POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE Anti-Consumer Texans to” Congress turned increasingly anticonsumer in the past session, with members who received the largest amounts of campaign contributions from business groups voting more of a pro-business line, Ralph Nader’s congressional lobbyists said recently. Two Texans, Sen. John Tower and Republican Cong. Tom Loeffler, were among those with the lowest pro-consumer scores in the survey by Congress Watch. Ratings for individual members were based on 30 votes in the House and 40 in the Senate during 1981. The votes involved a range of consumer-related issues affecting such areas as the environment, energy, -tax reform, government reorganization, and health. Riley Rakes It In Rep. -Ken Riley of Corpus Christi amassed about $18,300 in political contributions while the legislature was in session last year, a practice the legislature has since prohibited. The law now prohibits lawmakers from accepting campaign contributions 30 days prior to the start of a legislative session through the day it adjourns. The law went into effect Sept. 1. Riley, a first term Republican, drew the criticism of at least one lobby group last March by sponsoring a political fund-raiser in Austin in the middle of the session. Watt Clarifies Remarks Late last year that true believer who heads the Dept. of Interior made a speech to a group of California farmers in which he said, “I never use the words Republicans and Democrats. It’s liberals and Americans.” Timothy Donohoe, a lobbyist for the Dallas-based Enserch Corp., which owns Lone Star Gas Co., read a report of Sec. Watt’s remarks and fired off a letter to the secretary on private stationery with an office address asking Watt to “kindly furnish further clarification of your remarks,” adding that he is “an American and a liberal. And the Washington lobbyist for a $3 billion energy concern.” Instead of responding to Donohoe, Stanley Hulett, assistant secretary for congressional and legislative affairs, searched out Donohoe’s employer and then sent a copy of the letter and one of his own to Donohoe’s boss at Enserch Corp. Donohoe was fired. Nice folks we’re dealing with here. Cong. Charles Wilson, on whose staff Donohoe worked for seven years, says he would like to see a congressional investigation, but he doesn’t blame Enserch. “I would say that in circumstances like this I don’t fault the company,” he said, “because a major energy company can be intimidated by the Interior Dept.” Gib Grabs Some, Too Rep. Gib Lewis has raised nearly $100,000 in his bid to be the next House speaker, outdistancing Carlyle Smith, the Grand Pairie Democrat, by more than 15 to 1. Reports filed with the Sec. of State’s office show that Lewis has spent about $86,000; Smith reported spending $2,379. Lewis’ largest single contributor was Fort Worth oilman Perry Bass, who is also chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. Bass gave Lewis two contributions totaling $10,000. Other contributors include Eddie Chiles Austin Says No Austin voters soundly defeated a proposed city ordinance legalizing housing discrimination against homosexuals by a 63 percent to 37 percent margin. Now the battle shifts back to the City Council where council member Roger Duncan plans to move immediately on an amendment to the Fair Housing Ordinance that would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Ethics Panel Texas’ state ethics panel is about ready to go to work. Rep. Stan, Schlueter’s Public Servant Standards of Conduct Advisory Committee will hold a public hearing Feb. 26. After six months of hearings and several more of subcommittee and staff work, the ethics committee will make a report in November telling the 1983 legislature what should be done about state government ethics. Much of the committee’s information will come from public hearings. The Feb. 26 hearing will consider conflicts of interest, including nepotism and business dealings of public servants, along with public employee restrictions such as prohibitions on political activity. Water Still On Although voters overwhelmingly rejected the proposed Texas Water Trust Fund last November, the Texas Water Development Board is making plans to spend $40 million for water projects. House Bill 8, a law passed by the 1981 Legislature to put the water trust fund into effect, appropriated $40 million to the Texas Water Development Board for start-up activities. At its meeting last week, the Board considered “draft rules” proposed by general counsel Reg Arnold to use the $40 million as a “Water Loan Assistance Fund.” Under the proposed rules, the $40 million would be used to invest in board-sanctioned water development projects of local govDemos Tinker With Rules V For the fourth time in twelve years, Democratic party leaders are tinkering with the nominating rules for presidential candidates. This latest “reform” commission, which met in Washington in early January, was called the Hunt Commission after its chairman, North Carolina Gov. James Hunt. The 69 commission members recommended the following rule changes for consideration by the full Democratic National Committee in March: Shortening the public delegateselection “season” from 20 to 15 weeks by moving the Iowa caucuses to Feb. 27 and the New Hampshire primary election to Mar. 6; 16 FEBRUARY 12, 1982
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.