October 30, 2014      6:09 PM

Houston up for grabs in the race for governor?

Conservative stalwart Hotze and others warn that Davis is outpolling Abbott in Harris County, potentially ruining the GOP’s chances in down ballot races

As we've said from time to time at Buzz Central, if Texas is a battleground, Harris County is ground zero. Perhaps never before has that seemed so true. Conservative activists, including the local GOP's new and old leadership, are said to be waging all-out war to try to keep Sen. Wendy Davis’ performance in Harris County from affecting their down ballot candidates. There has been much grumbling in recent weeks from local Republican judicial candidates who feel that not enough has been done to turn out the GOP vote.

Longtime conservative activist and donor Dr. Steve Hotze – a major financial contributor to Sen. Dan Patrick – recently sent out mailers and emails pleading for Christian conservatives to get out the vote.

In offering what he called a "Contract with Texas," Hotze said "Republicans are in trouble in Harris County. For the first time in over two decades the Democrats have matched the Republicans in Early Ballots by Mail which Republicans historically have led by a 2 to 1 margin."

Hotze went on to explain that he's seen polling that shows Attorney General Greg Abbott running behind Sen. Davis by just 1 percent in Harris County. Some reliable sources tell QR they have seen similar polling.

"This adversely affects the down ballot races," Hotze wrote. "Republican District Attorney Devon Anderson is in a dead heat with Democrat challenger Kim Ogg,” he said. “The Republican judges are running neck in neck with the liberal Democrat judicial candidates. Obama’s Battleground Texas has registered over 1,000,000 new voters in Texas.”

By Scott Braddock

October 30, 2014      6:07 PM

Press Releases: A win for religious liberty, oil & gas champs, assurances of which candidates will win and more

October 29, 2014      8:44 PM

Hegar and Collier both show great poise in substantive comptroller debate

The most daylight between the two is on property taxes and experience needed for the office

In what may well have been the most substantive debate of the general election, the candidates for Texas Comptroller clashed on a variety of issues Wednesday night, including property taxes and how to best reform the office they seek. The fast and furious half-hour exchange between Republican Sen. Glenn Hegar and Democratic nominee and businessman Mike Collier was hosted by our news partners at Time Warner Cable News in Austin.

One of the questions posed to the two was from Quorum Report contributor Stuart Greenfield, a veteran of the comptroller’s office, who asked how each would plan to improve revenue estimates. In asking his question via Twitter, Greenfield noted that total tax collections for fiscal year 2014 exceed the 2015 estimate by $1 billion.

Hegar said forecast models are extremely important, but so is talking with political leaders and business leaders in all 254 counties.  That will help the comptroller understand “the economic vibe out in Texas.” Hegar said truly having an “ear to the ground” requires talking with business owners throughout the state who lead the way in economic trends.

Collier agreed with that last portion of Hegar’s comments but added that the simplest and best way to reform the state’s accounting is to do a revenue estimate on a quarterly basis instead of once just prior to the legislative session. The Comptroller’s Office would not need any new legislation to start doing a revenue estimate each quarter, Collier said. He said Texans are “skeptical” that politics play a role in those estimates as they are now performed.

Noting the very wrong revenue estimates offered up by Comptroller Susan Combs in the past – which many have argued contributed to unnecessary cuts to public education in 2011 – Collier said "let's take politics out of it and put competence into" the revenue estimates.

By Scott Braddock

October 29, 2014      5:27 PM

Updated: Texas Ethics Commission votes to require dark money groups to disclose donors

Groups that spend 25 percent or more of their annual revenue on politics will have to disclose; conservative supporters say the commission is closing a “dangerous loophole”

Setting things up for what could very well be another throwdown in The Legislature next year over so-called “dark money” in elections, the Texas Ethics Commission on Wednesday voted to adopt a rule that requires certain nonprofits to disclose their donors when they play in politics. Under the rule, groups would have to disclose donors if they spend 25 percent or more of their annual budget on political expenditures.

The commission has already sought to clarify that dark money groups can spend up to 20 percent of their revenue on political expenditures without disclosing the names of donors. That would be a “safe harbor,” so to speak.

At the beginning of Wednesday’s hearing on the issue, Commissioner Chase Untermeyer said critics of the agency have been way off base to suggest that they’re somehow overstepping their authority. “That is not the case,” he said. Untermeyer said he invites lawmakers to examine dark money in the 2015 session “if it is the will of The Legislature."

The way the process played out on SB 346 last session – that was the dark money bill carried by Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo – should have no bearing on what the commission is working on now, Untermeyer said. That process ended with Gov. Perry’s veto, as QR readers may remember.

"That is a matter of history and it is not relevant to our deliberations," Untermeyer said. Now that the dust has settled on that fight, “we are left with our sworn duty which is to enforce the law as is currently written,” he said. Untermeyer added, however, that the law is “vague” and further guidance from lawmakers would be appropriate.

During the hearing, TEC Chairman Jim Clancy pointed out that the failure of SB 346 did not change the fact that the Texas Government Code requires the commission to work to "disclose fully information related to expenditures and contributions for elections and for petitioning the government.”

None of the conservative Texas Senate nominees who previously warned the commission that the agency was overstepping its authority accepted Clancy’s invitation to testify about it. At least one of them, Bob Hall, was down the hall in the Texas Capitol during the commission’s meeting, by the way. A spokesman for Hall said his opinion was made clear in his original letter.

October 29, 2014      5:21 PM

Press Releases: State revenue, business awards and somehow only one campaign attack

October 29, 2014      5:18 PM

Cable conversion underway inside the Capitol Complex

Upgrade to digital may require new television sets in some offices.

Time Warner Cable is moving to a digital platform in the Capitol Complex this week, which may leave offices with older television sets without cable service.

The channel line-up Time Warner Cable provides to its Capitol Complex business customers is unique, with multiple slots, or channels, open for state-created content. The platform belongs to Time Warner, but various state offices feed the content.

With the conversion completed, the number of available open channels will be 28.

By Kimberly Reeves

October 29, 2014      3:56 PM

Crosby: Good natured jibe at Bearse's last column

Consultant to consultant rejoinder

It was ironic that Eric Bearse whined about Democratic scare tactics the same day the Quorum Report ran a story about a recent Republican mailer that addressed the looming Gay Peril threatening Texas.

That Bearse, a GOP direct mail consultant, probably had his own hit pieces landing in unsuspecting mailboxes at the same moment makes it hysterical.

He should be careful because it's a long fall off that high horse and when he lands there might be Republican boogie people ready for revenge.

By Jeff Crosby

October 29, 2014      3:42 PM

Greenfield: Here We Go Again

Surging state revenues continue to be ignored by Comptroller; next Lege may have $20 billion more than Combs' office estimates

In 1967, Ray Charles released “Here We Go Again” lamenting the return of a girlfriend. That song is quite appropriate following the release of September’s revenue collections by Comptroller Combs. According to the Comptroller’s News Archive, there has been no mention of either the growth in state tax collections for FY14 (6.7 percent) or the increase (10.7 percent) for September, 2014, the first month of FY15. So, “here we go again,” with a lack of the true fiscal situation of the state from the Comptroller.

Table 1 below shows the actual year-to-date percentage increase in monthly state tax collections for FY10 through FY15) and the current estimate growth rate (for FY14 and for FY15) from Comptroller Combs.

Over the last three fiscal years, the estimated growth in tax collections provided by Comptroller Combs has been significantly less than the growth realized by the state. Unless there is a dramatic downturn in the Texas economy this fiscal year, something no economic forecaster, not even Comptroller Combs, is projecting, the growth in realized tax collections will be at least three times the rate (1.9 percent) in the current estimate. This should result in the current Fiscal 2015 Ending Certification Balance increasing from $2.6 billion to a minimum $7.5 billion. This nearly $5.0 billion increase is the minimum increase as the state should expect reduced public education outlays as local property tax collections continue to exceed the amount the state expected to be collected. Given the continued growth in the Texas economy and immigration, we should expect local property tax collections to exceed the amount forecasted to support the Foundation School Program.

The rest of Stuart Greenfield's column can be found in today's R&D Department.

By Stuart Greenfield, Ph.D

October 29, 2014      3:40 PM

Ethics Commission chooses Paul Hobby as new Chairman

Hobby will be Chairman, Commissioner Chase Untermeyer will be Vice Chair. Both are Straus appointees. Their new roles start Nov. 20th.

October 28, 2014      5:32 PM

The homestretch for political cash in Texas House races

Fundraising remains competitive in a few House races on the Quorum Report Radar

The time-honored tradition of combing through the 8 day campaign finance reports is underway at Buzz Central on this beautiful Tuesday afternoon. It’s of course the last chance before the election to pull back the curtain on the money involved in the Texas House races that we’ve been telling you are competitive, so let’s do this.

One of the most closely watched races is on the coast. In Galveston, former State District Judge Susan Criss, a Democrat, is spending heavily, to the tune of about $400,000. She raised $212,000 and has $23,000 on hand. Her Republican opponent Wayne Faircloth raised $577,000 and has $142,000 in the bank. That race has featured some sharp television attack ads from both sides in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Another race considered highly competitive is the battle for Rep. Linda Harper Brown’s district up in Irving and Grand Prairie. She lost to Rodney Anderson in the GOP primary. Anderson reported raising $144,000 and has $82,000 on hand. Susan Motley, his Democratic opponent who’s getting lots of help from Battleground Texas, has $50,000 on hand after raising $112,000.

Speaking of the mighty Metroplex, it is home to several of these House races we’re tracking closely.

By Scott Braddock

October 28, 2014      5:31 PM

In Texas Energy Report: RRC addresses quakes by adopting disposal well changes

‘I think this is still a work in progress,’ says Porter

The Texas Railroad Commission unanimously adopted changes to disposal well rules Tuesday morning designed to prevent induced earthquakes when injecting saltwater and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) wastewater underground.

The changes come nearly a year after more than 25 small earthquakes rattled residents in the North Texas towns of Reno and Azle, starting in November 2013. The quakes continued for a few months before townspeople, who complained of sleep interruption and home foundation damages, stopped feeling the ground shake.  

Commissioner David Porter, who has pushed the hardest at the commission for tougher disposal well rules, praised the new changes but predicted more to come as science surrounding oil and gas related earthquakes improves.

“I think it was a great example of moving with all deliberate haste. I think we did it as fast as we could do it and still do it correctly. It was roughly a year ago, when the activity in Azle started coming to my attention,” he said noting an “enjoyable evening” at an Azle townhall meeting last January where he encountered hostile residents.  

The rest of this story can be found in Texas Energy Report.   

By Polly Ross Hughes

October 28, 2014      5:17 PM

Homophobic mailer roils Tarrant Senate race

Anonymous group attacks the Democrat while the Republican warns the Ethics Commission not to crack down on anonymous campaign spending

During Quorum Report’s trip to the Metroplex on Monday, people in Sen. Wendy Davis’ district, which is now up for grabs, were starting to chatter about a mailer that takes aim at Democratic candidate Libby Willis by using images of shirtless, oiled up men and asks if that is Willis’ “vision for Texas.” The flip side of the mailer says Willis, who’s running against Tea Party firebrand Konni Burton in a hot contest, is endorsed by “Texas' radical homosexual lobby.”

The mailer is not from the Burton campaign. The group that sent it to homes in Tarrant County is perhaps only slightly more mysterious than the “radical homosexual lobby” in Texas. Per The Dallas Voice, which also has pictures of the mailer:

"...a group under the name “National Family Coalition” has sent a homophobic mailer blasting Libby Willis, the Democratic opponent candidate for state Senate 10, for having the backing for the Equality Texas PAC. The only information found about the National Family Coalition is where it was registered."

Now, it’s nothing new at all for vicious attacks to show up in mail boxes during the final days of a close race. But the backdrop for this, including Burton’s stance on regulation of so-called “dark money,” is of note.

Though the mailer came from a third-party group, Willis' campaign said it was dishonest for Burton not to own its message because she's one of the conservative Senate nominees who signed a letter telling the Texas Ethics Commission not to adopt a new rule requiring greater disclosure in campaigns. Burton and others argue the agency would be overstepping its constitutional authority by adopting a proposed rule on this.

The agency could approve it on Wednesday.

By Scott Braddock

October 28, 2014      5:11 PM

Despite media hype, counties express confidence in handling Ebola outbreak

As another infected Dallas nurse is released today, state appears to be on better footing for deadly disease

Hysteria in the media over recent Ebola cases was simply not reflected in a Texas House committee determined to gauge local response to the deadly virus. State response to potential Ebola virus patients crosses a number of committee charges, from county affairs to public health to emergency management. Last week, Chairman Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, called a meeting of County Affairs to assess the preparedness of counties, which are among the first responders in just about any public health crisis.

“Counties are on the front line of these things, from what I’ve experienced,” Coleman said. “So while I’m here, I want to know how we deal with Ebola, as well as the diseases and illnesses we have yet to encounter.”

Houston officials were fairly comfortable with preparedness for a potential Ebola outbreak. Dr. Umair Shah, director of the Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services program, said any outbreak would be handled from the county’s TranStar center, which is equipped to handle both congestion management and emergency operations in the instance of flood, hurricane or terrorist attack.

In an emergency, County Judge Ed Emmett is designated to pull the trigger on a task force response, mobilizing a network of 34 cities, 125 law enforcement organizations, 54 fire departments and 60 hospitals across Harris County, Shah said.

Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, who chairs the Public Health Committee, noted her concerns for the rural areas of the state, where isolation units might not be available for a patient exhibiting Ebola symptoms.  She noted that four isolation beds planned for UTMB in Galveston were weeks away. Only two-dozen beds for infectious disease currently are available in the state.

By Kimberly Reeves

October 28, 2014      5:09 PM

Bearse: Festivus for the Rest of us

From the Right: Quorum Report’s conservative columnist argues that Democrats are resorting to fear in the closing days of the campaign

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the politics of grievance coming from Democrats. They live in a constant state of Festivus, airing a laundry list of grievances and identity attacks as if they have nothing else to talk about.

A Democrat in Congress calls North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis, “Uncle Thom.” The Democrat running against South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said, “we are going to escort whore out the door.” DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said about the governor of Wisconsin, “Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand. I know that is stark. I know that is direct. But that is reality…What Republican tea party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back.” Apparently not satisfied with assailing Republicans with images of domestic violence, DWS invoked ebola and terrorism to describe her friends on the other side of the aisle, saying, “So, it seems that the Democrats’ overall message is yes, ISIS is scary. Yes, Ebola is scary, but Republicans are a lot scarier.”

The heck with Ebola tents, let’s quarantine America from Republicans!

This is a tried and true technique of Democrats to rile up the base. They thrive off resentment. Even their loftier sentiments cloaked in fairness have an unspoken message: that you are entitled to better, and would be better off if the boogiemen oppressing you were made to heel. If only we took more from those who are financially successful we could make the world a better place. Not every Democrat speaks against the “evils” of capitalism, but every time someone does they are a Democrat. It’s about the only time they think Darwinian theory is not gospel.

To live in a state of grievance, you have to believe you are not responsible for your own fate, for your own happiness, for your own family. That is the responsibility of government, which rights social wrongs and redistributes to favored constituencies.

The Democratically-contrived “war on women” stokes the fires of gender resentment. This is how Senator Leticia Van de Putte can run an ad misleading all of Texas on the premise that Senator Dan Patrick thinks there are legitimate differences about rape, without nary a protest of outrage from the sleeping supplicants in the press. Patrick’s statement was really about whether abortion should be legal in the case of rape, but those are silly nuances for those playing the gender card. It is the most disgusting, disingenuous ad of the election cycle, which is saying a lot if you have been victimized by Wendy Davis’ ads.  

The complete column from Eric Bearse can be found by clicking on the R&D Department.

By Eric Bearse

October 28, 2014      5:05 PM

Press Releases: Appointments, drilling rules and one week of campaign attacks left to go!

October 28, 2014      3:34 PM

Tarrant Senate Race: Willis raised $1.07 million and has $92,000 cash on hand, Konni Burton raised $1.5 million and has $214,000 in the bank

October 28, 2014      1:23 PM

Van de Putte edges out Patrick in fundraising this reporting period

Democratic Lite Guv nominee Leticia Van de Putte raised $2.09 million in the last month to Republican Dan Patrick's $2.05 million; Patrick has cash on hand advantage with $2.8 million to Van de Putte's $1.8 million

October 28, 2014      10:11 AM

District judge dismisses emergency motion to release documents in Paxton felony complaint

Will privacy defense be left to Paxton's own office, if elected?

Paperwork around Attorney General candidate Ken Paxton’s violation of the Texas Securities Act will not be released before the upcoming November election, a district judge in Travis County decided last week.  

The Texas Coalition on Lawyer Accountability, which also pursued complaints against former Williamson County district attorneys John Bradley and Ken Anderson in the false conviction of Michael Morton, sued the Texas State Securities Board for an emergency release of paperwork around Paxton’s admissions. Paxton acknowledged under oath to the board he had committed a number of violations to the securities act by failing to disclose he was a paid investment adviser for his former business partner.

This would be a separate action from the Texans for Public Justice’s efforts to get Paxton’s actions investigated by the Travis County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit. District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg announced the complaint would not be investigated so close to election time, as was custom with the office.

By Kimberly Reeves

October 28, 2014      9:14 AM

Sen. Davis reports $6.1 million raised, $1.6 million cash on hand

The cash on hand figure is after the final TV ad buy

October 28, 2014      8:06 AM

Konni Burton goes negative in latest TV ad

In another sign the Senate race in Fort Worth is quite competitive, Republican Burton blasts Democrat Libby Willis in new ad: "She even took a half-million dollars from liberal personal injury trial lawyers..."

October 27, 2014      5:45 PM

Texas House race in Arlington puts some longtime Republicans in a tough spot

Some Republicans are taking heat for supporting Democrat Cole Ballweg over Republican Tony Tinderholt; “He’s a Democrat we can reason with."

ARLINGTON – There are very few truly competitive Texas House races, as we’ve been telling you, but one stands out for another reason: It’s a contest in which we’ve heard repeatedly from Republicans their party’s nominee is too far out of the mainstream to be taken seriously. This is notably happening in the race to succeed Rep. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington. But whether that sentiment is prevalent enough to change the outcome in a reliably GOP district remains to be seen.

Democrat Cole Ballweg hopes voters in House District 94 south of Cowboys Stadium will “reject extremism” and choose him over the Republican who bested Rep. Patrick in the GOP primary, Tony Tinderholt.

Tinderholt, a combat veteran married to a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, has gained national attention for some of his comments on border security. “People are going to die” to protect the border from people “with plans to do horrible disgusting things to American citizens,” Tinderholt has said. “We gotta put our military at the border and stop this crap from happening now,” he said. “But we can’t have our military men and women standing at the border with their weapons hugging drug cartels coming across, because they don’t like hugs. They use chain saws, we use guns.”

The GOP nominee has also made enemies of some Republican Arlington City Council members by shouting at them about the Second Amendment. Tinderholt supports the activities of a group called Open Carry Tarrant County. Those are the protesters who carry their long guns into fast food restaurants and other establishments. Even some Dallas Tea Party leaders have questioned those tactics.

Councilmen Charlie Parker and Jimmy Bennett, both lifelong Republicans, recently signed a letter endorsing Ballweg over Tinderholt in which they said their party’s nominee "is an extremist who, besides advocating for violence at the border and the invasion of Mexico, recently ranted and raved in front of our City Council in support of the rifle-toting, irresponsible group that advocates for the open carry of firearms by scaring people and harassing our police.”

Parker told Quorum Report on Monday that he’s taken some heat for signing that letter “because I’m a Republican, too.” Parker didn’t let that criticism or the fact that he just had surgery Monday morning keep him from speaking out about this in the afternoon.

By Scott Braddock

October 27, 2014      5:44 PM

Press Releases: Endorsements, appointments, and more Ebola news

October 27, 2014      5:06 PM

Davis Campaign upbeat over early voting

Drop off in white vote; increase in minority participation unusual in mid-term early vote

Amidst a flurry of bad poll numbers and buried under four times as many TV spots from the other side, the Davis Campaign is expressing some guarded optimism off of early vote numbers.

The conventional press has characterized the big drop off in people actually showing up at the polls in the first five days of early voting compared to the last mid-term election in 2010 as a good omen for Republicans.

Not so say the Democrats.  Davis’ folks have a very different take on the numbers.  In what has been a historically strong period for Republicans in early voting because of the truncated hours (8-5), the Davis team counters that 4% more African American voters have participated than in 2010 and 12% more Hispanic voters.

By Harvey Kronberg

October 27, 2014      2:31 PM

Abbott cash on hand--$13.3M, $4.2M raised in last report period.

$45M raised during election cycle

October 24, 2014      5:04 PM

Press releases: Endorsements, castigations and more Cruz

October 24, 2014      12:06 PM

Stanford: We reached Peak Gohmert

From the Left: QR’s liberal columnist Jason Stanford argues, among other things, that the Ebola scare has helped produce an epidemic of fear and ignorance

I wasn’t in favor of shutting off travel to Ebola countries until Rwanda and Tanzania started screening travelers from Texas. You never know what kind of crazy viruses could spread. The last thing developing nations need is an epidemic of Yee Haw conservatism from the likes of Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert.

People have gone a little nuts in Texas over Ebola, even though more people have played quarterback for the Washington Redskins this year than have died from Ebola in the United States. Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas refused to admit a Nigerian student over Ebola worries even though there is no Ebola in Nigeria, which is more than Texas could say. If this is an epidemic, it’s one of fear, and it presents as an aggressive strain of stupidity.

And when it comes to dumb in Texas, Louie Gohmert is Patient Zero.

The Texas congressman sounded the alarm that “undocumented Democrats”—AKA, Central American refugees—were bringing Ebola across the border. His reasoning is that President Obama wants all these refugees to come, so a bunch of terrorists are going to sneak in with them, and they had Ebola. Because Obama.

“And, gee, since they’re coming across our border, and you know, they don’t get checked, and most of them don’t get really thoroughly checked, they could be coming in with disease that we simply do not need,” Gohmert said. “It’s silly not to be more careful.”

Well, he’s not completely wrong about it being silly.

Jason Stanford’s complete column can be found by clicking on the R&D Department.

By Jason Stanford

October 23, 2014      5:45 PM

Straus says the business of the House won’t be limited by report cards

In speech to TTARA, Speaker talks about economic incentives and takes a broader view of fiscal discipline

To a standing ovation at the Sheraton near the Texas Capitol, House Speaker Joe Straus spoke briefly on Thursday about the need to take a comprehensive look at reforming the state’s controversial economic incentive programs and he took a not-so-subtle swipe at some of his loudest critics.

Straus told members of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, or TTARA, that they’re one of the groups that’s consistent without being ideological and he appreciates their respect for the process and The Legislature itself. The group is so even-handed, he joked, that it “doesn't really have any place in Texas politics.”

"I've been speaker in good economic times and not-so-good economic times,' Straus said, adding that the unpredictable nature of economic conditions is precisely why lawmakers must take a strategic and conservative approach to how taxpayer dollars are allocated. While Straus remains confident that the private sector here will continue to roar for quite some time, it would naive at best and irresponsible at worst to assume the state’s explosive growth will never slow down. Planning for that requires, among other things, “setting priorities that encourage private sector activity over the long term," Straus said.

Straus said even though the heat of the campaign season may have completely dominated much of the conversation surrounding the Legislature as of late, members of the House have been rolling up their sleeves and getting a lot of work done during the interim. He mentioned the fact that just this month, 21 hearings have already been held by various committees examining everything from the budget to workforce needs of employers and protection of children.

By Scott Braddock

October 23, 2014      4:42 PM

Press Releases Endorsements, appointments, campaign advertisements, medical marijuana and more

October 23, 2014      3:38 PM

TEC Chairman invites conservative Senate nominees to testify about dark money

Seeks to clear up any confusion about the commission’s proposed rule on disclosure

The chairman of the Texas Ethics Commission is inviting conservative Texas Senate nominees to testify before the commission in relation to their assertion that the agency is potentially going to overstep its authority when it comes to disclosure of donors to certain groups that engage in political activity.

A group of Republican nominees for the Texas Senate led by Bob Hall earlier this month said they believe the commission’s proposed rule on dark money groups seeks to overturn Governor Perry’s veto of a dark money bill last session. In a letter signed by Hall, Konni Burton, Paul Bettencourt, and others, the group argued that the “legislative process played itself out” on a bill that would have required nonprofits organized under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code to publicly disclose contributors who give more than $1,000 to any dark money group makes more than $25,000 in political expenditures.

Here’s their letter.

In a letter dated Wednesday and obtained by Quorum Report on Thursday, TEC Chairman Jim Clancy said he and other commissioners are in no way trying to overrule the legislative process. "The Commission has limited enforcement and rule making authority,” Clancy wrote and added that the commission can merely enforce the laws “as written and must use common sense.”