Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

New frontiers in residency requirements

Michael Quinn Sullivan lives exactly where he says he lives, no more and no less.

Not Michael Quinn Sullivan

Empower Texans President Michael Quinn Sullivan and the Texas Ethics Commission are scheduled to tangle in state district court in Denton County for the first formal hearing in Sullivan’s appeal of a commission ruling charging him with flouting the law by failing to register as a lobbyist.

The commission and Sullivan have been sparring over the issue since 2012, when state officials launched a probe after sworn complaints by state Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, and former state Rep. Vicki Truitt, R-Keller. They accused Sullivan of directly lobbying members of the Texas House in the last quarter of 2010 and during the 2011 legislative session and failing to register with the state.

In July, the commission issued Sullivan a blistering final order and a $10,000 fine.

Not long after, Sullivan publicly proclaimed he was moving from Austin to “somewhere that respects the rule of law.” He later announced Denton as his new residence and filed an appeal there, instead of in Travis County.

State law allows for the appeal of an ethics ruling to be filed in Travis County or the county in which the respondent resides.

The commission, however, is fighting Sullivan’s claims that he resides in Denton County and is asking for the case to be transferred to Travis County.

The commission, in court documents, cited the fact that Sullivan has lodged multiple lawsuits in Travis County against the state agency and that its ruling was issued while Sullivan indisputably lived in Austin.

The commission also argued Sullivan has provided no evidence to show he is living in Denton and claimed residency there only after state officials concluded he failed to register as a lobbyist.

I kind of love this story, because it involves one of the few people in Texas that can give Dave Wilson a run for the “most loathsome political figure” title, and just like Wilson it involves an argument about residency and a private investigator sent to sniff out the truth. In this case, the private eye had better luck than the one who had the duty of staking out Wilson’s warehouse. I am sufficiently inspired by this to declare that I am changing my name to Heisenberg and my residence to everywhere and nowhere at once, depending on my circumstances and whether or not anyone is asking. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to beat the system, too? Anyway, Monday’s hearing was postponed till February 18, so we’ll have to wait a little longer to see where The Man says that MQS lives. This is exactly why Molly Ivins called politics the finest form of free entertainment ever devised. Texas Politics has more.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed.