We knew that State Representative Jim Keffer would do anything to prevent voters from learning about his legislative record. However, even we could not anticipate how low he would go.

Two weeks ago we told you about how Keffer’s campaign was threatening local cable companies with lawsuits if they ran a factual ad critical of his record. But now his campaign is attempting to use a law designed to protect teens from cyber-bullying in order to get a website about his record taken down.

On January 23rd, Keffer’s Chief of Staff, Ky Ash, contacted the domain host for www.repjimkeffer.com and demanded that the site be taken down, alleging that the host was in “clear violation of Chapter 33.07, Texas Penal Code.” The site is a page paid for by Empower Texans entitled “State Representative Jim Keffer’s record” which hosts legislative scores and key votes taken by Keffer during the 83rd Texas Legislature.

The law Keffer cites was passed in 2009 and makes it unlawful for a person to post a fake social networking page for purposes of harassing another person. Many states passed laws to address the issue of cyber-bullying after the suicide of Megan Meier became national news. Meier committed suicide after months of harassment at the hands of Lori Drew, a mother of one of her schoolmates. Drew created a fake profile and pretended to be a young boy in order to torment Meier.

The law Keffer attempted to use against the web hosts and Empower Texans is a third degree felony. Violation of the law could result in serious jail time. Fortunately, the law has no application to political websites whatsoever.

It is shocking that a powerful government official like Jim Keffer would attempt to use a law designed to protect teens from bullying in order to bully his political critics into silence. What’s more, it is shocking that Keffer seeks to charge his critics with a felony just for their comments. But it has become clear that Keffer will do anything and use any weapon at his disposal to keep voters in his district from knowing the truth about his legislative record.

Keffer faces a competitive primary challenge from Republican Cullen Crisp of Granbury.

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.