THSC’s litigation against the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) recently returned to the Austin District Court. THSC filed suit against the TEC in 2014 in Federal Court to force clarification of its rules regarding the 2010 Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that says nonprofits with a principal purpose that is not political, like THSC, can participate in political speech under the First Amendment.
The TEC’s new rule states that an organization can have more than one principal purpose. If a group can have more than one principal purpose, as the TEC argues, the TEC can regulate any group that does political work by claiming politics is a principal purpose of the group.
This is in direct conflict with not only federal law and the Citizen’s United decision but also Texas election law. THSC argued in our recent filing in Austin district court that the TEC was deliberately misconstruing the meaning of the law in order to regulate conservative groups.
Texas law only allows regulation on groups whose principal purpose is political work.
The TEC argued in a recent federal case in Austin that a nonprofit does not meet the statutory definition of a political committee because it is a legal entity and not a “group of persons.” While the TEC claims this ensures a nonprofit like THSC is in no danger of prosecution, the TEC has refused to adopt that position as a legally binding policy. In fact, it is pursuing legal action against another nonprofit claiming that it cannot participate in political speech without registering as a political committee. The TEC is trying to “have their cake and eat it too.”
The purpose of TEC’s rule change is to obstruct the speech of conservative nonprofit groups.
In an editorial, the chairman suggests voters should change the law if we disagree with them. But the truth is, the law protects free speech and the TEC is seeking to change the rules and regulate conservative groups even though the law is still the same. By ignoring case law, this government regulator is forcing private citizens to sue the state to make sure it follows the law.
If the TEC succeeds, Texans will lose. THSC’s mission includes guarding your rights and keeping you informed as proactive voting citizens. If THSC’s freedom to speak on the actions of elected officials and their records is limited by such intimidation, it could have a direct impact on your cherished right to direct the care, control and upbringing of our children. THSC’s regular efforts to inform you, the voters representing Texas families, are in danger.
Please keep THSC and our legal counsel in your prayers for a righteous outcome in this case as we fight to Keep Texas Families Free.
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