Got the Situation in Hand!’ Bartlett Appears Exclusively in the Texas Observer POLITICAL DICTIONARY Zip grxas \(ffilistrurr 10 Ii71711.1Int-M21 ,101 Let those flatter who fear, it is not an American art.JEFFERSON ‘Beat It, Bully We East Texans Legislators who proceed in bad faith on lobby control will have to be ready to suffer the consequences at the polls. The people have had all they can take. One tires of documenting the tawdry dissemblings of the lobbyists and their pawns in this matter. They have taken Governor Daniel’s worthless bill and made it so deceptive a trap it is at this point an outright fraud on the people. That it may be recorded, if only here, that both of these committees’ bills are efforts deliberately to deceive the people, we here list the revealing changes the committees made in Daniel’s original bill : 1.The only lobbyists Daniel would have required to register were those who personally contacted legislators “for the purpose of discussing, explaining, or arguing” about legislation. In both the House and Senate committee versions, discussing and explaining are dropped, and the only lobbyists required to register are those who ARGUE with legislators. \(Can’t you hear it now : “But Judge : I didn’t argue bills to pass in this ‘form, it would be clear that the legislative intent was to exempt lobbyists who engage in “discussions. and explanations” to legislators.! Thus the lobbyists seek to force those who want them registered into fighting for a provision which was, in the first place, a gaping loophole. All paid lobbyists who engage in activities designed to influence legislation must be regiStered. The legislature’s intent must be clear on this point, or it will have no lobby law at all. 1 2.The House bill for the first time limits the lobbyists’ reports to months when “the legislature is in session.” Lobbyists could stock up on everything they needed to entertain legislators before the session, or pay the bills after the session; they could extend favors and gratuities to legislators when the legislature is not in session, and nothing of this would be reported. Some of the poshiest junkets paid for by special interests occur when the legislature is not, in session. The Senate bill is deceptive on this point : it requires reports only when the legislature is meeting or at the end of the year, of expenditures “during the preCeding month.” Then the lobbyist is excused from reporting when he makes no expen”direct communication.” Lobbyists could spend $5,000 on a party when the legislature was in session, never “arguing” legislation during the party, and they would not have to register or report a dime; nor would they be required to report any other time, unless they happened to spend money during a December for the purpose of “arguing” with legislators. 3.The reports required of lobbyists now include an entirely new exemption. Not only are they lim ited to the legislative sessions ; not only are they limited to those expenditures the lobbyists think are for the purpose of “arguing” with legislators ; now also they exclude the lobbyist’s expenditures for his “personal sustenance, lodging, tra g en/tenter:. ? vel and office expenses.” The bills do not even contemplate requiring lobbyists to tell what they are paid an elementary piece of information for evaluating their attempts to influence legislation. 4.The House bill now suddenly adds : “Expenditures of $25 or less for any one particular item need not be reported.” A lobbyist could buy a legislator anything for $25 or less and not report it. As MoPac lobbyist Naul Sandall did for James Cox he could pay for his hotel rooms one night at a timeand not report that. The lobbyists’ extensive expenditures for meals and parties would not be reported. A man could buy four fifths of whisky at Charlie’s, four at the Bottle Shop, four at Dirty Joe’s …. 5.Both bills include a prohibition that no person may seek to “influence” \(a taboo word except in islation “other than by an appeal to reason.” Black Bean Hardeman put this in the Governor’s bill, and it manifestly makes the bill contradictory, in that entertainment for certain limited purposes has to be reported, yet if it’s designed to influence legislation, it’s prohibited This section should be struck : it is a deliberate hark-back to the 1907 law which everybody knows is unworkable. The new aspect bearing on this provision occurs in the House bill. Without any debate, the House committee agreed to the omission of the severability clause. \(One sighs at the difficulty of explaining all these machinations to those not The severability clause says that if one provision of the law is unconstitutional, this shall not invalidate the whole act. Without it, one invalid part invalidates the whole thing. The House committee deliberately sought to make the bill more p r o b ably unconstitutionaland without debate. 6.For the first time, the bill seems to seek to bar members of the press from the floors of the legislature. This is the legislature’s right, but we think it ought to be known about. Section 9 of both acts adds new language barring from the floors persons “not authorized by law” to be there. 7.Finally, the House bill says the act won’t be effective until the beginning of 1959. Well : there you don’t have it Neither of these bills is worth a damn. The rascals and scamps in the legislature are hard at work to see that something like them passes , and reaches the Governor, who, supine, quivering in trepidation at the shadow of an incensed people, is likely to sign anything so he can tell them the lobbyists are “controlled.” It is an ultimate confrontation for state government. Can democratic impulses gain sway over the forces of big money at the state capitol ? It is a time for good men to fight for the things they believe, and then, if it so works out, to let others bear the consequences, and the responsibilities, of the twisted issue they have so deliberately wrought. AUSTIN You may not know why, some 40odd years ago, Ambrose Marcus Aurelius Bierce disappeared into the wilds of northern Mexico never to be heard from again, but I do, I think : he’d seen a Texas legislature in \(well, let’s say session, so as not to be forced produce a king-sized weltschmerz in even so jolly-positive a fellow as Norman Vincent Peale, let alone a Bierce. How do I know this ? Well, it was pure accident. I’d been re-reading Bierce, as an antidote for a large involuntary ingestion of sweet superlatives from television pitchmen, and I stumbled onto Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionaryone of the last works lie produced before heading forever south of the Rio Grande. Listen to these definitions : Quorum: A sufficient number of members of a deliberative body to have their own way and their own way of having it. Politics : A strife of interest masquerading as a contest of principles ; the conduct of public affairs for private advantage. Positive : Mistaken at the top of one’s voice. Optimism : The doctrine, or belief, that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly; everything good, especially the bad ; and everything right that is wrong. \(It is possible that the two definitions above came after Bierce attended the press conference of a governor who was exercising “leadership” Published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd. NOVEMBER 8, 1957 Ronnie Dugger Editor and General Manager Lyman Jones, Associate Editor Sarah Payne, Office Manager Dean Johnston, Circulation-Advertising Published once a week from Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $4 per annum. Advertising rates available on request. Extra copies 10c each. Quantity prices available on orders. Entered as second-class matter, April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Idiot : A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. Deliberation : The art of examining one’s bread to determine which side it is buttered on. Alliance : In politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other’s pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third. Immoral : Inexpedient. Whatever in the long run and with regard to the greater number of instances men find to be generally inexpedient comes to be considered wrong, wicked, immoral. Vote : The instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country. Pocket: The cradle of motive and the grave of conscience. History : An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools. Exception: A thing which takes the liberty to differ from other things of its class, as : an honest man, a truthful woman. Tariff: A scale of taxes on imports designed to protect the domestic producer against the greed of the consumer. Ultimatum: … a last demand be fore resorting to concession. Malefactor : The chief factor in the progress of the human race. See what I mean? LYMAN JONES We will serve no group or party but will hew to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. EDITORIAL and BUSINESS OFFICE: 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas. Phone GReenwood 7-0746. HOUSTON OFFICE: 2501 Cririford. Mrs. R. D. Randolph, Dean Johnston.