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AUSTIN, Texas [Empower Texans PAC] — A member of the Texas House is trying to stop voters from learning about his record in the state legislature. State Rep. Jim Keffer of Eastland this week demanded that local cable companies cancel an advertisement giving voters the uncomfortable truth about his legislative record or face possible litigation.
“Apparently Jim Keffer wants to hide the truth about his legislative record from the the voters in House District 60,” said Michael Quinn Sullivan, the president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and treasurer of the Empower Texans PAC. The PAC paid for the television ad. “Or, more likely, he is scared about what they will do when they find out just how badly he has been misrepresenting them in recent years.”
Keffer’s campaign sent a letter to cable companies in HD60 threatening legal action against them if they did not remove the ad. Keffer’s campaign claims that the Empower Texans PAC advertisement contains “FALSE content” [emphasis theirs] and demanded it be pulled from their rotation.
A copy of the Keffer campaign’s letter has can be found online at: https://bit.ly/1iuzyaq
Keffer’s attorneys incongruously reference the lobby efforts of another cable company in their letter to CableTime USA. “Time Warner lobbied for legislation in the Texas budget which is cited in this ad and therefore is a knowledgable [sic] party to [sic] FALSE nature of this ad’s content.”
The ad can be watched below, or viewed online at YouTube.com.
The script of the ad reads:
“Can we trust Jim Keffer? He ran as a conservative, but today, he’s ranked as one of the most liberal Republicans in the Texas House. Last year, Keffer voted to increase government spending by 26 percent. He even voted to give special privileges to liberal labor unions who supported Obama. Then, to reward himself, Keffer voted to increase his own pension by 12 percent. Jim Keffer—It seems like he’s become just another politician looking out for himself.”
During the ad, each statement includes on-screen source citations ranging from floor votes with House Journal page numbers, to the Wall Street Journal and the Texas Tribune.
For example, Keffer’s campaign claimed “no such vote exists” giving special privileges to labor unions. However, Keffer is shown as voting against Amendments 1 and 2 to Senate Bill 346 on pages 3111 and 3112 if the House Journal. Those amendments were to strip the “union exemption” to new political reporting rules Keffer attempted to impose on conservative organizations. Both amendments were clearly discussed on the floor as removing a new special privilege for labor unions.
The legislation, creating a new law, exempted labor unions and Keffer voted to keep those special privileges. (He also then voted for SB346, containing the new special privilege carve-out for labor unions.)
Similarly, Keffer’s campaign told the cable giant that when voting to increase legislator pensions he “did NOT vote to reward ‘himself.’” In fact, Keffer essentially voted twice to do so. First, he voted to keep the legislator pensions tied to the pay of state district judges (SB1459, Amendment 2) and then voted for a state budget raising his pension (by way of raising judges’ salary) by 12 percent.
Laughably, Keffer’s campaign argued against the first point — about being ranked as one of the most liberal Republicans in the House – by noting old endorsements. The statement, though, cites a study by Rice University professor Mark Jones in an article on the Texas Tribune website listing Keffer as the 11th most liberal Republican of the 95 House GOP members.
Finally, Keffer’s campaign argued that the Wall Street Journal doesn’t know how to do math. It was the WSJ editorial board that reported “a 26 percent spending increase for the biennium” by the legislature.
In threatening frivolous litigation against cable companies for running factual advertisements referencing his legislative record, Sullivan said Keffer only proves the over-riding content of the message: “It seems like he’s become just another politician looking out for himself.”
“Jim Keffer likes to campaign as a conservative, and we wish he would legislate that way, but he doesn’t,” said Sullivan. “Sadly, he has been drinking from the water fountains in the Capitol for far too long and has become part of the establishment wallpaper working in direct contradiction to the values and principles on which he campaigns.”
The Keffer campaign lawyers are sending, literally, the same message to every cable company in the district in which they reference the recipient as if it were “Time Warner” cable — apparently not realizing that CableTime USA and SuddenLink aren’t the same company as Time Warner!