ann Richards. At the core of this tradition, is an independent and dependable Legislative Council. I pray a more suitable candidate can be found to fill the shoes of true non-partisan Texas heroes like Bob Johnson and Bob Kelly.
Yours for a better Texas,

Senfronia Thompson, State Representative
cc: Members of the Legislative Council

Rep. Paul Moreno is also objecting. Here's a list of House and Senate members who will vote on Rister's nomination some time today and their contact information. I note that Frank Madla is one of them. Perhaps a phone call will help him or any of these other folks make a good decision on this. Call quickly, I don't know when this vote is scheduled.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 01, 2006 to Show Business for Ugly People | TrackBack