A new group has surfaced in Texas, and it seems to be spreading some misinformation about the Texas Legislature. Specifically, it’s trying to make Straus-affiliated, politically insecure Republicans sound more conservative than they are.
Some Texans are receiving phone calls from a group called the “Conservative Foundation of Texas” claiming that House Bill 11 passed the Texas Legislature and that the bill will “secure the border.” Interestingly, the calls are going into districts of legislators who supported the re-election of liberal House Speaker Joe Straus.
The Conservative Foundation of Texas appears to have been registered last year in Angleton, by personal injury trial lawyer Justin R. Gilbert in connection with Randy Cubriel, a political operative, attorney, and lobbyist from Austin.
The author of HB 11 is Angleton Republican Dennis Bonnen, a Straus lieutenant.
Unfortunately for Gilbert and Cubriel, the bill doesn’t “secure the border” as they claim. How do we know? Bonnen himself told lawmakers as much when he was defending the bill on the floor last week.
Under questioning from State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R–Bedford), Bonnen admitted his bill only tangentially related to crime in the border region. When Stickland asked whether it would be “disingenuous” to claim the bill was meant to “secure the border between Texas and Mexico,” Bonnen stated clearly: “This bill alone doesn’t accomplish that, frankly.”
“Mr. Stickland, let me be very clear with you. I told my constituents the truth and I haven’t told my constituents that we’re going to secure the border by doing this. … It is your mistake and your error if you tell your constituents that you can do what is the constitutional responsibility of the United States government and secure the border. We can’t. We cannot do that. … I cannot do what is the constitutional responsibility of the federal government. I cannot do that from Austin, Texas.”
Rather than create a real record of action, some lawmakers seem willing to spend an inordinate amount of time and energy creating a fake one. They are foolishly counting on their voters to be pleased with the trappings of process rather than the real policy success Texans expect.