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November 13, 2017      5:21 PM

Ethics Commission is asked whether RPT speaker commitment forms are legislative bribery

Campaign finance laws “seek to prohibit bribery in the process, including attempts by outside GPACs to meddle in the constitutional requirement that members of the House of Representatives select a speaker.”

The state’s campaign finance regulator is being asked by a state lawmaker to weigh in on whether it amounts to illegal bribery for the Republican Party of Texas to ask GOP lawmakers to pledge to vote a certain way for the lower chamber’s presiding officer in exchange for monetary support, Quorum Report has learned.

Prior to the beginning of the filing period for candidates, the party posted this “speaker commitment” form on its website asking candidates to turn them in when filing for office. “Texas House Republicans should stand unified and united in their selection of the next speaker, whoever that may be,” the party said.

Now, in a letter to the Texas Ethics Commission, a member of the Legislature argues that even though the Republican Party “does expressly disclaim that their ‘commitment form’ ‘is not intended to aid or defeat a ‘speaker candidate,’” that statement doesn’t matter because “the law regarding legislative bribery by a GPAC applies much more broadly, stating that ‘a person commits an offense if, with the intent to influence a member of or candidate for the house of representatives in casting a vote for speaker of the house of representatives, the person’ attempts to have votes given or withheld for speaker.”

By Scott Braddock

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