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The Farenthold lawsuit Austin I hope that every reform-minded person in Texas will give Sissy Farenthold all the time he or she can spare in her second attempt for the governor’s chair. She is a grave and gallant woman, acting existentially against the corruptions of democracy and the public good as she well understands them. Her lawsuit against Governor Briscoe alleging that he collected $640,000 before complying with the requirements of the new state law on campaign spending is well advised. First, it calls attention to the domination of Texas government by big money, exemplified by Briscoe himself. As Sissy said in her announcement, Briscoe said in 1972 he’s worth only $2.5 million, but subsequently the Houston Chronicle estimated that he’s worth $40 million sixteen times his own statement. Yet he had the face, while the seated governor, to collect two thirds of a million dollars and apply a fourth of it to a debt he owed to himself and three-fourths of it to his re-election campaign. The Briscoe people now admit to block ticket-buying and mass ticket give-aways to drum up the crowd for the phoney show. As John Henry Faulk says, one can assay the response of a political opposition to a thrust against them by the way they react. Had Briscoe said, Well, if Ms. Farenthold thinks we have violated the law, the courts are the right place to settle the matter, one could have guessed he wasn’t much worried. To the contrary, he screamed mudslinging. He and his people must be worried they may have broken the new law and made themselves liable for the damages required by that law’s terms. The suit, styled Frances Tarlton Farenthold et al., plaintiffs, vs. Dolph Briscoe and Joe Kilgore, defendants, accuses Briscoe and Kilgore of accepting campaign contributions estimated in excess of half a million dollars “prior to the filing of the name of his [Briscoe’s] campaign manager with the Secretary of State, as required by Article 14.02 of Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes.” This 1973 reform law requires such a filing before campaign contributions can be accepted. The purpose of the requirement is to ensure the legal accountability of the candidate as to funds collected for him. Briscoe’s people say the designation of Jess Hay as the “dinner ‘campaign manager’ ” sufficed. Subsequently, Kilgore was named campaign manager for the 1974 campaign. The money taken in before Hay was named is being given to Briscoe to retire previous campaign debts to himself. The money taken in after Hay was named about $480,000 is going into the 1974 campaign. The question, it would appear, is Observations whether the designation of Hay as the “campaign chairman” for the fund-raising dinner satisfies the requirement of the law that the name of Briscoe’s campaign chairman, which is Joe Kilgore, be filed with the Secretary of State before campaign contributions could be accepted. The suit, set for trial April 18, turns on the facts and the law. Either Farenthold is right or Briscoe is right. If Farenthold is, she alleges that she is entitled, under the 1973 law, to about $1 million damages, and she is asking another $1.5 million damages, under the law, for the people of the state. What’s unfair about this lawsuit? Briscoe says he’s for law and order, but he cries out “mudslinging” and his defenders say the suit is “harassment.” Is the governor, then, to be regarded as above the law? As Sissy remarked during her announcement conference, Briscoe told voters in 1972 he would require that there be a committee hearing on every bill the Legislature enacted, but it would have been useful if he had also promised that the governor would read the bills before he signed them. This, however, is just the news stuff in the foreground. In her announcement statement, overshadowed in the press by the lawsuit filed the same day, Sissy stressed Briscoe’s “no-record, do-nothing caretaker government” and listed her own priorities, in this order: stop the corruption of Texas elections by big money, establish a state public utilities commission, reform the tax system, provide justice for the minorities in . state government employment, and reconsider, through “a task force of people who put human values ahead of politics,” every aspect of the state’s annual spending. “Texas cannot sleep on through the Bicentennial,” she said. “We must think ahead to 1976. Will corporate war chests continue to elect our governors and our presidents? They will if we do not rebel at the ballot box. The time to start that rebellion the time is now, and the place is here at home.” Loops and whorls I had hoped Ralph Yarborough would run for railraod commissioner, but he goes on with the good fight. Presently he has helped generate opposition to the astounding proposal by a clique in the State Bar to require applicants for law school to submit full sets of their own fingerprints and waive their rights of privacy and legal self-defense. The Bar has submitted proposals to the Supreme Court of Texas to require that every student intending to apply for admission to the bar to file, shortly after starting law school, “a complete set of fingerprints.” The student also has to sign a release “authorizing third persons to furnish to the Board or the State Bar, or any of their authorized representatives, all relevant documents, records or other information pertaining to the [student] , and releasing any person, firm, officer, corporation, association, organization or institution from any and all liability in respect to inspection, furnishing or evaluation of any such information.” Fitness to be a lawyer in Texas is defined as the absence, in the student, of “a mental or emotional illness or condition which would prevent his carrying out duties to clients, courts or the profession. A person may be of good moral character, but may be incapacitated from proper discharge of his duties as a lawyer by such illness or condition.” describes the disqualifying characteristics as “prior mental or emotional illnesses or conditions.” The State Bar is authorized by the proposed rules to investigate the law student’s moral character and fitness at the student’s expense. If it is claimed the student is not fit and of good character, “the burden of proof shall be on the [student] to show that he possesses good moral character as defined in these rules.” This police-state proposal inspires such rage, I shall restrain my own to spare the reader a surfeit, because Yarborough, in his March 1, 1974 19