A member of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus’ leadership team called out one of the speaker’s loudest critics on the chamber’s floor Monday.
When Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, presented a transparency proposal, he accused Michael Quinn Sullivan, a frequent critic of Straus and president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, of “bombarding social media” with calls to kill the bill.
Sullivan, whose nonprofit group advocates for spending restraint, immediately posted on Twitter: “Thank you, @charliegeren, for the shout-out!”
Geren said he sponsored Senate Bill 346 to close a campaign disclosure loophole that allows donations to some nonprofits to go undisclosed.
Sullivan continued to send out tweets during the debate, including: “I love how @charliegeren refers to the First Amendment as a loophole.”
The measure received preliminary approval.
From the House floor, Geren said he was only attempting to get donors to nonprofits that take part in the political process to disclose their donors who they are.
“If you want to play, play by the same rules as everybody else,” Geren said.
Critics, including Sullivan, say the measure in an unconstitutional infringement on political free speech.
Under the measure, originally authored by state Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, people or groups that contribute to politically active 501(c)(4) nonprofits would be required to report their contributions, just like they would if they gave to a political action committee or to a candidate.
Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, tried and failed to derail the bill with some parliamentary jockeying. Other conservatives tried to amend the bill, but Geren successfully fought off the attempts. The bill faces a final vote in the House.
To become law, the bill would also need approval by Gov. Rick Perry, who often finds himself on the same side of issues as Sullivan.