Tribpedia: Bidness As Usual Project

With a conflict disclosure system rife with holes, virtually toothless ethics laws often left to the interpretation of the lawmakers they are supposed to regulate, and a Legislature historically unwilling to make itself more transparent, Texans know exceedingly little about who or what influences the people elected to represent them. And they have no way to differentiate between lawmakers motivated ...

A portrait of power in Texas in 1970: House Speaker Gus Mutscher, Governor Preston Smith, former president Lyndon Johnson, and Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes, at "Gus Mutscher Day" in Brenham, August 17, 1970.
A portrait of power in Texas in 1970: House Speaker Gus Mutscher, Governor Preston Smith, former president Lyndon Johnson, and Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes, at "Gus Mutscher Day" in Brenham, August 17, 1970.

Texas Ethics Reform: A Long, Tortured History

From Gov. James "Pa" Ferguson's impeachment to the Sharpstown scandal, Texas has weathered mighty ethics controversies. Despite reforms, the Legislature still faces criticism over lax disclosure rules and ties with lobbyists. 

Whitmire at the front of the House chamber during the 64th session in 1975. House Speaker Billy Clayton is at the podium.
Whitmire at the front of the House chamber during the 64th session in 1975. House Speaker Billy Clayton is at the podium.

Slideshow: Sen. John Whitmire Through the Years

Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, served 10 years in the Texas House before becoming the longest-serving member of the Texas Senate. Here's a photographic look back at the dean of the Senate's 40 years in elected office in Texas. 

T-Squared: It's Only Bidness

Twenty journalists have spent nine months researching the personal financial interests of members of the 83rd Legislature. Eyebrows — and hackles — may be raised, but this kind of transparency is good for Texas.