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History of Reform Efforts: Texas

Active Organizations

Campaigns for People
Campaigns for People’s mission is to promote workable reforms that restrain the influence of money on Texas government and help create an ethical climate that builds public confidence in the state’s democratic institutions.

Common Cause Texas
Common Cause Texas supports public financing of judicial campaigns, nonpartisan election of trial court judges, merit appointment and retention of appellate court judges, and publicly funded judicial voter guides.

League of Women Voters of Texas
Since 1965, the League of Women Voters of Texas has supported merit selection and retention of Texas judges. Because of concerns among some of its members about this position, the League voted to restudy the issue of judicial selection in Texas at its 2001 convention. Click here to read the report. The League also supports public financing for state elected offices. LWV of Texas publishes a voters guide that includes judicial candidates prior to the general election. The League's Education Fund offers an informational brochure about the Texas judicial system.

Make Texas Proud
Make Texas Proud is a reform organization established in 2003 by former Chief Justice John Hill to promote an appointment and retention process for selecting Texas judges.

Public Citizen
Since 1984, Public Citizen's Texas office has concerned itself with, among other issues, campaign finance and ethics. The Texas office has successfully lobbied for some limits on judicial campaign contributions, and is currently working toward full and timely electronic campaign contribution disclosure. In April 2000, Public Citizen and other nonprofit organizations filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging Texas' judicial campaign finance system as a violation of a citizen's constitutional right to due process of law. The suit alleged that judges cannot be impartial when they solicit and receive campaign contributions from lawyers who argue cases before them. In Public Citizen, Inc. v. Bomer, the trial court ruled that the issue should be resolved by Texas citizens and their legislators. 115 F.Supp.2d 743 (W.D.Tex. 2000). The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the suit. 274 F.3d 212 (5th Cir. 2001).

Texans for Public Justice
Texans for Public Justice is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization that focuses on corporate responsibility and money in politics. TPJ was founded in January 1997 to expose the abuses of Texas’ indulgent campaign finance system, which is known as “the Wild West of money in politics.” To accomplish this goal, TPJ has published an unprecedented series of reports that have revealed the sources and destinations of the river of political money that flows with no meaningful campaign contribution limits.

Texas Bar Association