Tom Moore, Jr.

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Tom Moore, Jr. (born May 16, 1918) was a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1967 to 1973 from McLennan County. Moore is most noted for an April Fool's Day prank he played to demonstrate that his fellow legislators often did not read the legislation they were approving and for being a member of the "Dirty Thirty."

Biography[edit]

Moore was born in Waco, Texas, May 16, 1918. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946. From 1952-1959, as McLennan County district attorney, Moore prosecuted "the first criminal trial to be televised in the United States."[1]

Boston Strangler prank[edit]

Moore introduced legislation on April 1, 1971 commending Albert de Salvo—more commonly known as the Boston Strangler—including this wording:

This compassionate gentleman's dedication and devotion to his work has enabled the weak and the lonely throughout the nation to achieve and maintain a new degree of concern for their future. He has been officially recognized by the state of Massachusetts for his noted activities and unconventional techniques involving population control and applied psychology.[2]

After it was passed unanimously by the House, Moore later withdrew the legislation, explaining he had only offered it to prove an important point that his fellow legislators didn't read much of the legislation they voted on.[3][4][5]

Dirty Thirty[edit]

Moore along with 29 other bipartisan members of the 1971 Texas House of Representatives who were allied against the then-Speaker of the House Gus Frank Mutscher and other Texas officials charged in a bribery-conspiracy investigation by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission became known as the "Dirty Thirty." The Dirty Thirty kept the Sharpstown Stock-Fraud Scandal alive as a political issue. Even though Mutscher was still favored by a majority in the House, they called for a resolution to make Mutscher and his associates resign from leadership positions while the SEC investigation continued. However, because of Mutscher's favored position, the measure failed in addition to another resolution, for the House to make itself a committee of the whole to study the SEC allegation. The criticisms of Mutscher's system of controlling legislation by the Dirty Thirty eventually led Mutscher to agree to an investigation led by five of his closest House allies, all chairmen of other committees he had appointed, to do the job. On the next-to-last day of the session, Mutscher attacked the Dirty Thirty, accusing them of irresponsible, partisan politics and the Dirty Thirty called Mutscher a dictator of state politics, more concerned with private than public interests. This began the electoral battle, which Mutscher lost.

Mutscher along with two other colleagues (Governor Preston Smith and Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes) were indicted by a Travis County grand jury in September 1971 for conspiracy to accept a bribe and accepting a bribe. Mutscher was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to five years' probation. Mutscher's colleagues, though not brought to trial, saw their political careers effectively ended. The Dirty Thirty also paid a price - Mutscher blocked most of their legislation actions and they were isolated from other Texas legislators.[6][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Witherspoon, Tommy (June 2, 2009). "Waco attorney still going strong at 91". Palestine Herald (Waco Tribune-Herald). Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  2. ^ Gregory, Leland (2010). "Stupid Texas: Idiots in the Lone Star State". Andrews McMeel Publishing (via Google Books). p. 30. ISBN 978-0740791352. Retrieve 2012-12-06.
  3. ^ Gibbs, Mark (October 11, 2004). "Banning the licking of toads". Network World – via HighBeam (subscription required) Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  4. ^ Hight, Bruce (March 15, 1991). "State Senate's desks were empty, but bills passed anyway". Austin American Statesman – via ProQuest (subscription required) p. A1. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  5. ^ "The Ayes of Texas". Snopes. March 2, 2006. Retrieved 2006-03-02. 
  6. ^ "Dirty Thirty". Texas State Historical Association. August 1, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  7. ^ Sweany, Brian D. (September 2001). "Dirty Thirty". Texas Monthly.  (registration required)
Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
George Cowden
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 35-2 (Waco)

1967–73
Succeeded by
Lyndon Olson, Jr.