Updated: Was the Texas House Ethics Committee Meeting Illegal?

The Liberty Institute released a scathing press release claiming that the recent Texas House Ethics Committee meeting was illegal.  The meeting was about Speaker Joe Straus ally Rep. Larry Phillips threatening Rep. Bryan Hughes with being draw out of his seat if he did not support the incumbent speaker Joe Straus.

The Seat Bryan Hughes is Trying to Keep

The Liberty Institute says that the hearing was illegal since Hughes testified under oath and Phillips did not.  The Liberty Institute cites Texas Government Code, section 301.022,  which states that “All legislative committees shall require witnesses to give testimony under oath, subject to the penalties of perjury.”  The law further states, “The oath required by this section may be waived by any committee except a general investigating committee.”

Illegal or not it does not pass the smell test, and thats what matters in politics.  It begs the question why did Phillips not go under oath?  With all of the experienced staff and consultants that Straus and his team have this was an unusual mistake by them.

The full Liberty Institute press release can be found here.

Update: Eric Opiela former Republican Party of Texas Executive Director has responded to the Liberty Institute’s claims, through facebook of course.  Here is the relevant information per Eric.

Phillips was a member of the committee and was already sworn. Hughes wasn’t and needed to be. Much ado about nothing.

Since the Government Code requires that all testimony before the committee be sworn, the members were sworn at the beginning of session, and remained sworn at this hearing. Once one gives an oath to tell the truth, they have sworn to tell the truth. Period. Phillips recused himself from voting since he was the accused. He didn’t recuse himself from telling the truth.

Hughes was not a member of the committee, hence the need to be sworn.


6 responses to “Updated: Was the Texas House Ethics Committee Meeting Illegal?

  1. Independent Conservative Republican

    Shackelford needs to get his facts straight before putting out slanderous press releases. Phillips, as a member of the committee, was under oath. All members of the committee took the oath at the beginning of the session and remained under it. Hughes was required to take the oath since he had not previously done so as a member. Yet another shameful attempt to discredit the most ethical Republican speaker in Texas history, which only serves to discredit Shackelford and his special interest group.

  2. Independent Conservative Republican- If this is correct how come none of the committee members involved publicly corrected the numerous media reports saying otherwise? Would not put it past our main stream media misreporting a story though….

  3. Follow Up Question, are you saying that all members of the committee took a committee specific oath of office at the start of session separate from the oath of office given to all House members at the start of session? If so, when and were was this separate committee oath of office given?

  4. Liberty Legal raised two complaints. The second one was that the 3-hour “public hearing” was held mostly behind closed doors, except for 10 minutes. Would someone care to explain why 97% of the hearing was secret?

  5. The oath of an investigator is not the same as a witness. Opelia and the Straus tool that commented above need to get with the program.

  6. Pingback: Liberty Institute Responds to Eric Opiela About Ethics Hearing | The Right Side of Austin

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