The runoff election in the Republican primary for Texas Railroad Commissioner is starting to get heated. In a radio interview Thursday Wayne Christian accused his opponent, Ryan Sitton, of negative campaigning and having a conflict of interest.
Thursday on KFYO-AM Christian said that the Chairman of the Energy Committee in the Texas House said that Sitton being elected would be like a “buzzsaw” to the sunset process and the relationship between the Railroad Commission and the Legislature. Christian pointed to Sitton’s ownership of PinnacleAIS which is an oil and gas engineering and consulting firm. According to the Dallas Morning News, Sitton’s firm has dozens of industry clients.
The Dallas Morning News reported in April that Sitton saw no need to release his client list because he believed that potential conflicts would be rare. The Christian campaign disagrees and believes that Sitton’s ownership would lead him to being a “part-time” commissioner.
Christian claimed that Sitton’s ownership would be a conflict of interest and that Sitton would have to recuse himself 25% of time or “vote on items that would directly benefit or harm his own pocketbook”. Christian also said that Sitton’s offer to put his company in a blind trust wasn’t good enough because Sitton would still be making money off the decision he would be making as Railroad Commissioner.
Christian also commented on an Austin American-Statesman story about the City of Denton, TX that is debating banning fracking. A temporary ban is in place currently until September but the city council could vote for a permanent ban in the future. When asked about a potential ban on fracking in Denton, Christian said that the move would be “insane”. Christian went on to say that there has been no scientific evidence to show fracking has been bad for ground water or that it has caused earthquakes.
Breitbart Texas reached out to Sitton’s campaign for response. Jared Craighead, Sitton’s campaign manager, responded and said, “Wayne Christian is a career politician with a history of sponsoring legislation to benefit himself. To distract from that record of self-dealing, he has manufactured false claims against Ryan Sitton. Ryan Sitton has committed to put his company in a blind trust to eliminate all questions about any potential conflict. That was exactly what Wayne Christian’s supporters suggested he do. It’s not surprising that Wayne Christian is now moving the goal post and trying to keep this ridiculous allegation alive because Wayne Christian doesn’t know anything about energy, so he constantly attacks Ryan Sitton. In fact, every idea Wayne Christian has had related to energy has been a bad one, like mandating green energy by burning wood that would drive rates up and cost Texas jobs. Wayne Christian’s 25% recusal number is also 100% wrong. Ryan Sitton would not have had to recuse himself a single time as Railroad Commissioner. As usual, Wayne Christian doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Follow Chad Hasty on Twitter @ChadHastyRadio.