T.A.B. Staff Held in Contempt
T.A.B. attorney Andy Taylor is asking the state Court of Criminal Appeals -- which has already rejected the group's case -- to reconsider T.A.B.'s arguments. "Thus far we have not been able to get an appellate court to review our claim on First Amendment rights," Taylor said Tuesday as he prepared paperwork for filing. "The court ruled that unless and until T.A.B. is forced to answer a question and refuses to answer, then it could not rule on the merits of the case." Campbell and DeWitt have now provided the CCA with that opportunity, Taylor says. He vowed that his clients, including T.A.B. president and CEO Bill Hammond, would continue to refuse to testify on constitutional grounds.
The business lobby group is accused of using corporate contributions to secretly finance a $1.9 million mass mailing targeting 24 legislative races in the 2002 election. The group predominantly favored Republican candidates over Democrats and is credited with helping to commandeer GOP control of the House for the first time since Reconstruction. The creator of some of the ads in question, public-relations consultant Chuck McDonald, was also summoned to testify -- against T.A.B.'s wishes. The district attorney's office has granted McDonald immunity in exchange for his testimony.