Thomas Ratliff — Big Bucks from Microsoft – Lobbied for SB 6 and CSCOPE

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“Thomas Ratliff – Big Bucks from Microsoft – Lobbied for SB 6 and CSCOPE”
by Donna Garner
8.19.13

According to the Texas Ethics Commission (please see links below), Thomas Ratliff, Texas State Board of Education member, has been a registered lobbyist for Microsoft since at least 1998 . This was long before he decided to run for the SBOE in 2009. In other words, Ratliff was an established lobbyist with years of networking with Microsoft and other technology vendors before he got elected to the SBOE; and he knew perfectly well when he first ran for the SBOE that Microsoft does millions of dollars worth of business with the Texas Education Agency and the Texas State Board of Education.

Please notice that Thomas Ratliff’s fees from Microsoft jumped considerably in the Texas Ethics Commission report for 2011. What happened that year?

On 6.28.11, SB 6 – was passed by the Texas Legislature —http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=821&Bill=SB6 .

During 2011, Thomas Ratliff lobbied the Texas Legislature heavily to get SB 6 passed while at the same time he was on the SBOE committee that handled the Permanent School Fund (PSF); he is still on that committee. Ratliff pushed SB 6 through the Legislature knowing that if Microsoft were to receive big contracts, then he would be the recipient of their largesse because under SB 6, local school administrators could purchase online instructional materials (e.g., CSCOPE) with PSF taxpayer dollars without those IM’s having to go through the public scrutiny of the SBOE.

Thomas Ratliff knew that Microsoft would make millions from such online IM’s as CSCOPE because school districts would spend the taxpayers’ dollars under SB 6 to purchase Microsoft systems as the technology platform for CSCOPE.

Ironically, when the SBOE Curriculum Committee decided to have a public forum to discuss CSCOPE in November 2012, Thomas Ratliff did not even attend the 4 ½ hours of public testimony. Almost immediately, however, Ratliff became a loud-mouthed advocate for CSCOPE even though he admitted he did not even have a password to see the CSCOPE lessons. In fact, is Ratliff personally familiar with the CSCOPE lessons even now? I doubt it.

DEBATE THIS SATURDAY – SEN. DAN PATRICK VS. THOMAS RATLIFF

Sen. Dan Patrick is to debate Thomas Ratliff this coming Saturday, Aug. 24, at 6:30 P. M. at the U. of Tyler. OnPointBroadcasting.com will have a live feed for people who cannot attend the debate in person.

Sen. Patrick has spent countless hours delving into CSCOPE and the flawed corporate structure of TESCCC that owns CSCOPE. It was Sen. Patrick who conducted an in-depth investigation of CSCOPE/TESCCC in Jan. 2013 in a public hearing in front of the Senate Education Committee.

It will be interesting to see how Thomas Ratliff fares in a setting where he will be up against Sen. Dan Patrick who is an experienced debater and a knowledgeable source on CSCOPE. I look forward to seeing Ratliff forced to reveal his ignorance about CSCOPE and the content of the lessons.

Please sign the petition to pressure the Texas House to impeach Ratliff because of the conflict of interests he has as a high-paid lobbyist for Microsoft while being a member of the SBOE – www.impeachratliff.com .

TEXAS ETHICS COMMISSION – RATLIFF’S DECLARED FEES FROM MICROSOFT

2013 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2013d.htm — Microsoft — $25,000 — $49,999.99

2012 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2012d.htm — Microsoft — $25,000 — $49,999.99
2011 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2011d.htm — Microsoft — $50,000 — $99,999.99
2010 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2010d.htm — Microsoft — $25,000 — $49,999.99
2009 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2009d.htm — Microsoft — $25,000 — $49,999.99
2008 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2008d.htm — Microsoft — $25,000 — $49,999.99
2007 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2007d.htm — Microsoft — $25,000 — $49,999.99
2006 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2006d.htm — Microsoft — $25,000 — $49,999.99
2005 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2005d.htm — Microsoft — $25,000 — $49,999.99
2004 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2004d.htm — Microsoft — $25,000 — $49,999.99
2003 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2003d.htm — Microsoft — $25,000 — $49,999.99
2002 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2002d.htm — Microsoft — $25,000 — $49,999.99
2001 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2001d.htm — Microsoft — $25,000 — $49,999.99
2000 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2000d.htm — Microsoft — $25,000 — $49,999.99
1999 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon9d.htm — Microsoft, $29,000 — $49,999.99
1998 — http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon8d.htm — Microsoft, $29,000 – $49,999.99

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