July 02, 2003
More probing updates

Travis County DA Ronnie Earle's investigation into possible illegal use of corporate campaign cash by the Texas Association of Business is on hold until the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rules on TAB's claim that they have First Amendment protection.

"It is extremely unlikely that we will receive a ruling on the constitutional merits of our claims this week, and in fact, it will probably hold over until next September when the court reconvenes," said Andy Taylor, attorney for the Texas Association of Business.

The TCCA is the outfit that is taking its own sweet time on the Tulia case, so much so that the Lege wound up passing a special bill to free the remaining inmates on personal recognizance bond. In short, bring a book while you wait.

Meanwhile, on the Westar front, Public Citizen has sent a letter to Westar's board of directors asking them to release more documents relating to its controversial donations to several Republican lawmakers. Westar had released two memos, which talked about its need to give money in order to "get a seat at the table", which has spurred the call for investigation since then. You can read PC's letter here.

Westar is also conducting its own internal investigation into the company's various political donations.

A previous investigation detailed donations to Republican lawmakers as part of a plan to win changes in federal law that would have exempted the company from Kansas regulators' oversight.

"We've hired an attorney to look specifically at any of those issues," Mark Schreiber, senior manager of government affairs for Topeka-based Westar, said Wednesday. "We don't have a timeline on that, but we're positive he's going to do a thorough and complete review on that."

The investigation by a lawyer versed in election law was recommended by the authors of a 360-page internal report released May 15. The board of directors approved, and the company hired Tim Jenkins of Washington, Schreiber said.

Maybe Wester will find on its own what John Aschroft has refused to look for. Wouldn't that be fun?

As always, thanks to my own Westar watchdog, Alfredo Garcia, for the tips.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 02, 2003 to Scandalized! | TrackBack