Texas Ethics Reform: A Long, Tortured History

Bidness as Usual

This is one in a series of occasional stories about ethics and transparency in the part-time Texas Legislature.

There was no reason to suspect that the 1971 session of the Texas Legislature would be much different from the ones that preceded it.

Gov. Preston Smith and Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes were coming off re-election victories. A fellow Democrat, state Rep. Gus Mutscher, of Brenham, was flexing his muscles as a second-term House speaker. Preparations for an elaborate January inaugural celebration, with a parade in downtown Austin and musical entertainment by Wayne Newton and Faron Young, were in full swing.

But ...

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