Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made Ethics reform a centerpiece of the legislative session. He wanted measures “requiring elected officials to disclose contracts they have with public entities, prohibiting lawmakers from voting on legislation from which they could profit, and more disclosure of campaign finance information.”

State Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano) and his colleagues unanimously delivered on that goal with Senate Bill 19. Once it got to the Texas House, the Straus coalition — led by State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corscicana) — took the measure and turned it into an attack on citizens’ First Amendment rights.

It was so bad, a majority of the Texas House GOP rightfully voted against Cook’s version, meaning it passed with Democrats and the anti-citizen caucus of Republicans.

In his State of the State Address, Gov. Abbott said rejection of his ethics proposals would “rightfully raise suspicions about who we truly serve – ourselves, or the people of Texas.”

And that’s what happened last night when Cook told a sycophant press corps he was sending the measure to the “graveyard” because the senate wouldn’t let him wage his “pernicious” attack citizens’ rights and regulate away the First Amendment. (More on that here and here and here.)

So, to pose the question Gov. Abbott suggested, whose interests are being served by Byron Cook? Certainly not the people of Texas.

Sen. Taylor described Cook’s rejection of SB 19 as “an embarrassing failure of leadership” by the Texas House.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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