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we espy any in the offing. He lacks the vision and foresight to deal with the challenges we actually do face. He is reluctant to do battle with any lobby except the underpaid and the poor in the lobby of despair. The only remaining question is whether in this leaderless situation the legislature can come to grips with these issues. It is clear that the leadership, if we are to have any at all, must come from the Senate, the House, or from somewhere. Special Interests and the Public Interest Austin It had taken Senator Doggett a couple of days to return the telephone call. “There just aren’t enough fingers to put in all the dikes that are leaking,” he said. He agreed to participate in an Observer discussion of the legislature. Lunch was to have been two hours, but a committee hearing turned up, cutting off half an hour. The discussion took place at the original Raw Deal over steaks and beans, in Doggett’s car on the short drive back to the Capitol, in the Senate elevator and hallway, and finally in his office. He is a lean young man with a face of acute angles. Although most of his pictures make him look like an Eagle Scout, in conversation he is quick and aggressive. One soon becomes aware that his quickness to disagree proceeds from an inner firmness of mind and convictions that what he is saying is corning from a mind that is well-moored, lucid, and stable. This discussion took place Feb. 23. Dugger was the Observer person involved. Who Runs It? Let me just ask you a general question, senator, for people who might not know much about the Texas legislature I imagine half of the Observer’s readers are relative newcomers to the state. . Who runs the legislature in terms of policy, what kind of a place is it politically? I think the legislature is heavily dominated by those organizations that can afford to form a political action committee and hire a full-time lobbyist in Austin. Often on basic pieces of legislation the major players are not the elected officials, but rather the lobbyists who represent those trade organizations who’ve made the political contributions. There’s an interplay of forces, but clearly the dominant forces are those who can have a political action committee and a. fulltime lobbyist. A commonsense person might ask on the basis of that kind of analysis, well, is legislation bought? Is that the import? I don’t mean bribed .. . Well, I think we have very little if any of the kind of under-the-table contributions people in general are concerned about, but that’s not necessary so long as the cost of elections is as high as it currently is and as that money is provided by a smaller and smaller group of people in the form of political action committees. They can exert influence far beyond their numbers through their political contributions. About 25 years ago the legislature was bought under the table. Would you suppose now it’s fair to say that legislation is bought over the table’ it’s all over the table and out in public. I think it is all over the table I’m a little hesitant about using the term, `bought,’ because it is a strong term, but certainly when you look at the legislation that’s passed, when you look at the effect of particularly certain committees there is imense influence in those groups. Let me ask you a question that’s been in my mind now for a couple of weeks. If a reporter or any interested citizen wanted to conduct useful and revelatory research in the connections between political action committees, members of the legislature, their committee assignments, and their positions on legislation, how would you go about it? Well, you go to the Secretary of State’s office [in the Capitol] and review the reports by the political action committees. You would encounter some difficulty in doing that because there is not sufficient information collected there to identify some of the political action committees. You might get the name of something like the Free Enterprise Committee, and you’d have to do a good bit of research with players to find out who that really is and find out that in fact it’s a group of polluters that belong to the Texas Chemical Council. Free Texas for Pollution Committee. That’s right. I have a bill up this time to require more information about political action committees and contributors tify them, but I think I’d begin there. Will that bill pass do you think? A similar bill did not pass in 1977, but I can’t tell yet. I think that series the Dallas Times-Herald did about officeholder accounts and the influence of special interests on the legislature creates an atmosphere that might be conducive to some of this. What about initiative and referendum? What are your thoughts on that? Oh, I’m not afraid of it. I think the best case for initiative and referendum is to look at some of the things that the Texas legislature aver its history has and has not done. We need to have an alternative means of influencing what happens in state policy besides just going to the legislature. So I joined with Senator Mengden last time in supporting initiative and referendum. I think it’s an issue that guts across philosophical lines, but if you believe in democracy, I find it difficult to be opposed to it. I do have some problems with the specifics of the Governor’s proposals this time. What are those problems? Well, he calls it indirect initiative, I think it might well be called incomplete initiative, because you do not get the initiative provisions unless you submit that to the legislature first. That will allow, incidentally, for a group to come in to the legislature and try to come up with some kind of sham proposal, rather than letting the people put on the ballot what they want. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11