Updated, 2:11 p.m.:
Empower Texans and Michael Quinn Sullivan filed paperwork on Tuesday afternoon opposing Bresnen's request to intervene, saying that "he has failed to establish that he has a direct, substantial, and legally protectable interest that would be impeded or impaired by this action, and because even if he had such an interest, he has failed to show that the State of Texas Ethics Commission would not adequately represent that interest."
Lobbyist Steve Bresnen on Monday asked for the ability to intervene in the federal suit filed by Empower Texans and Michael Quinn Sullivan intended to halt the Texas Ethics Commission's investigation into the conservative advocacy group.
Empower Texans' suit builds on the objections made by its attorney, Joe Nixon, in a pre-hearing conference on Feb. 12. He said that the Ethics Commission could not move forward with its investigation because the agency does not have an adopted set of rules to govern the hearing process. He objected to the commission's vote to issue subpoenas for Empower Texans and Sullivan to turn over all written communication, including emails, related to its political activities.
Bresnen's motion to intervene echoes the position of the Ethics Commission that the agency has authority under the administrative procedure act to conduct its hearings. If the Ethics Commission rules against Empower Texans, the group has later judicial recourse if it feels its right to due process was violated, Bresnen wrote.
In filing to intervene, Bresnen said that the Ethics Commission does not represent the interests of him and of other lobbyists. He added that his interest is in seeing the rules enforced the same for everyone.
Bresnen — along with state Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, and former state Rep. Vicki Truitt — filed the complaints in 2012 against Empower Texans and Michael Quinn Sullivan that spurred the Ethics Commission's investigation. The complaints allege that Empower Texans illegally solicited money for its PAC and that Sullivan acted as an unregistered lobbyist. A formal hearing in the matter is scheduled for April 3.