Texas Education and Lobbyists

no-lobbyists

In a good move for Texas education, last week, a lobbyist exhibited respect for voters – and her father — by withdrawing her registration as a lobbyist.

Sarah Rumpf of Breitbart wrote:

The daughter of a Texas State Representative has withdrawn her registration as a lobbyist, after an outcry over the potential for conflicts of interest between her work lobbying for education clients and her father’s role as chair of the House Public Education Committee. The announcement was made on a Friday afternoon, just two days after a Breitbart Texas article describing the conflict.

http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2015/01/30/texas-lobbyist-withdraws-registration-so-her-state-rep-dad-can-keep-committee-chair/

State Board of Education District 9 has not been afforded the same level of respect however. Their loitering lobbyist Thomas Ratliff hangs onto his seat with all his might. If his opposition dares to point out his ineligibility, Ratliff quickly sets out to publicly chastise the person via twitter or Texas Tribune comments or files a frivolous complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission.

Thomas Ratliff, a registered lobbyist with the Texas Ethics Commission since 1998, represents the following counties in SBOE District 9: Anderson, Angelina, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Grayson, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Hunt, Kaufman, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rains, Red River, Rockwall, Rusk, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Upshur, Van Zandt, and Wood.

Pursuant to Sec. 7.103. Eligibility for Membership of the State Board of Education, Thomas Ratliff is clearly ineligible. Sec. 7.103 reads as follows:

(c) A person who is required to register as a lobbyist under Chapter 305, Government Code, by virtue of the person’s activities for compensation in or on behalf of a profession, business, or association related to the operation of the board, may not serve as a member of the board or act as the general counsel to the board.

Even former Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, in his opinion of August 12, 2011, found Thomas Ratliff to be ineligible to sit on the State Board of Education. BUT – regrettably for District 9 – loitering lobbyist Thomas Ratliff continues to discount the rules, District 9 voters, and continues to pad Bill and Melinda Gates coffers through voting in favor for Microsoft products as a SBOE member.

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