On this week's edition of WFAA-TV's Inside Texas Politics, I talked with host Shelly Slater and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy about Empower Texans CEO and conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan — the Texas Ethics Commission handed him the highest possible fine for unregistered lobbying. Sullivan says his work with Empower Texans is exempt from such registration requirements because he's a member of the media, not a lobbyist. The story's far from over, as Sullivan and his lawyer plan to appeal the matter in court.
We also talked about a report from UT-Austin last week showing a decline in abortions as some provisions of the new restrictions passed in the state Legislature have come into effect — statewide, abortions were down 13 percent; in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, where all facilities have closed, abortions were down 21 percent. Six of the remaining 20 clinics meet the additional standards that will take effect in September.
Also on the table: With the indictment and arrest of longtime South Dallas political powerhouse and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price on multiple counts of corruption and bribery, a change could come sooner rather than later; Gov. Rick Perry's announced deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops to the border — while the political optics are strong, the rollout at the news conference of crime statistics some say were inflated might have undermined the case; and counties and municipalities around the state passing resolutions banning any accommodation of Central American children from the border surge might be politically satisfying but carry little practical meaning.
Also: Shelly and Bud talked with Dallas-area defense attorney Victor Vital, who offered some insights into the process and likely strength of the federal government's case against John Wiley Price; and Shelly interviewed Dallas Plan Commission member Betty Culbreath, who worked closely with Price for a time and has known him all his adult life.