Last week, the Lone Star Project took a look at how now-reassigned Associate Voter Registrar Ed Johnson got his hands on drivers license data, which he and his business partner State Rep. Dwayne Bohac then used to sell campaign data services to various Republican candidates. Now they’re taking a closer look at what Bohac has done in the Lege to further their enterprise.
Bohac’s “Catch 22” Bill
Dwayne Bohac wrote and passed a bill to alter voter registration forms, thereby creating a bureaucratic loophole later used to deny thousands of Harris County voter registration applications.
- During the 2005 Texas Legislative Session, Bohac authored HB 1268, which, on its face, seemed rather innocuous but created a confusing “Catch 22” technical requirement that voter registration applicants must “check” a new box on the form based on whether they provided a driver’s license number or a Social Security number on the form to verify their eligibility to vote. With the passage of the bill, voter registrars could choose to reject as incomplete any application where new voters failed to “check” a box – or “checked” the box when they shouldn’t have – even if the application otherwise included the driver’s license or social security information needed to verify the applicant’s eligibility.
- In fact, Bohac was referenced in a letter from the Secretary of State’s Office to the U.S. Department of Justice during the preclearance process of the bill.
- Bohac’s “inside man” AND business partner at Campaign Data Systems, Ed Johnson, who was the Associate Voter Registrar in Harris County until being reassigned last week, aggressively used the Bohac “Catch 22” bill to help reject more than 70,000 Harris County registration applications. By comparison, Dallas County did not reject applications based only upon the Bohac “Catch 22” provision and, as a result rejected only 1,800 registration applications.
Bohac Calls on Business Partner to Testify
Bohac uses his “inside man” for more than just business, as Johnson has also been involved in Bohac’s legislative work. In the past two legislative sessions, Johnson has registered to testify in favor of eight bills that his boss, Bohac, authored. In four of the hearings, he was the only person to testify in favor of Bohac’s bills. There is no evidence that Dwayne Bohac or Ed Johnson disclosed their business partnership. Article 3, Sec. 22 of the Texas Constitution states that “A member who has a personal or private interest in any measure or bill, proposed, or pending before the Legislature” must disclose the relationship and cannot vote on the legislation.
I wonder at what point the Attorney General should be getting involved in this. Of course, Bohac isn’t a Democrat, so Greg Abbott is unlikely to be interested. But in theory, one wonders at what point the AG should be getting involved.