I love analogies. The kryptonite analogy really captures the attitude of politicians who have been at the trough too long. Still, most politicians have the discipline not to tell you outright to butt out of the political process, much less investigate you like the Stazi.
Like Erick pointed out the other day, even in Texas being a Republican doesn’t necessarily mean you are a conservative. Here is more proof.
Until 2008 it was actually a crime in Texas under the state’s ethics rules for citizens to voice support or opposition for anybody running for Speaker of the House. This law, while longstanding, was blatantly un-constitutional. Thanks to the hard work of the great team at the Liberty Institute the situation was remedied (back then it was called Free Market Foundation.)
The Federal Court ruled that, “The election of the speaker is not, therefore, a matter of internal Housekeeping. It is an issue of great political importance and a legitimate subject for public debate.” (Free Market Foundation v. Reisman, 573 F.Supp.2d 952, 955 (W.D. Tex. 2008)
Since the decision in 2008 it has been legal for Texans to use their Constitutional right to free speech to voice their opinion regarding the election of one of Texas’ most powerful leaders. Still, some people don’t seem to like common folk like us speaking up.
A few weeks ago, Speaker Joe Straus (the liberal Republican speaker that is running for re-election) lashed out at “outside forces” that were trying to have an impact on the Speaker race. From that kind of label you might think that big corporate donors or crony lobbyists were slandering Straus and throwing big wads of money to fight his re-election. The reality is that the outcry for a conservative speaker is coming from you, the conservative resurgence.
As if the incumbent Speaker telling you to sit adown and shut-up isn’t enough, Chuck Hopson (Straus’ Democrat-recently-turned-Republican Chair of the House Ethics Committee) sent a letter to the legislature offering them a “word of caution.” In this letter Chairman Hopson points to anti-bribery statutes and insinuates that letting a constituent or organization influence your vote for Speaker is illegal.
Ok, so we’ve got the sitting Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives telling you to sit down and shut up and his Ethics Committee Chairman is telling you that it may be illegal to tell our Representatives to actually represent you. Could this get more crooked?
Last week Rep. Brian Hughes announced that a member of Joe Straus’ leadership team told him redistricting maps were, “already being drawn to get rid of Representative-Elect Erwin Cain and Representative Dan Flynn because they were not on the Speaker’s list of supporters.”
Rep. Hughes has since turned the name of the undisclosed member over to Speaker Straus and the Ethics Committee Chairman Chuck Hopson.
This simply doesn’t pass the sniff test. I really hope these elected representatives are fair in their investigations but see if it smells right to you:
Rep. Hughes is told that the Straus’ leadership team is building a political hit list with the names of non-supporters and planning to cut them out of their districts. Hughes denounces the plan, withdraws support for Straus and properly turns over the name of the member to the House Ethics Committee. The Committee is made up of four Straus lieutenants and one outsider.
To recap: the Straus leadership team is conducting a closed investigation into whether the Straus leadership team is preparing to carry out political hit jobs on conservative Republicans.
Again, I hope that these Representatives are men of honor and won’t do anything untoward, but this feels like a serious conflict of interests. State business must be conducted in an ethical manner, especially within the ETHICS committee. This situation would fell much better if Chairman Hopson would spend a little more time investigating allegations of egregious ethics violations instead of what appear to be threats against our first amendment rights.
Texas needs a Speaker that will champion the conservative agenda that Texan’s resoundingly supported on November 2nd. Straus’ record makes it crystal clear that he is not that man. Yet, he would have you believe that in spite of his liberal record, shady arm-twisting and fighting to keep you out of the debate that he will somehow reincarnate as a true conservative. You just need to give him one more turn in the Speakers chair.
I’m sorry, but Texans are smarter than that. If you live in Texas, call your representative and tell them how you want them to vote. If you’re a patriot in another part of the country, call all the Texans you know and spread the word!