Page 20


iite “44 14\( Of’ s 4 c9ek 4* it + 90.7 mi-lz AUSTIN 1 3301 Southwest Freeway I I at Buffalo Speedway 1 1 1 1 Color TV in every room 1 Restaurant & Lounge Heated Pool 1 Family Plan Free Parking Meeting and Convention Facilities for up to 375 ALL AT MODERATE RATES 800 AE 8-5000 1.1 NM MI MO NM MI IMMINM RESERVATIONS: CALL TOLL FREE American Express Space Bank pi ALBERT C MOTOR INN FOR HOUSTON Enjoy real money-saving value, and relax at the Better late than . . . never? Austin Members of the Texas Legislature, who have turned down at least one ethics bill during each session for the last 10 years, are very anxious now to show how ethical they are. More than two-thirds of the 150-member House rushed to sign Rep. Jim Nugent’s bill creating a state ethics committee, the same bill that the House has turned down five sessions in a row. Houston Republican Jim Earthman commented that there couldn’t have been more activity at Nugent’s desk if he had been distributing free beer. The measure would prohibit legislators and their employees from introducing or voting on legislation in which they or their clients have a “substantial” interest. It provides for expulsion, removal or discharge for persons violating the act. Nugent’s bill does not require legislators to give a full financial disclosure, but a number of disclosure bills have been introduced. Even Speaker Mutscher’s Committee of 100 has endorsed legislation requiring members to fess up as to their monetary interests. Mutscher’s committee, ironically enough, was chaired by former Atty. Gen. Waggoner Carr, one of the men accused by the SEC with stock fraud. TWENTY legislators made a public pledge that they will release financial disclosure reports by April 20 and they are urging all public officials, both elected and appointed, to do the same. They have promised to disclose their income records for 1969 and 1970, including loans, the dates of the loans and of repayment, the rate of interest charged and the collateral required; stocks, dates bought and sold, prices paid and received, whether or not the money was borrowed and, if so, from whom; all assets larger than $2,500 in real property, securities, demand or time deposits or any other form; all assets, of whatever size, in any concern doing business with the State of Texas or falling under regulation of the state; a standard balance sheet showing assets and liabilities as of Dec. 31, 1970; and source and amount of income during the past two calendar years. The original signers of the pledge were Rep. Frances Farenthold of Corpus Christi, John Bigham of Temple, Dick Reed of Dallas, Ben Grant of Marshall, Tom Bass of Houston, Neil Caldwell of Angleton, Bill Bass of Ben Wheeler, Tom Moore, Jr., of Waco, R. C. Nichols of Houston, Curtis Graves of Houston, Lindsey Rodriguez of Hidalgo, Carlos Truan of Corpus Christi, Rex Braun of Houston and Charles Patterson of Round Rock. Senators signing were Joe Bernal of San Antonio and Oscar Mauzy of Dallas. The House defeated a resolution by Rep. Jim Earthman of Houston that would have required members to submit a financial record annually. Representatives, however, will have other opportunities to approve financial disclosure. Reps. Maurice Angly of Austin and Charles Patterson of Taylor both have filed disclosure bills with the House clerk. ON THE SENATE side, Sen. Ralph Hall of Rockwall has introduced a bill requiring state officials to file a copy of federal income tax returns, along with financial statements showing new worth, all acquitions, investments and sales of assets during the preceeding year. The measure prohibits influential gifts, voting on measures in which a member has a personal interest without disclosing that interest, disclosure of confidential information, transacting state business with personally-owned firms and special privileges by virtue of office. A House-Senate ethics committee would be set up to investigate violations, and violations would be felonies punishable by fines up to $10,000 and/or two years to ten years in prison. Sen. Charles Wilson of Lufkin has a similar but less stringent bill. His measure passed the Senate last session but never made it. Sens. Don Kennard of Fort Worth and Chet Brooks of Pasadena introduced a constitutional amendment to create an independent commission to write a code of ethics and to set salaries for state legislators. JUDGING FROM what quick work the Senate made of the only ethics resolution yet to reach the floor, one might suspect that an independent commission would write a stronger code of ethics than would the legislators themselves. Sen. Mike McKool of Dallas introduced a resolution concerning conflict of interest on state regulatory boards. It would have established a Senate policy of refusing to confirm appointments to regulatory boards or agencies if the appointee has an open or obvious conflict of interest because of employment or previous employment or personal or financial interests in the agency being regulated. Thus, insurance company presidents couldn’t be appointed to the insurance board. Banking lobbyists couldn’t regulate state banks. By a vote of 16 to 13, Sen. Bill Moore of Bryan got McKool’s resolution sent to his own State Affairs Committee. As Moore explained, “I hate to vote on a resolution as silly as this without reading it first.” It is doubtful that the resolution will ever again see the light of day. The Senate voted unanimously to create a five-member general investigating committee to look into State Banking Department policies and other questions raised by the stock fraud case. Representative Earthman, a Republican, “demanded” that Mutscher name a committee to investigate legislators who bought stock in National Bankers Life Insurance Co., but, needless to say, Mutscher declined to do so. Two other House Republicans called for an investigation of all persons involved in passage of thw two deposit insurance bills. Representative Caldwell has a resolution inviting members involved in the scandal to tell their side of the story to the House. K.N. February 12, 1971 15 sio um au se so me PII Call CK I Before You Pack