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Texas' "Lobbyist-Consultant" Problem


by: Ben Sherman

Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 01:30 PM CST


A new Texans for Public Justice report exposes even more cronyism in our state government. Many Republican political consultants are paid by political campaigns, PACs, and corporations all at the same time, creating a massive conflict of interest which benefits their clients, not Texans.

This year, the Legislature passed a law requiring lobbyists to to disclose clients paying them with PAC or campaign funds. While a general step in the right direction, the law has no teeth and sets out no boundaries to limit political-corporate collusion. Since the law passed, ten lobbyists have come forward and revealed their political donors -- very strange, when you think about the role of a lobbyist. The alleged task of these lobbyists on the campaigns is, of course, "communications".

Read more below the jump.

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Several campaigns retained multiple lobbyists. Rick Perry, David Dewhurst, and Attorney General candidate Dan Branch are among these. These Republican politicians are already familiar with the consultants (lobbyists) they're hiring: for example, at one lobbyist-consultancy firm named Delisi Communications, Rick Perry's former chief of staff Deirde Delisi has joined her brother Ted as the foremost double agents of political lobbying in Texas. Three of Delisi Communications' lobbyists (TPJ calls them the "Delisi Threesi") are at the top of this unsavory exchange of favors.

Think about the draw that lobbyists have when they can say that not only do they know the politicians they're trying to influence, but they are on those politicians' campaigns. And then think about the draw they have on campaigns who have worked previously with the "consultants".

That means one big rake, and one big pile of cash for corporations across the state. Eight clients of Delisi Communications, the perfect example for this practice, have received big state contracts. These include ConnectEDU, CHRISTUS Health, and Lone Star Transmission. One business client, Acadian Companies, doesn't get state contracts but many different counties' ambulance contracts.

Another lobbyist-consultant, Gardner Pate, is on Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman's campaign and also represents Gulf States Toyota. That's the company which led the effort to deny Tesla the ability to sell directly to customers in Texas, with the great help of the Railroad Commissioner's unwillingness to step up for Tesla. Hmm. Could there possibly be a connection?

Unfortunately, Texas government is so spotted with conflicts of interest that they sometimes feel like the accepted modus operandi. TPJ's report does a great service to Texans by shedding a lot of light on this particularly pernicious, money-soaked component of Texas politics.



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Tesla claim (0.00 / 0)
Do you have a link to the allegation that Barry Smitherman helped try to block Tesla?  That's news to me.

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