November 29, 2006
TEC backs Farrar

Remember State Rep. Jessica Farrar's complaint to the Texas Ethics Commission about pressure by lobbyists on her fellow legislators to support Tom Craddick for Speaker? Well, the TEC has addressed her complaint and found that it has merit.

In a Nov. 9 letter to the Texas Ethics Commission, Democratic state Rep. Jessica Farrar said the lobbyists had promised some House members that a candidate for speaker would give them sought-after assignments during the next session and would see to it that his loyalists have "the right support" in the next election cycle.

Farrar, who later identified the candidate as Craddick, asked whether that constituted legislative bribery, which is barred by state law.

The commission adopted an advisory opinion on Monday that said the conduct she described "is intended to influence a member in casting a vote for or against a speaker of the House of Representatives."

But the opinion said it would be up to a "trier of facts" to determine whether the conduct violated laws against legislative bribery.

Farrar, a Democrat from Houston, said she planned to talk to her colleagues and figure out how they want to proceed. She said she has not been contacted by lobbyists but said the actions have been "pretty widespread."

"Hopefully the practice will just stop," she said.

Given that this is the paper tiger known as the TEC, this was probably the best we could hope for. At least it's now on record that this is a no-no, so if all else fails a little public shaming might be an option in the future. We shall see.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 29, 2006 to That's our Lege | TrackBack