Lone Star Justice
Is Texas’s attorney general a corrupt officeholder or an innocent official being railroaded by political rivals?
Texas history is filled with larger-than-life figures who overcame long odds and severe hardships. In many ways, the frontier ethos persists 181 years after the fall of the Alamo. Unfortunately, partisan factions have frequently weaponized Texas’s legal system to preserve power and punish political enemies. Call it frontier justice.
The rogue’s gallery of Texas politicians who have used dubious means to pursue elective office includes Lyndon B. Johnson, whom biographer Robert Caro contends stole the Democratic Senate primary in 1948 (and whom many historians believe later helped John Kennedy rob Richard Nixon of the presidency in 1960); Texas House speaker Gus Mutscher (and several Democratic colleagues), who were convicted of conspiracy in the so-called Sharpstown scandal in 1972; U.S. House speaker Jim Wright, who resigned in 1989 following an ethics investigation into his fundraising practices; and Texas attorney general Dan Morales, who went to prison in 2003 for seeking to enrich himself in the tobacco settlement he oversaw. On the other hand, Texas has also seen its share of unjustified prosecutions of political or public figures, including U.S. senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, House majority leader Tom DeLay, Governor Rick Perry, and University of Texas regent Wallace Hall, all of whom were ultimately vindicated.
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