Page 2


THOSE CURIOUS 14 CHECKS AUSTIN Most of the information the House committee investigating the Cox case is now so slowly extracting from the naturopaths would have been a matter of public record if the lobbyist registration bill had been in force. It took almost three weeks to establish that the naturopaths had, indeed, spent at least $30,000 on “education of legislators” last session, and even now the figure is not firm. The checks show that Al Brown, the naturopaths’ lobbyist, withdrew from this slush fund more than $7,000 in January and again more than $7,000 the first 19 days of February during the legislative session. He simply charged it to “cash,” and where it went, nobody knows. On February 1, one day after the House public health corninittee passed the naturopaths’ bill, he withdrew fourteen checks to cash for sums varying from $100 to $500. Brown was not required by law to report any of this. All he had to do was spend it. He had been ordered by the naturopaths’ board of directors to destroy any records he had on it and to keep no more. Under the lobby registration idea, every lobbyist will have to come to the public with a full accounting of what he has spent and for whose benefit. The legislators don’t want to upset their meal .cart, so expenditures of $25 or less only have to be reported as a total amount, but even so, you couldn’t withdraw fourteen checks to cash on the same day after a crucial committee hearing and fail to ac, count for where the money went and why it was drawn out that way. AUSTIN .There are embittered and anguished cries from longtime residents of Galveston Island as a result of the House’s overwhelming passage of Rep. Robert Baker’s bill to move the First Court of Civil Appeals from Galveston to Houston. This is a move that has been resisted by Galvestonians for at least 30 years. After the House vote last week, Dick Wall, bureau manager for the Houston Chronicle and for many years editor of the Galveston News, could look back over thousands of deadlines in considering the issue. “When I joined the Galveston News staff in the early ’20’s, one of the first stories I was assigned to was to interview local businessmen on why the court should not be moved to Houston,” Wall recalled. He has seen the question repeatedly come up and be defeated in many legislative sessions. Texas’s first court of civil appeals was established in Galveston in 1892. It was a proud first, and many old timers there will keenly regret the court’s moving. But time and growth have passed by the isle city, possibly because it long resisted change. Seventy percent of the cases the court handles originate in Houston, and it is an inconvenience to attorneys and the public for it to remain in Galveston. Looking at the matter from a purely logical standpoint, there seems to be no question that the court should be relocated in Houston. But anyone who has known the Galveston scene must feel a sentimental twinge that another page is being ripped out of the col We have not yet had time to study the House state affairs version of the lobby registration bill in detail. We do know this about it, that it does not require that lobbyists reveal their rate of compensation foe’ their work. This certainly is curious. Every man in public life has his salary out where everybody can see it. These lobbyists fishing about the Capitol for special concessions and privileges are engaged, 100 percent, in work that affects the public interest. Why should the legislature let them earn ten times what a legislator makes without the people knowing it? When Rep. Jamison asked at the state affairs committee hearing last weeka hearing before an empty chamber, with lightning flashing blue under the venetian blindsif lobbyists would , have to say how much they make, Rep. Saul responded, “No. I move we adopt the report.” That was all there was to it. We overheard a rather pertinent comment by another committee member. When it was explained that expenditures of $25 or less would be exempt from detailed reporting, he said, “A man could have 994 of those exempted, couldn’t he?” Of course he could. We know from the Cox case that Naul Sandall, the Missouri Pacific lobbyist, was providing a hotel room for Rep. Cox, and he said of other legislators, “they come and go.” He’d never have to report this under the state affairs committee billhe’d just pay the bill daily, and it would never exceed $25. We understand also from the testimony of lobbyist Al Brown’s secretary that some of his legislative money went for hotel bills, airplane tickets, and the like. Most of these ex orful island story. It’s up to the Senate now. * * * Rep. Truett Latimer, Abilene, made an interesting point in appropriations bill debate when he argued to block the Game and Fish Commission from spending additional money on Rollover Pass in Galveston Bay, which he terms “just a fish ditch.” Latimer informed the House that $568,000 of state funds had already been spent on the project, the commission had another $160,000 available to spend on it, and it is trying to get an additional $300,000. He declared that the basic contract for the job had been issued to the Brown & Root construction company, and it just happened that the chairman of the Game & Fish Commission, Herbert J. Frensley, is an official of Brown & Root. The Abilene representative said that the original contract for the work was let by the State Board of Control on a low bid basis for $184,200. Twice since then Brown & Root has been riven additional contracts on the job for $11,550 and $8,372. All of the work’ already done and proposed for the future was projected by the game commission. Latimer said that even though the construction contract was channeled through the Board of Control, he considered it questionable for a member of the commission to allow his business firm to do work for that state agency. * * * Far be it from us to help perpetuate a system which might allow traffic speeders to escape radar traps. However, we recently heard that if you are driving down the . highway in the daytime at excess of the 60 mile speed limit and the driver of an approaching truck \(or slow down. penditures can be kept under $25: you buy two one-way tickets, for example, instead of a round-trip fare that runs between $25 and $50. Then last week Rep. Jones was saying how Al Brown would take 15 or 20 legislators to Hill’s for steak “twice a day seven days a week.” All you do, you see, is get 15 or 20 separate checks each time, and pay them as separate items. Never have to report anything except the total, and everybody knows that a’ total sum doesn’t mean much to the public mind. ‘ Be these things as they may, the $25 exemption will probably stand. But it is worth noting in passing that if they hadn’t , laughed the lobby bills out of the legislature in previous sessions, the naturopaths and the other lobbies would have had a serious crimp in their style. Rep. Maury Maverick, ramrodder of the lobby control bill last session, still remembers how they used to call the committee hearings for eight in the morning, when almost nobody would . be there \(one time nine of the eleven members ally did get a quorum one morning, Rep. Doug Bergman of Dallas . laughed and said, “Well, Maury, you want us to kill your bill now or have a hearing and then kill your bill ?” Bergman had a little trouble explaining,, in the summer of 1956, after certain matters had come to the public’s attention, why he had voted against the lobby registration bill. Again and again on the TV he explained : it was good in principle, but there were some technical objections … He didn’t come back. R D. This, it seems, is a new code of the road among drivers to warn each other that a state highway patrol radar trap is just down the highway. We recently received such a warning from two trucks, slowed down just out of curiosity, and sure enough, evaded the clutches of the law. BOB BRAY DREW PEARSON on The WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND WASHINGTON Sen. Lyndon Johnson has been wooing newsmen at private breakfasts in what are now called “Lyndon’s Charm Schools.” The Democratic leader is both vocal and vigorous. If he said in public what he tells newsmen, he would make more ‘ headlines on Capitol hill. Here are recent samples : “Either Dulles lied to Congressional leaders or Nasser lied to Dulles regarding Egypt’s move back into the Gaza strip.”… “The Eisenhower Doctrine for the Middle East is a bunch of hogwash.” … “So I am shocked that the three leaders of the United States government should all be out of the country at the same time.” If you think conflicts of interest are bad in the federal government read Ronald Dugger’s penetrating diagnosis of. Texas’s state government in this issue of Harper’s. “Instead of the conflict of interest of an occasional adviser in Washington,” says Dugger, “the Texas government has become corporate.” …. The current Life magazine, , in a two-page spread on the Texas -Senate race, says that Yarborough is “the favored candidate even though he lost three times running for governor,” says also that the oddsare that the Texas winner will be Yarborough or Martin Dies, gives Thad Hutcheson “some chance to’ win.” …. The Observer is advised from Washington that Senator Knowland continues to inform his colleagues that if Hutcheson wins, he will reorganize the Senate. …. Furthermore, Senator Lyndon Johnson’s people in Washington are being very cagey about the matter. They definitely’ are not taking sides, speak well of several candidates. …. A new wrinkle in the speculation on the race’s effect on national politics : It will be argued in Washington shortly by a political group that since Lyndon Johnson is so sensitive to Texas politics, the election o f Yarborough would strengthen . the. Hill Fulbright ‘Sparkman stem of Southerners in the party, while the election of Dies would influence Johnson in a con. servative direction. …. It is appavnt Yarborough’ has decided he ought not to talk too much in the current race. While the statewide roundups appear to be quoting everybody and merely mentioning Yarborough, the fact is he has not been putting out many press releases except along organizational lines. Another “out-of-state publication” is considering sending a man to Texas to investigate legislative retainers and payoffs. …. Texas COPE \(the AFLCIO Committee on Political Eduyour own mind” pamphlet on the Senate race. Narrowing the practical contenders down to Bracewell, Dies, Hutcheson, and Yarborough, the pamphlet gives their records on various issues, identifying Yarborough a capital-letters Democrat and Dies a Democrat who “did not campaign for the party in 1952 or 1956.” It is noted also that Dies got 81,000 of 579,000 votes for U. S. Senator in the last special election in 1941. The’ view preValent in the Capitol is that Yarborough will win the Senate race. …. Interest tapered off sharply in the segregation bill hearings after the big debate of two weeks ago. So last Wednesday night only one witness appeared, and the House state affairs committee finished so fast a witness flying in from LaredoEd Idar, Jr., of the American GI Forumdidn’t make it in time \(his plane was grounded going to oppose the bills on grounds they legalize segregation of Latin-Americans. …. Lobbyists and legislators both have been keeping up with the Cox and ICT hearin g s. Some senators drop in on the House hearings, too. : The House committee on the Cox case is proceeding very can tiously. Its investigators ha v e pitched over come mouldy mounds, but they are apparently trying not to implicate the innocent by rushing in with shovels. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 3 March 26, 1957 Yarborough Has the Best Senate Chance LATIMER NOTES A CONFLICT