Tribpedia: Lobbying

Analysis: "Smitty," a Texas Lobbyist for the Small Fry, Retiring After 31 Years

Tom "Smitty" Smith is retiring from his longtime role as head of Public Citizen Texas, a nonprofit, left-leaning consumer rights advocacy group.
Tom "Smitty" Smith is retiring from his longtime role as head of Public Citizen Texas, a nonprofit, left-leaning consumer rights advocacy group.

Tom “Smitty” Smith, a colorful lobbyist and liberal activist who turned Public Citizen Texas into a strong voice on environmental, utility, consumer and ethics issues, is hanging up his spurs after 31 years. “The thing that I learned time after time, story after story, is that people standing up does make a difference,” he says.

The Texas Capitol on the opening day of the 83rd legislative session, Jan. 8, 2013.
The Texas Capitol on the opening day of the 83rd legislative session, Jan. 8, 2013.

Amid Veto Period, Lobbyists Keep Working Abbott

The legislative session may be over, but that doesn’t mean it’s vacation time for many of the Capitol’s lobbyists. With a Sunday deadline for Gov. Greg Abbott to veto legislation, some of them are still making a last-ditch effort to kill bills.

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to reporters at the Security Operations Center at the Department of Public Safety on May 12, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to reporters at the Security Operations Center at the Department of Public Safety on May 12, 2015.

Analysis: Taking Stock of the Ethics Session

The governor asked lawmakers to put ethics reform at center stage this year. They filed bills. They even voted in favor of some strong restrictions on lobbyists' and officeholders' official behavior. But most of it never got to Greg Abbott's desk.

Interactive: Texas Health Care Lobbying

Ahead of the 83rd legislative session, the state’s 10 leading health care associations gave more than $4.6 million to Texas candidates. This interactive shows how much — and to whom — health care associations donated in 2011 and 2012.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 3/4/13

The results of the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll on everything from the top race of 2014 to the gun debate, Aaronson on Medicaid expansion, Aguilar on a financial thaw in the Mexican oil patch, Batheja on cents and sensibility, M. Smith on school choice, Rocha and Dehn on TWIA reform, Galbraith on water and fracking, Murphy’s interactive map of poverty in the state, E. Smith's TribLive interview with House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock and Root on a lobby couple living large and reporting small: The best of our best content from March 4-8, 2013.

Former Rep. Bill Siebert, R-San Antonio, had been in office for six years when news reports revealed that he had lobbied the San Antonio City Council for a private firm without having registered as a lobbyist. Siebert blamed the oversight on a miscommunication between his office and City Hall. But the issue dominated his 2000 re-election bid, which he lost.
Former Rep. Bill Siebert, R-San Antonio, had been in office for six years when news reports revealed that he had lobbied the San Antonio City Council for a private firm without having registered as a lobbyist. Siebert blamed the oversight on a miscommunication between his office and City Hall. But the issue dominated his 2000 re-election bid, which he lost.

Despite Reforms, Some Elected Officials Still Lobby

While members of the Texas Legislature can no longer act as lobbyists before state agencies, plenty of lawmakers still manage to lobby local governments. Others find work that critics would classify as lobbying by another name.