Friday, June 3, 2016

Continuing Shenanigans at the Texas "Ethics" Commission....

"For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."
Galatians 6:8

A couple of recent articles from Empower Texans highlight the latest; first up:
At its bi-monthly meeting, the unelected agency tasked with enforcing the state’s so-called “ethics laws” regulating speech will consider a rule change to force anyone requesting an ethics advisory opinion from the agency to reveal their identity to the commissioners.
The TEC is tasked with advising elected officials, candidates, and ordinary citizens on laws related to elections, lobbying, and public office. Typically the advisory opinion requests can be made anonymously and based on hypothetical facts.
This change would allow the TEC to institutionalize the approach it took with Paxton, where the commissioners rigged a vote to ensure a policy beneficial to the attorney general failed.
Last year, Paxton’s liberal political opponents – who could not defeat him at the polls – successfully procured highly questionable indictments against him in Collin County relating to his personal business. The goal of the indictments is to drive Paxton out of office, opening the field for his opponents to be appointed to an office they can’t win at the ballot box.
The attack on Paxton is particularly perverse. By indicting him for behavior outside of his public office, he’s prohibited from using campaign funds in his defense. But, because he is a public official, he also cannot raise money in Texas for his legal defense or accept pro-bono or discounted legal defense from attorneys sympathetic to the injustice of the indictments against him.
Were Paxton to have been indicted for public corruption, on the other hand, he would have been able to spend campaign funds defending himself. But because the indictment relates (at least on paper) to his personal business, by default he can only use his personal funds on his legal defense.
The indictments are designed to squeeze Ken Paxton’s personal finances, and drive him out of office.
It gets better:
Four of the eight commissioners at the Texas Ethics Commission are acting – including issuing fines and making regulatory rulings – after the expiration of their terms.
For example, Tom Harrison has been serving on the commission despite his term having expired more than five years ago. He is currently the TEC’s vice-chairman, but is ineligible to even hold the office of commissioner under the state constitution due to his length of service.
Appointees to the Texas Ethics Commission are not eligible for reappointment after serving a single complete four-year term and any portion of a second term.
Read the whole thing here and here.

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