To: The Honorable Joe Straus, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives
Via email to Frank Battle, Texas House ethics advisor: Frank.Battle@speaker.state.tx.us
I am writing on behalf of the national office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, with an ethics question related to a recent statement made by Texas State House Representative Molly White, R-Belton.
According to a report in the Texas Tribune, for today's Texas Muslim Capitol Day, in Rep. White's absence, “she left instructions for the staff in her Capitol office on how to handle visitors who are, including asking them to declare allegiance to the U.S.”
Specifically, on Facebook Rep. White mentioned: “I did leave an Israeli flag on the reception desk in my office with instructions to staff to ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws,” and, “We will see how long they stay in my office.”
Our ethics question is: Has Rep. White violated any House rules in creating such an internal office policy that is selectively being enforced to discriminate against certain religious minorities trying to meet with her or her staff? Are House members prohibited from making constituents take oaths before meeting with their elected representatives or house staff? Or, are you aware of any other ethical breaches that may have occurred because of these statements?
Your response is much appreciated as we are receiving numerous calls from state and national press.
CAIR Government Affairs Manager
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)