1. m4;milim Ni1111111111111111111V vmmum -,7: Atty. Gen. John Hill filed treble damage suits against Gulf Oil and Phillips Petroleum and asked an Austin district court judge to enjoin the two oil companies from giving any more illegal campaign contributions in violation of Texas laws. Hill asked for $1.05 million from Gulf and $375,000 from Phillips. Spokesmen for both companies have said that their donations stopped in 1972, when the breaking Watergate scandal put new pressure on corporations to clean up their acts. But the attorney general’s civil petition charges that Gulf’s corporate gifts continued “until at least the general election of 1974.” Since the criminal statute of limitations is three years, gifts made in 1974 might be subject to criminal prosecution. Hill, of course, can only proceed under-the civil statutes. The attorney general is not interested in identifying and questioning the recipients of the funds. He said, “I could not very harshly judge a person who had done nothing more than receive a campaign contribution which turns out to be from corporate coffers, when there was nothing about it that would reveal it [as such].” The Gulf and Phillips lobbyists who have given affidavits have often had memory lapses when it came to naming specific candidates. Gulf people have admitted giving corporate funds to Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, the late Atty. Gen. Crawford Martin, Supreme Court justices, Railroad Commissioners, and legislators”several hundred candidates,” according to Harris Winfree, a Gulf lobbyist who lives in Austin. According to Dave Montgomery of The Dallas Times Herald, Larry Temple, a former aide to Gov. John Connally and President Lyndon Johnson, gave about $1,500 in funds to Texas legislative candidates in 1971. “Six years later,” Temple said in an affidavit, “I cannot recall the recipients or the amounts.” Temple gave packets of Gulf money to both the Bentsen and Martin campaigns in 1970. He estimated that the packets probably contained $2,500 each. Reporter Montgomery checked Bentsen’s and Martin’s campaign reports for that year and discovered that neither man had listed the 8 The Texas Observer bserver gifts gifts in campaign statements. Martin is dead now, but, under the Texas law, Bentsen could be civilly liable to double the amount of the , unreported contribution. Both the Texas attorney general and the Travis County district attorney have jurisdiction in the case. One of Texas’ very own oil majors . is finally in the foreign bribery scam, but it’s not keeping up the old Number One tradition. Tenneco, Inc. of Houston is not showing us any of that good Lockheed stuff, that million-dollar business. They confess to two payments. totalling $10,000 to an employee of an unnamed foreign government “improperly described on the books of the company and may have been improperly deducted for U.S. tax purposes.” Concerning domestic political payments, Tenneco acknowledged in a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission three illegal contributions of $1,000 each to two district judges and a D.A. in Louisiana. The company also maintained a $40,000 annual fund for political contributions in Texas and Louisiana, apparently legal. The fund was maintained by “high-level executives and was used from 1966 to 1973. Tenneco, like its corporate brothers, did not name the recipients of its generosity. More again,st Schnabel The charges keep piling up against Senate Secretary Charles Schnabel. On Feb. 10, a hold-over grand jury in Austin hit him with eight more accusationstwo counts of felony theft, one for forgery, and five counts of official misconduct. Alex Martinez, the former Senate print shop supervisor, and Penni Stoner, an Austin printing jobber, also were indicted for stealing Senate paper. None of the specific charges against Schnabel are that earth-shattering, but together they add up, and Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby was saying that Schnabel’s position as Senate secretary is now “untenable” and that he “should step aside.” The new grand jury charges are that Schnabel: stole two Senate payroll checks, one made out to Beth Beto, a daughter of former Texas prison director George Beto, and one made out to Marcela Atkinson, Martinez’ wife; forged Atkinson’s name on the back of a $332.11 check from the Texas Warrant Co.; and misapplied $292 of Senate money by paying four Senate employees and one former employee for work at the Texas Relays last year. Ann Arnold of United Press Interna tional and George Kuempel of the Houston Chronicle had the inside track on stories from Alex Martinez and the prosecution during early stages of the Schnabel story. \(Schnabel was a popular fellow, and some of the good old boys in the press corps didn’t want to believe that Charlie was seriously in trouble with the law. A number of Texas sports writers were especially incensed by the stories that concerned questionable Senate payments to UT athletes. Arnold received abusive phone calls from more than one sports With Kuempel and Arnold acing the rest of the corps on the accusation against Schnabel, the Associated Press and the other dailies were left to mine the Schnabel defense for exclusives. Some of the efforts were fairly pathetic. The Associated Press sent out a Sunday story which began: “Senate Secretary Charles Schnabel says his religious faith has sustained him through four months of what he sees as trial in the media. ‘I don’t think there’s any question about it,’ Schnabel told the Associated Press. ‘There’s no question that faith has bolstered me and sustained me in the face of the pressures of being called a thief when I know it’s not true.’ \(Schnabel is a Dallas city government is in peculiar straits these days. Mayor Wes Wise resigned to run for Congress and that left the city short of a mayor. So Adlene Harrison, an intelligent woman who happened to be mayor pro tern, took over. Then Councilman Gary Weber resigned so he could run for the vacant mayor’s seat. Then council members William Cothrum and Rose Renfroe threatened to go and do likewise, and Dallas business leaders kept urging Harrison to get into the race. Since one has to resign to run in visions of a council-less city danced through heads. But Cothrum and Renfroe decided
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.