The Travis County Public Integrity Unit just issued a statement on 3.14.11 (posted further on down the page) that clears Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) member, Thomas Ratliff, of conflict of interest allegations. Supported by liberal organizations and the liberal news media, Ratliff thinks he has circumvented the Rule of Law. However, he is wrong.
The chair of the SBOE, Gail Lowe, at the request of Texas citizen, Pat Carlson of Texas Eagle Forum, sent a letter to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on 3.2.11 asking him to clarify the conflict of interest problem that Ratliff has since he is a millionaire lobbyist who has had long-standing business dealings with Microsoft and at least two Institutional Private Equity Money Management firms that do business with the Texas State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency.
Travis County D. A.’s Office and Rep. Christian’s H. B. 3482
The Travis County D. A.’s office is considered to be one of the most partisan and leftwing Democrat courts in the country. It was they who have viciously tried to destroy conservative Republicans such as Tom Delay and various conservative members on the SBOE.
It was also the Travis County D. A’s office to whom Rep. Leo Berman, conservative Republican, turned in Nov. 2010 to file his two ethics complaints against Rep. Joe Straus for giving large chunks of money ($50,000, $75,000, $100,000) directly to House members and candidates in order to gain their pledge for him as Speaker. This is against the law as found in Section 302.0191(1) of the Texas Election Code.
Even though the Travis County D. A.’s office told Rep. Berman that it had assigned its top investigator to this complaint, nothing was ever done.
Rep. Wayne Christian’s bill (filed on 3.11.11) would strip the Travis County D. A.’s office of its powers by defunding it; and in its place would create and fund a new statewide, elected court and District Attorney who would investigate, prosecute, and hear cases involving elected government officials.
For years, the heavily Democrat Travis County has elected Democrat D. A.’s who then have had authority over all state government agencies. H. B. 3482 would allow all voters in Texas to elect the Judge and the D. A.
THOMAS RATLIFF’S “WARTS”
Below are various documents that will help to clarify the conflict of interest problems that Thomas Ratliff has. It is vitally important that he be removed from the SBOE because there is no way that he could ever recuse himself from the many close business relationships he has cultivated over the years. Even if he recused himself on certain votes during an SBOE meeting, the public could never trust him to keep confidences from his “lobbying buddies” outside the meetings.
Ratliff tried his best to pressure the SBOB to turn the conflict of interest issue over to the Travis County District Attorney’s office; but to Ratliff’s chagrin, the majority of the SBOE members voted to ask for an official legal opinion from the Texas Attorney General — not the Travis County D. A.
As I stated in one of my articles, when Ratliff heard at the January SBOE meeting that the AG’s office was going to be asked by the SBOE to weigh in on the issue, the ever-dapper and confident Ratliff slapped the microphone away in a fit of rage.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is to come out with his legal decision within six months.
TWO IMPORTANT ACTION STEPS
1. If you believe in the Rule of Law, please write Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott because he is accepting public comments on the issue of Thomas Ratliff and his long-standing lobbying activities with clients who do business with the SBOE and the Texas Education Agency. In this e-mail, I have supplied you with credible information that you use in your letters. Please make sure you reference these case numbers: File #ML4667511, I. D. # 46675.
Here is SBOE Chair Gail Lowe’s letter to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott:
2. Please contact your Texas House members and ask them to vote for Rep. Wayne Christian’s H. B. 3482 which would strip the Travis County D. A.’s office of its broad authority over all governmental agencies.