Re: [prezveepsenator] Whittington is influential in Texas politics
- I thought his name sounded familiar.. it sounds like
he has a long history of fighting for the least
fortunate among us... that's not cool in the
Bush/Cheney world and it's no wonder that Cheney
decided to put a cap in his ass.
--- Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...> wrote:
> Feb. 12, 2006, 10:28PM
> Whittington is influential in Texas politics
> By JANET ELLIOTT
> Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau
> AUSTIN - Prison reformer, property rights advocate
> troubleshooter for several Texas governors, Harry
> Whittington runs in powerful circles.
> Whittington, 78, a Republican, is chairman of the
> Texas Funeral Services Commission and has served on
> the state prison board and Texas Public Finance
> Authority. He is a familiar figure in downtown
> where he keeps a law office and owns millions of
> dollars worth of property. One of his buildings is
> frequently leased by Republican candidates,
> the 2006 campaign of Gov. Rick Perry.
> "Harry is a very respected attorney here in Austin,"
> said Republican political consultant Reggie Bashur.
> "He has served on a number of boards for a number of
> governors over the years. He is a man of absolute
> Whittington recently has been involved in a
> high-profile legal dispute about a downtown block
> condemned by the city of Austin to build a parking
> garage for its convention center.
> He has said he wants to develop the lot himself, and
> has been battling the city for more than six years.
> The most recent ruling, from the Texas Supreme
> was in his favor, but the city is considering its
> In 1979, Gov. Bill Clements named Whittington, who
> received his law degree from the University of
> to the Texas Department of Corrections Board. He
> helped negotiate reforms that led to the state's
> settlement of the lawsuit filed by inmate David Ruiz
> because of conditions in state prisons.
> Whittington later accused prison officials of lying
> during a trial of the case. Among the lies,
> Whittington said, were prison officials' denial that
> inmates were being used as guards.
> "In terms of human suffering and the waste of tax
> dollars, this has been one of the worst crimes in
> Texas history, and no one is being prosecuted," he
> told a prison reform group in 1985, the year he left
> the board.
> While on the board and afterward, Whittington was
> critical of the state's treatment of mentally
> inmates. One of his daughters is mentally retarded.
> In 2001, he wrote Perry asking him to sign a bill
> the Legislature had passed banning the execution of
> mentally retarded offenders. Perry vetoed the bill,
> but in 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed such
> As a member of the finance authority board from
> 1987-1994, Whittington angered Clements when he
> temporarily blocked the state's purchase of a
> Austin office building.
> He said the bond money had been issued to construct
> building, not buy one.
> In 1999, Gov. George W. Bush named Whittington
> chairman of the funeral services commission.
> At the time, the commission was reeling from
> complaints and heavy with industry representatives.
> The commission also was under scrutiny because of a
> former executive director who alleged in a lawsuit
> was fired for complaining about the governor's
> interference in a proposed fine against a funeral
> chain led by a Bush friend.
> Bush denied trying to intervene, and the funeral
> regulator later settled her whisleblower case for
> $210,000. Details of the settlement were not
> Whittington has been credited with improving
> regulation and handling of consumer complaints. His
> term as chairman of the commission expires next
> Whittington gave the Bush-Cheney campaign the
> $2,000 contribution in 2004. He also gave $1,000 in
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