Michael Williams, Chair, Texas Railroad Commission, went to the Super Bowl as the guest of Center Point Energy. From PolTex
Williams says it ethical. I say it’s not! It’s a huge conflict of interest when you receive
gifts protection money from the very industry you are supposed to regulate.
Remember Atmos Energy: Atmos Cuts Corners. TX Lives at Risk. Brett Shipp Reports
when Atmos Energy was endangering the lives of Texans?
In a recent report filed by Railroad Commissioner Michael L. Williams’ campaign PAC with the Texas Ethics Commission, you are hard pressed to find donations that don’t come from oil and gas providers and utility companies, including the Chairman and CEO and Chairman Emeritus of TXU.
And, over the years, Atmos Energy’s political action committees have given thousands of dollars to RRC Chairman Michael L. Williams, and RRC Commissioners Elizabeth Ames Jones and Victor Carrillo.
Phil King, who also received Super Bowl tickets from Center Point, chairs chairs the House Committee on Regulated Industries. Center Point is covering all their bases, getting all the politicians with oversight right in their pockets.
Updated: Statement from Dale Henry Campaign
“This episode highlights the need for real campaign finance reform for the Texas Railroad Commission,” said Dale Henry (D-Lampasas).
“The Texas Railroad Commissioners should not have such a cozy relationship with the industries they regulate. It just promotes the continued rubber-stamp culture of the Commission. Of course, given the culture of the Texas Railroad Commission, I suppose it should come as no surprise to us that a sitting Railroad Commissioner would take Super Bowl tickets from a CenterPoint Energy Lobbyist and then turn around and vote on cost-of-service rate increases that are passed on directly to consumers,” said Vince Leibowitz, Campaign Director.
“This is exactly why I’ve proposed my “Texans First Campaign Finance Reform” package,” said Henry. “The members of the Texas Railroad Commission should not take money from–and should not be beholden to–the industries they regulate. This is why I plan to, as Railroad Commissioner, ask the Texas Legislature to pass a campaign finance bill that will prohibit the practice of Railroad Commissioners accepting money from the industries they regulate,” Henry said.