‘Double-dipping’ not allowed in Texas

I likely shouldn’t even concern myself with this matter, but given the amount of money being poured into some Texas Panhandle legislative races, I think I’ll weigh in on a potential complication facing a candidate for the Texas Legislature.

Drew Brassfield is challenging state Rep. Four Price of Amarillo in the Republican primary for the House District 87 seat that Price has filled since 2011.

But … as they might say: Austin, we’ve got a problem.

Brassfield is the Fritch city manager. The Texas Constitution has some provisions in it that appear to make him ineligible to serve in the Legislature if he decides to keep his day job in Hutchinson County.

There’s more to this as well. Brassfield, who has been endorsed by the far-right group Empower Texans, isn’t divulging what his plans are until after election — presuming he wins the GOP primary, which remains the longest of long shots against a rising star in Rep. Price. He won’t tell voters if he intends to quit his city manager’s job and go to work as a legislator for $600 per month, plus a per diem expense total while the Legislature is in session.

Three clauses in the Constitution prohibit legislators from also drawing a salary from another public entity. One clause is quite specific, banning double-dipping if one of his jobs allows him to handle public money; as city manager, Brassfield certainly handles public funds.

Yet another clause says clearly that a legislator cannot hold another public office at the same time. Period. End of discussion.

These quite obvious conflict of interests are precisely why I said early on that Brassfield’s candidacy just didn’t pass the smell test.

It’s not that he is ineligible to run for the Legislature. It’s just that he would have to surrender his primary job — which also involves a public trust — if he gets elected to the Legislature.

The young man, furthermore, should tell voters up front before the primary election what he plans to do if hell freezes over and he defeats Price in the GOP primary.

What is fundamentally disgusting about Brassfield’s candidacy is that he is being used as a tool by a powerful political interest group that is misrepresenting Price’s voting records on issues such as elder care and abortion. Brassfield is not disavowing any of it.

So, young man, why not come clean before primary election day and tell House District 87 Republican voters what you intend to do if you manage to win this contest?