A West Texas state senator with a track record of hostility towards the First Amendment is asking the governor to appoint either an education bureaucrat or a former Washington D.C. staffer to the Texas Ethics Commission.

In 2013, State Sen. Kel Seliger (R–Amarillo) rammed through Senate Bill 346, a bill that would have unconstitutionally required conservative non-profit organizations, including churches, to disclose the privacy of their donors to the state while excepting left-leaning labor unions. After the bill was vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry, the TEC commissioners picked up where Seliger left off and have worked to implement Seliger’s unconstitutional policy through administrative fiat.

Now Seliger is pushing Gov. Greg Abbott to fill a vacancy on the TEC with establishment bureaucrats.

Seliger is recommending Amarillo attorney Ed Dowdy and Midland attorney Leah Robertson. After working in the Texas Senate during law school, Dowdy moved to Washington D.C. to work as a congressional staffer before returning to private practice in Texas. Robertson formerly worked in the Midland County District Attorney’s Office and is now employed as the School Attorney for Midland Independent School District.

They would replace Bob Long of Bastrop on the commission. Long is one of the TEC commissioners who continues to serve on the Commission despite having an expired term.

Given their background, and particularly their connection to Seliger, Dowdy and Robertson do not inspire confidence.

Texas’ leading conservative grassroots organizations have called on Abbott to replace long with someone who will defend the U.S. and Texas constitutions. A good appointment to replace Long will be a critical step towards reforming an agency that has gone rogue and become abusive of the fundamental liberties of Texans.

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.

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