November 10, 2006
What should lobbyists be doing about the Speaker?

Via Vince, State Rep. Jessica Farrar (my Rep) has a question for the Texas Ethics Commission regarding the House Speaker's race.

Farrar asked about lobbyists making promises of "good committee assignments," and making threats like, "We can make sure that you remember that you made a mistake," according to the letter, a copy of which which Capitol Annex has obtained (.doc).


Farrar alleges that registered lobbyists who must register as such under Chapter 305 of the Texas Government Code (.pdf) are contacting “Members and Members-elect of the Texas House of Representatives on behalf of a named Speaker candidate and asking Members to agree to vote for the candidate because the candidate will "put [the Member] on good committees," "take care of [the Member,]" and "see to it that [the Member] has the right support in two years."


Farrar asks for the Commission’s opinion on three key questions:

1. Does this conduct constitute legislative bribery under Subchapter C, Chapter 302, Government Code, because the comments imply (a) either the favorable or unfavorable treatment of the Member in committee assignments, and (b) either the giving or withholding of campaign contributions?

2. Do I have any duty to report this conduct to the appropriate authorities, including the district attorney with jurisdiction over these matters?

3. Does physical evidence, such as voice mail messages and electronic mail messages, need to be turned over to the Commission or the appropriate authorities?

Farrar has been on the receiving end of Craddick's retribution before, so this is of more than just theoretical interest. The stakes are nontrivial here, so let's hope the normally toothless TEC is up to the task.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 10, 2006 to That's our Lege | TrackBack