November 11, 2006
Farrar and Craddick

The Chron picks up on the story that Vince broke on Thursday about State Rep. Jessica Farrar's letter to the Texas Ethics Commission regarding lobbyists and the Speaker's race. To recap:

Farrar, a Craddick opponent, said members and members-elect, whom she refused to name, also are being threatened if they don't vote for Craddick. She said she has voice mail and e-mail messages to support her allegations, but would not allow a Houston Chronicle reporter to view or hear them.

Farrar, who voted against Craddick in 2005, said she has not personally received the calls but has heard from several members who have. She declined to identify them or the lobbyists who have made the contact.

"My purpose is not to expose any (House) members or members of the lobby. I want the practice to stop," she said.

Farrar is asking the Texas Ethics Commission to issue an advisory opinion on whether the conduct would constitute "legislative bribery" and if she has a duty to report the activity to Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle. She said the calls are coming from the speaker's office, former legislators and registered lobbyists.

Chris Cutrone, a spokesman for Craddick, said he doesn't know what lobbyists are doing but that it's "completely false that anybody in the speaker's office is making threatening phone calls." He said Craddick is looking forward to the Ethics Commission's ruling.

The Ethics Commission's legal staff plans to draft an advisory opinion in time for the commission's Nov. 27 meeting, said Natalia Luna Ashley, commission general counsel.

We'll see what they say. The TEC is toothless, but it's all we've got. At least we can have some definition here, and at least some attention is being paid to what's going on.

There's another aspect to the story, as we know:

Rep. Kevin Bailey, D-Houston and a member of Craddick's leadership team, said he's been threatened by fellow Democrats.

"I'm not too pleased with their tactics right now," said Bailey, chairman of the House General Investigating and Ethics Committee. "(Farrar) told a friend of mine that I better be a loyal Democrat or they'll run someone against me."

During a Wednesday meeting of Harris County Tejano Democrats, Bailey's name did come up because it appears on the pledge list for Craddick, Farrar said.

She denied telling anyone the Democrats will run a candidate against Bailey in the next primary election, she said.

It is, of course, too early to talk about who might or might not run for a given office in 2008. Everything is speculation at this point. But let's be clear here: Supporting and enabling Tom Craddick is a huge deal, and any Democrat who does so has good reason to watch his back. Bailey has a choice to make. It's a very clear choice, with obvious benefits and costs. He can complain about what Jessica Farrar or anyone else might be saying, but in the end the choice is his. What happens after that should be no surprise to anyone.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 11, 2006 to That's our Lege | TrackBack

Some body in 5th ward need to run against Don’t do nothing State Representative District 142 Harold Dutton; Remember the “Killer D’s,” who had fled to Ardmore, Oklahoma and elsewhere, to effectively shut down the 78th Legislature’s and He stay in Austin because he is Tom Craddick and Perry Boy.

Posted by: Linda Hickman on November 12, 2006 3:23 PM