To the Editor:
During the State Bar Board of Directors meeting on April 12, 2013, President-elect candidate Steve Fischer alleged bias and unfair treatment by Bar leadership for "editorializing" in the "We the Candidates" webcast forum and the Texas Bar Journal. These accusations were recently echoed in a letter to the editor written by one of Mr. Fischer’s supporters. Correcting egregious misstatements of fact is not "editorializing". Fischer, who touts himself as knowledgeable of current Bar issues, represented that the Board of Directors had instituted the occupational tax on attorneys (and suggested that he would work to influence the Board to change it). That statement is completely false; the occupational tax was imposed by the Texas Legislature and cannot be reversed by a Board vote. Fischer also commented that our Bar leadership (himself included, since he was on the Board) lost money last year when funds were embezzled by a Bar employee. The moderator noted that the money was recovered through insurance, and there was no catastrophic monetary loss to the Bar. In the Texas Bar Journal interview, Mr. Fischer omitted pertinent facts related to the opinion issued by the Attorney General. Fischer implied that the Nominations Committee chair had been heavy-handed and oppressive; Fischer did not disclose that the chair sought the AG opinion for guidance after Fischer declared that he was not subject to any of the Policy Manual provisions governing elections. Fischer also failed to mention that he lost that argument; only the rule requiring his resignation from the Board was held inapplicable to a petition candidate. The Bar Journal merely provided these facts, as well as links to the Attorney General opinion and the Policy Manual provisions. I expect the leaders of the Bar to provide accurate information to the lawyers of this state, particularly in forums that it sponsors.
I would be dismayed if the Bar sat silently while misrepresentations and misimpressions were used to gain votes. The recent letter to the editor states "no dues were spent on Mr. Fischer’s nomination." It was disclosed to the Board on Friday that Mr. Fischer is currently seeking reimbursement from the Bar for the expenses he incurred over several years in gathering signatures for his petition, despite the fact no Policy Manual provision authorizes such an expenditure. I am reminded of the old adage: "Tell the truth, or someone will tell it for you."
Jo Ann Merica