Travis DA: No Problem with Ratliff on SBOE

Far-right members of the Texas State Board of Education are steamed that Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, defeated their ally Don McLeroy, R-College Station, in the March Republican primary last year. Since at least last November, they have been insisting that Ratliff’s status as a registered lobbyist makes him ineligible to serve on the board under state law. Things got particularly nasty at the January board meeting, with far-right members like Terri Leo, R-Spring, openly criticizing Ratliff’s presence on the board as a violation of the law. Far-right pressure groups joined in, with one asking the state’s attorney general to investigate.

Ratliff replied by requesting that board chairwoman Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas, ask for a formal opinion on the matter from state Attorney General Greg Abbott. He also asked the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office to look into the matter. Abbott has yet to issue his opinion, but the Travis County DA’s office just did.

In a letter released today, Susan H. Oswalt of the Public Integrity Unit explains that her office has reviewed the relevant statute, examined all of the available evidence and discussed the matter with the chairs of the House and Senate education committees. She also points out that Ratliff has disclosed his clients, amended his contracts to make clear that he will not represent them before the state board and has recused himself from voting on measures that might give even the appearance of a conflict of interest for him. In her letter, Oswalt writes that she found nothing wrong:

“Based upon all the above facts, we have determined that it does not appear that any crime has been committed over which our office would have jurisdiction and venue. We are formally closing our review of this matter with no further action to be taken by this office.”

Oswalt also notes that Ratliff isn’t the first lobbyist to serve on the board anyway. But the state board’s far-right members will almost certainly continue to complain about Ratliff’s presence on the board — at least until Abbott issues his formal opinion. In fact, considering their past contempt for opinions from the AG’s office, we expect they’ll keep complaining regardless. For them, the State Board of Education is all about playing politics, not educating Texas kids.

Here’s the letter from Oswalt.

10 thoughts on “Travis DA: No Problem with Ratliff on SBOE

  1. This is a positive sign that Republicans of integrity may be starting to assert themselves in response to the hooey. It’s something we need nationwide.

  2. “Dear Madam Chairwoman.”

    I can’t stop laughing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is that what you call the girl with the cake at a birthday party for 3-year-olds? Frankly, I don’t see much difference between the birthday party attendees and a Texas SBOE meeting. I’m just glad TFN goes in to chaperone the thing.

  3. Terri “I’m Right and you’re not” Leo dismissed the letter from left-wing, liberal, communist pinko, long-haired hippie Oswalt as merely an “opinion” that didn’t address the real problem, i.e. McLeroy lost a free election.

    Leo was overheard in the hallway to say, “Tis but a flesh wound! Come on, you cowards, attack me! I’ll bite your ankles! And, bring your birth certificate while you’re at it.”

  4. At least we can be happy we’re not in Michigan where the new Republicant governor has decided that he and he alone can determine whether a city or town is in a financial disaster and TAKE OVER THE TOWN, FIRE ELECTED OFFICIALS and have a governor elected CORPORATION revoke the city/towns incorporation. Will the SBOE be next?

  5. Beverly, is that not the kookiest thing you’ve ever heard?
    I anticipate a constitutional smackdown on that one.
    What this is is an indication of the idea that these fascists think they have this one chance to “take back their country” (from the people), and they’re going to try everything.

  6. David, re: Beverly Kurtin; I think you’re exactly right, and just as the religious right CANNOT stop trying to impose their beliefs on all of us, the wingnuts are going for broke-swingin’ for the fences-whatever you wanna call it, because they know that this is their best chance at cutting off the roots of Democrat’s support systems. Union’s money-influence erased; elected officials over-ruled by corporate-led lobbyists; college students’ rights to voting cancelled; and all of it wrapped up in plans that are certain to continue the economic malaise we suffer with now, just so they can use that as yet another weapon against the middle/lower classes.

    Anyone denying that we’re in a class-war are simply ignoring every sign of it from the right and those “Democrats” that love their power/money/status much more than their integrity.

  7. That should be: just so they can use that as yet another weapon against the middle/lower classes by tying Obama’s re-election to the craptastic economy.

  8. Remember the prophecy. God is just setting these idiots on the tee out at the golf course. Next comes—–THE DRIVER. And the One swinging it laid the foundations of the universe—strong guy—whoo!!!!!!! When the dust clears, not much will be left right—wing that is.

    Yes, I could be delusional—but let’s wait it out and see.