May 14, 2007
Lobbying for Craddick

If my previous entry isn't enough to convince you that House Speaker Tom Craddick's closest buddies are worried about his existential future, consider the following email, which was sent today to all members of the Lege:


From: Texas Alliance for Life
[mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2007 9:08 AM
Subject: Representative, we urge you to OPPOSE any attempt to unseat the Speaker.

May 14, 2007


RE: Please OPPOSE any attempt to unseat the Speaker


Dear Representative ,


We have heard a rumor that there may be an attempt to unseat the Speaker early this week. We strongly urge you to OPPOSE any such attempt.


Texas Alliance for Life categorically opposes any attempt to unseat the Speaker. We will score any vote to unseat the Speaker as an anti-life vote.


Any attempt to remove the speaker is bad for Texas, and it is bad for the pro-life movement. The ensuing chaos that would likely follow such an attempt -- successful or not -- would probably mean the death even the least controversial bills, including our pro-life bills.

If you need any further information, please contact me at 512-477-1244 (o), 512-736-3708 (m), or [email protected] In advance, we thank you.


Sincerely,


Joe Pojman, Ph.D.
Executive Director


Legislative advertising paid for by Texas Alliance for Life, Inc
2026 Guadalupe Street * Austin, Texas 78705 *
512-477-1244


Now, I'm not a lawyer, but I do know there are some pretty specific laws concerning the politics of a Speaker's race. Perhaps someone better versed in the law than I can comment on how the above email jibes with this:

ยง 302.017. CONTRIBUTIONS AND LOANS FROM ORGANIZATIONS.
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a corporation, partnership, association, firm, union, foundation, committee, club, or other organization or group of persons may not contribute or lend or promise to contribute or lend money or other things of value to a speaker candidate or to any other person, directly or indirectly, to aid or defeat the election of a speaker candidate.

b) This section does not apply to a loan made in the due course of business to a speaker candidate for campaign purposes by a corporation that is legally engaged in the business of ending money and that has continuously conducted the business for more than one year before making the loan to the speaker candidate.


Would that email from the Texas Alliance for Life, with its direct statement about how a legislator's actions in a Speaker's race would affect the TAL's evaluation of them, count as a "thing of value"? Like I said, I'm not a lawyer. The question is whether or not someone will ask Ronnie Earle for his opinion. Once again, stay tuned.

UPDATE: Burka talks to Buck Wood, who says this is technically a violation of the law, but one that's highly unlikely to be prosecuted.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 14, 2007 to That's our Lege
Comments

Unlikely. I would expect that "thing of value" would be interpreted in court these days to mean monetary value. Political convenient and all...

Posted by: agm on May 15, 2007 4:29 AM

A Rep. and fellow blogger - Aaron Pena - is speaking about this topic on his blog:

http://www.acapitolblog.com/2007/05/no-more-tricks-no-more-lies-only-truth.html

Posted by: domeobserver on May 15, 2007 9:21 AM

With due respect to Mr. Wood, my email to members regarding a "motion to unseat the speaker" is 100% within Texas law. Regardless of whether my email is a "thing of value," the issue addressed in my email addresses is not a speaker's race. A motion to remove a sitting speaker, the subject of my email, is not a motion to elect a speaker. Therefore, my email is not limited by Sec. 302.017 any more than an email to members on motions to adopt or table House or Senate bills.

Joe Pojman, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Texas Alliance for Life
512-477-1244

Posted by: Joe Pojman, Ph.D. on May 16, 2007 3:05 PM