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The Brief: June 9, 2010

It's Bill White versus the campaign hydra this week.

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THE BIG CONVERSATION:

This week, it's Bill White versus the campaign hydra — kill one issue weighing on your candidacy and two more pop up in its place.

After weeks of taking daily hits from Gov. Rick Perry on the matter, White, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Houston mayor, released his tax returns dating back to 2004 on Tuesday.

The White campaign downplayed the disclosure — now posted in detail on the candidate's website — by knocking Perry for his refusal to debate until White released his records. The Perry campaign shot back at White for continuing to withhold older tax information. "Governor Perry looks forward to debating Bill White when he fully comes clean in releasing his tax returns for his years in public service, including the years he served under President Clinton developing energy policy that he has profited from," Perry spokesman Mark Miner said in a statement.

And it didn't take long for those combing White's disclosure to find questionable details. The Associated Press reported Tuesday night that White has invested in, and profited from, a company he had hired to help Houston recover from Hurricane Rita when he was mayor. The company, Btech Turbines, was hired in 2005 to provide power generators for the city, and a year later, White invested $1 million in the company, later turning a $500,000 profit, records show.

"I thought the company was good at what it did," White said, according to the AP. But the Perry campaign took greater issue with what it perceives as a conflict of interest: "This was a serious ethical lapse of judgment with his intervention on behalf of a company he was involved with," Miner told the AP. "It should be investigated by current officials in Houston."

CULLED:

  • It may be a long shot, but in Texas schoolchildren's recently reported improved scores on this year's Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, some see Republicans playing an election-year political game. That's "ridiculous," State Education Commissioner Robert Scott tells the Austin American-Statesman.
  • The fatal shooting of a Mexican teenager by a U.S. Border Patrol agent near the border has frayed U.S.-Mexico relations, the El Paso Times reports. "We cannot tolerate these kind of incidents, where people fight with rocks against firearms," Juárez Mayor José Reyes Ferriz told the Times.

“That's not what's important to the state bar.” — Roland Johnson, president of the State Bar of Texas, on his embarrassment upon hearing that one of his group's members had applied for a historical marker honoring Anglo-American lawyers to be placed at the Alamo.

MUST-READ:

D-FW faces likelihood of tougher ozone standardFort Worth Star-Telegram

Legal aid attorneys expand lawsuit over Texas food stamp programThe Dallas Morning News

Companies in Johnson County pipeline explosion say they followed rulesFort Worth Star-Telegram

Spill forecasts: Take with a grain of salt waterHouston Chronicle

Solar Opposities — The Texas Tribune

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