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Texas Railroad Commission Campaign Contributions Discussed at Recent Oil Gas Pipeline Hearing

January 29th, 2013

According to an article featured on NPR, many notable political figures recently appeared at the Sunset Advisory Commission hearing in Austin, Texas. NPR reports that Mr. Jim Mann, Special Commissioner of Condemnation proceedings in Dewitt County, was called to give testimony pertaining to the system by which the Texas Railroad Commission grants pipeline companies the right of eminent domain. According to NPR, the Texas Pipeline Association was represented by attorney James Mann.

Sources say lawmakers focused many of their questions on proposals to limit gas and oil companies from giving political donations to Commissioners. Specifically, the Sunset Advisory Report recommends that Railroad Commissioners should not be allowed to solicit campaign contributions except nine months before or after Election Day. It also recommends that Commissioners should not be allowed to take money from companies that have business before the Commission.

Specifically, critics of the current system argued the inherent conflict in the commission accepting campaign donations from parties which could potentially have cases in front of the omission. However, the commissioners argued that they had historically “self policed” fund raising activities. The Sunset Commission report contends that the Railroad Commission is different because its primary role is regulating the same industry that largely pays for Commissioners’ campaigns.

View the full article at the following link:

http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2012/12/20/railroad-commissioners-grilled-on-fundraising limits/

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