Thursday, May 2, 2019

#TXLEGE: Guy who got rich via sexual relationship with lobbyist attacks honest man's business

"Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished,
But he who gathers by labor will increase."
Proverbs 13:11

In our piece yesterday about the house's actions on SB 2, we made the following point:
Just for good measure:
One amendment, from state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, seems to bar anyone but licensed attorneys from representing taxpayers in the property tax appeal process on a contingency fee basis. The change would likely affect the author of SB 2, state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a Houston Republican and a property tax consultant.

“It affects a lot of people. We'll talk about it in conference,” Geren said. He added, “I don't believe in contingency fees, but if we have to have contingency fees to do this, then I want the lawyers to do that."
In other words, Charlie Geren is literally attacking Paul Bettencourt's business...and the house members are fine with it.
We made the point yesterday, but it's worth considering on its own: The Senator who single-handedly made the property tax issue too hot for the legislature is having his personal business attacked by a committee chairman in the other chamber.

Having.  His.  Personal.  Business.  Attacked.

But, coming from Geren, it's even worse.

In case you forgot:
AUSTIN (KXAN) -- On Jan. 10, 2017, lobbyist Mindy Ellmer tweeted a picture of her with long-time boyfriend Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, standing next to the Mayor of Fort Worth, Betsy Price. The caption read, "Happy to kick off the 85th with two of my favorite peeps."

More than four months later, Rep. Geren is a driving force for a bill critics say will save the telecommunication giant AT&T hundreds of millions of dollars while taking needed revenue from city coffers in Austin and beyond.

Ellmer has an interest in the company's success in Geren's Texas House of Representatives. She holds a contract from AT&T worth up to $99,999 to try and influence lawmakers to vote on issues favorable to AT&T.

"I don't have any comment at this point in time, thank you," Rep. Geren told KXAN in a brief phone call after repeated requests for his thoughts on if the relationship was a conflict of interest.
We've said our piece about the sordid relationship between Charlie Geren and Mindy Elmer, during a previous act of chutzpah from Charlie, here and here and here.

And now Geren's hijacking Paul Bettencourt's property tax bill to attack Bettencourt's personal business.

For no other reason than that Paul Bettencourt made property taxes too hot of an issue for the legislature to ignore.

Bottom Line: The Texas really is THAT sleazy.

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