By Marc Campos
Back in the 60s there was a candidate that ran for the Texas House of Representatives and pledged that if elected, he would read every bill that was filed. After he was elected and served a term, he realized he had to amend his pledge to - "I will read every bill that is referred to my committee". After a second term, he again amended his pledge - "I will read every bill that I file".
According to today's Chron, this quote from Houston State Rep. Sylvester Turner (D) - "I've got to look to see what's all included in there". Turner is referring to a bill he filed - but never took the time to read - that has been labeled a "disaster" by Fred Lewis of the campaign finance watchdog group, Campaigns for People. Sylvester's bill eliminates certain civil penalties for campaign reporting violations.
Sylvester says that he filed the bill on behalf of a House colleague, but he won't name the colleague, errrr, culprit. You gotta figure that the culprit knew it was a stinky bill, so he let Turner take the hit. It would appear that in a time when campaign finance is being investigated, questioned, and debated, the bill's original author should be revealed. It would be nice to have another punching bag to pound.
Turner's bill deals with the provisions of campaign finance law that allowed five losing Democratic state house candidates in the 2002 general election to sue Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC). Commentary has a little bit of experience dealing with campaign reporting violations. If anything, the laws need more teeth. Sylvester needs to can his own, rather his colleague's bill.
FYI: Commentary has had Turner as a client on a couple of occasions.
In last night's "West Wing", California GOP U.S. Senator Arnold Vinick (played by Alan Alda) made a compelling case on why he should be elected next president. He stuck to his guns on choice and voted to increase the minimum wage. Just when some of us thought Houston Democratic Congressman Matt Santos (played by Jimmy Smits) looked like he was on his way to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.. Upcoming episodes include a Democratic National Convention that is not scripted. The last exciting Dem convention was in 1980 - Carter vs Kennedy. The last exciting GOP convention was in 1976 - Ford vs Reagan. Ahhh, the good old days.
Commentary will take off on Good Friday and return Monday, March 28, 2005. Have a Happy Easter.
March 24, 2005, 9:00AM