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Contact: Terri Hall,
Founder/Executive Director
Texans Uniting for Reform & Freedom (TURF)
PHONE: (210) 275-0640 

TURF to present NEW evidence at today's hearing in lawsuit to STOP TxDOT’s illegal lobbying & ad campaign

In Travis County District Court before Judge Orlinda Naranjo on Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 2 PM, Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF) has asked for a motion to reconsider the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to immediately halt the illegal advertising and lobbying by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) contained in the original petition ( in light of NEW EVIDENCE obtained through the Public Information Act.

An August 13, 2007 memorandum ( by Defendant Coby Chase confirms that TxDOT intends to spend public money for the political purpose of influencing upcoming public hearings for Trans Texas Corridor 69, and that the Keep Texas Moving campaign will continue into 2008.

TURF's attorneys Charlie RileyDavid Van Os, and Andrew Hawkins have also asked for a continuance of the hearing for today’s scheduled plea to the jurisdiction since TxDOT has failed and refused to provide all documents responsive to Plaintiff’s Public Information Act Request, thus preventing the opportunity to conduct written discovery and depositions.

WHO: Texas taxpayers through TURF

WHAT: Lawsuit seeking injunction to halt TxDOT’s taxpayer-funded illegal ad campaign & lobbying activities

WHEN: Thursday, October 18, 2007@ 2 PM

WHERE: Travis County District Court before Judge Orlinda Naranjo, 1000 Guadalupe, Austin, Texas

HOW: The press needs to register request for cameras in the courtroom in advance through the court clerk. Contact Warren Vavra at (512) 854-9093 for more information. 

This lawsuit is brought pursuant to § 37, Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. TxDOT’s expenditure of public funds for the Keep Texas Moving campaign is illegal, and an injunction prohibiting any further illegal expenditures in this regard.

TxDOT has violated § 556.004 of the Texas Government Code by directing the expenditure of public funds for political advocacy in support of toll roads and the Trans Texas Corridor, and have directly lobbied the United States Congress in favor of additional toll road programs as evidenced in its report, Forward Momentum.

On Monday, September 24, Judge Orlinda Naranjo did not grant a temporary restraining order (TRO). TxDOT unearthed a law that says they can advertise toll roads (Sec 228.004 of Transportation Code) and the citizens invoked another that says they can’t (Chapter 556, Texas Government Code). The burden to obtain a TRO is higher than for an injunction.
“TxDOT is waging a one-sided political ad campaign designed to sway public opinion in favor of the policy that puts money in TxDOT’s own coffers. School Boards cannot lobby in favor of their own bond elections, and yet TxDOT cites its own special law to line their own pockets at taxpayers’ expense,” says an incredulous Terri Hall, Founder/Director of TURF.
Hall also notes that TxDOT’s campaign goes beyond mere advertising, “It’s propaganda and in some cases, the ads blatantly lie to the public! In one radio ad (, scroll down to radio ad “continuing maintenance”), it claims it’s not signing contracts with non-compete agreements in them and yet last March TxDOT inked a deal with Cintra-Zachry for SH 130 (read about it here: that had a non-compete clause (which either prohibits or financially punishes the State for building competing infrastructure with a toll road).”

On August 22, 2007, TURF filed a formal complaint with Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle to investigate TxDOT’s illegal lobbying and asked him to prosecute TxDOT for criminal wrongdoing. See the formal complaint here The petition before the court seeks immediate injunctive relief in a civil proceeding.

Updates to TURF’s petition and supplemental affidavits will be posted soon.




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