ustxtxb_obs_1955_06_20_50_00002-00000_000.pdf

Page 1

by

`Oh, It’s Not Foi–,,,’Flurpose Just a Hobby of Mine DEPARTME NT OF HEALTH EDUCATION WELFARI, By Bcurtlett for The Texas , Observer GUEST COLUMNIST Behind the Lawmakers, An Evil , System’ \(Ernie Deane, editor and page one columnist for the Mexia Daily News, reacted this way to the Observer’s special issue on “the Austin lobbyists,” Folks often wonder why the Texas Legislature does some things the way it does, and often neglects to do others the way that good sense would demand. Behind the lot of things done at Austin in the name of the people of Texasby their elected representatives and senatorsis an evil system which has grown up nationwide. It is the system of “lobbying.” Lobbying in its plainest sense means trying to get legislators to vote for something you want, or against something you do not want. Needless to say, each session of the Legislature brings an almost endless list of things which some folks do not want. Lobbying takes many forms, and much of it is evil. Unfortunately, when the lobbying is evil and when it succeeds, the people suffer. A recent issue of the Texas Observer, a weekly paper published in Austin, took up the subject of lobbying in considerable detail. Following are quoted some of the things revealed in the May 23 issue of the Texas Observer. These things are worthy of the study of every right-minded Texan who wants to take pride in his state government, and wants his government to function for the public’s benefit. “The Austin lobbyists are a sundry lot,” said the Observer. “They inform, they squire, they entertain, they cajole, they threaten, they bribe. “Some are highly honorable; some are forced into doing things they do not like by legislators who demand accommodation; some are dishonorable. “They work to achieve two kinds of results among the men who vote on the laws; a coerced frame of mind and a receptive frame of . mind.” `Campaign money, bribes, retainers, and political, economic, and social pressure tend to produce the coerced frame of mind among legislators,” the Observer continued. “There are those who are not easily bribed or intimidated,” it added, but pointed out the ancient adage that “every man has his price or his weakness.” A member of the Legislature “freeloads to his own limitfree food, free passes, free beer, free whiskey, free hotel rooms, and for those who want them, free women,” the article said. “The existence of outright bribery is not at issue,” the Observer said; “what is in question is its extent.” DROP LOYALTY OATH, DEMO LEADERS. URGE WASHINGTON A special study group for the National Democratic Committee has proposed a policy dealing with delegatei to the national conventiona policy adopted by Chairman Paul Butler this week which abandons the controversial loyalty oath. In its place is a provision that requires the state executive committee to certify the “good faith” of delegates it sends to the convention. The Democratic heirarchy of Texas would be responsible for giving the voters a guarantee that they will be able to cast their ballots for the next Democratic nominee, and the Texas members of the national committee would have to promise to support the nominee or be ousted from their party jobs. This would have no effect on 1952 defectors such as Wright Morrow. No further assurances would be required unless delegates were challenged. The Observer published a separate article on this one phase of lobbying, and some of it makes very disheartening reading. It brought to mind something which Jimmie Adams, our representative in the Legislature several years ago, told me about his experiences there while working to outlaw slot machines and pinball machines. Not only was he offered bribes to stop his fight against the crooked gambling machines, but he was also threatened. All credit to him, he went ahead, and his bill became lawand slot machines and pinball machines are something of a rarity in Texas now. the “retainer” system is another form which lobbying takes in the Legislature. In this year’s Legislature, 74 percent of the Senate membership was made up of lawyers and 42 percent of the House were lawyers. How many of these men were on “retainer” fees from various corporations, railroads, utilities, industries, etc., is not known. However, it is said to be a fairly common practice for various members of the Legislature who are lawyers to be kept on “retainer” by such companies. Certainly it is difficult for a man to vote against his “client” or to refuse to vote for him, depending on the nature of the legislation Efforts to require legislators to reveal their sources of income of . this nature have consistently failed. Certainly there is nothing wrong in a lawyer accepting legitimate business from a firm even though he is a member of the Legislature but the people are entitled to know who is paying him. This discussion of lobbying in the Legislature is not designed in any manner to indicate that any member of the House or Senate is a bribe-taker, a crook, or any such. Many legislators are honest, decent, capable menand surely their work must be made more difficult by those who are otherwise. ,ttose flatter who fear, it is not an American art. JEFFERSON *Alligator 5eari Texas natural gas producers have been lobbying frantically in Washington against regulation of their industry by the Federal Power Commission. One aspect of this lobbying is a letter dated June 13 from A. P. King, president of T.I.P.R.O. to all members of the Texas delegation to Congress. Federal regulation “will surely doom” the industry, this letter says : it will “inevitably be followed by similar control over oil production and open the way to socialistic control over all natural resources.” Another “almost unavoidable consequence” will be “a general sales tax in Texas, since under federal control we will be denied revenue from the gas industry to the extent that its growth and development are thwarted.” If there is ever a general sales tax in Texas which is little worse than the specific sales taxes we have nowit will not be because the Federal Government decided to exercise its reasonable regulatory powers over natural gas production, but because the gas industry fights viciously and successfully in the Texas Legislature against reasonable natural gas levies. Such alligator tears from millionaires who are as responsible as anybody else for the sales taxes now in force are not moving. The letter to the Congressmen closes: : “Surely your colleagues of other states, many of them, in be convinced of the advantages to themselves of oing along with vou …” And iust what does that mean? eer overnor Governor Shivers appeared’ to be wounded and worried after the national chairman of the Democrats, Paul Butler, declined to dine with him in Austin on grounds that his schedule was too tight. The governor may find solace in the Dallas News editorial to the effect that the only fit company for Mr. Butler is a Populist or a Norman Thomas Socialist. Just how this pontification will be received by the judges, state sena. -s, corporation lawyers, and other Democrats of various .escriptions who attended the Butler dinners all over Texas s a matter for his further concern, however. i\(eeping 511 Pure We wonder if that church protest against George Gobel er turned into many personal, hand-written letters. We lave never seen Mr. Lobel on TV, ourselves, but we are told he is a laconic chap, full of funny things. One of his quipsthat you can, too, buy happines, by going out and buying a fifthbrought down upon him the wrath of some lurch convention, we forget which. On what theory might uch a protest be founded ? That millions of children eagerly ished out and bought fifths on hearing Gobel’s little joke? 11, the bluenoses are militant, and they respond in pre1. which are subject to such infantile pressures. mnocracy inaction ,n’t it strange how quiet the Shivers camp is these rs? About the only time the Shivercrats are heard from is rhen the Governor sees fit to issue a statement to the Cap11 press or makes a speech somewhere. These sweaty political meetings are too plebeian for the ivercrats, or else they are resigned to the end . of their in 1956, or perhaps they are so confident in the power their purses and political machine, they think political etings beside the point. Really, though. the Governor should at least make a owing of democracy fairly soon. gip arms Mistriter Incorporating The State Observer, combined with The East Texas Democrat JUNE 20, 1955 ,11 Published once a week from Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $4 per annum. dvertising rates available on request. Extra copies 10c each. Quantity orders available. ‘Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, ier the act of March 3. 1879. ILING ADDRESS : Drawer F, Capitol Station, Austin, Texas. VICE of PUBLICATION : 504 W. 24th St., Austin, Texas. Phone : 7-0746. Ronnie Dugger, Editor and General Manager Bill Brammer, Associate Editor Sarah Payne, Office Manager Jim Dyer, Circulation Manager will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and ht as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all to the .,rights of man as the foundation of democracy ; we will take orders t our own conscience, and never will we ov.:rlook or misrepresent the the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit.