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Star-Telegram: Keep Eye on TRCC Builder Protection Agency
Friday, 03 October 2008

Watchdog: TRCC called 'unfixable’
The Watchdog always keeps one paw on the Texas Residential Construction Commission, which, as we reported this summer, was recommended for extinction by the staff of the state Sunset Advisory Commission. This week, a Texans for Public Justice study said the 10 lawmakers on the sunset panel accepted a total of $223,000 in campaign contributions from home builders in the past three years. Throughout their legislative careers, the same 10 received $446,000 from major builder Bob Perry of Houston. Perry is considered one of the prime backers of the TRCC, and one of his top aides was appointed to the commission’s board by Gov. Rick Perry.

Watchdog: TRCC called 'unfixable’
By DAVE LIEBER
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The Watchdog always keeps one paw on the Texas Residential Construction Commission, which, as we reported this summer, was recommended for extinction by the staff of the state Sunset Advisory Commission.

The TRCC, which is supposed to resolve disputes between homeowners and builders, has been called the Builder Protection Agency by critics who say it favors the building industry. Builders say it protects homeowners from unscrupulous builders.

Ten legislators on the Sunset Commission will decide by December whether to pass their staffers’ surprising recommendation to close the agency on to the 2009 Legislature. The Austin-based Quorum Report states that last week, legislators at a public sunset panel hearing were not enthusiastic about shutting down an agency they created five years ago.

This week, a Texans for Public Justice study said the 10 lawmakers on the sunset panel accepted a total of $223,000 in campaign contributions from home builders in the past three years.

Throughout their legislative careers, the same 10 received $446,000 from major builder Bob Perry of Houston. Perry is considered one of the prime backers of the TRCC, and one of his top aides was appointed to the commission’s board by Gov. Rick Perry.

Two area legislators sit on the sunset panel. They are state Sen. Kim Brimer, R-Fort Worth, and state Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, both of whom accepted legal contributions from builders. (In fairness, they get contributions from homeowners, too.)

How pervasive is builder money in the Legislature? All but six members of the entire Legislature got contributions from builders in the past three years, Texans for Public Justice reported. One of the rare nonreceivers? State Rep. Lon Burnham, D-Fort Worth.

So what are the odds that legislators returning to the Capitol in January will give the bum’s rush to the TRCC when major donors want it to live on?

Sunset Commission Executive Director Joey Longley stuck to his guns last week when he told lawmakers about the TRCC: "It’s unfixable."

http://www.star-telegram.com/arlington_news/story/950048.html

 
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Reckless Endangerment
BY: GRETCHEN MORGENSON
and JOSHUA ROSNER

Outsized Ambition, Greed and
Corruption Led to
Economic Armageddon


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