An incumbent legislator has threatened cable companies with litigation if they run advertisements citing his voting record in the Texas House. Meanwhile, the same lawmaker’s chief of staff demanded that a website publishing his votes be shut down, citing a law designed to protect teenagers from cyber-bullying on social media websites.
Challenged in Texas’ March Republican Primary, State Rep. Jim Keffer of Eastland has sent letters threatening legal action against cable companies running an ad by Empower Texans that references his voting record and has been running throughout Keffer’s House District 60. The letters came from a law firm working for Keffer’s campaign.
The ad notes, among other issues, that Keffer voted to give special privileges to labor unions while attacking conservative groups.
“[No] such vote exists,” his lawyers claimed in the letters.
Yet the Official Journal of the House proceedings from 2013 shows two specific votes on Senate Bill 346 that were designed to remove special labor union privileges from the legislation. Keffer voted against the amendments, and for final passage of the legislation.
“Your company is currently hosting the website, and it is in clear violation of Chapter 33.07, Texas Penal Code,” wrote Ky Ash in an e-mail sent at the end of January but only this week released from the web-hosting company.
Tony McDonald, general counsel for Empower Texans — which sponsored the website — said that while Ash’s legal reference is impressive, it is wrong.
“The law Ky cites makes it unlawful for a person to post a fake social networking page for purposes of harassing another person,” said McDonald. “It has nothing to do with the posting of legislative records on a website that is clearly labelled as coming from a third-party organization.”
McDonald explained that the law was passed in the wake of the suicide of Megan Meier, a victim of cyber-bullying.