Lamar Smith Asks Social Media Companies For Evidence Russia Meddled In The US Energy Sector

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelSeptember 28, 2017 3:33 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Central Texas Congressman Lamar Smith wants Facebook, Twitter and Google to hand over any evidence related to Russian meddling in the U.S. energy sector.  

From KUT News in Austin, Joseph Leahy reports.

In a letter to CEOs of each company, Smith notes it’s likely that Russia tried to boost opposition to hydraulic fracturing with methods similar to its efforts to sway last year’s presidential election. He cites Facebook’s disclosure this month that Russians spent more than $100,000 on social media advertising during the campaign.

Smith chairs the House Science Committee and since July has been investigating reports that Russians funneled money through a Bermuda shell company to anti-fracking environmental groups.  

His letter gives Google, Twitter and Facebook until October 10th to turn over documents or information related to any Russian efforts to curb fossil fuel extraction in the U.S. 

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request to expedite a case that could force Texas to redraw congressional and state house district maps.

In August, a panel of federal judges in San Antonio found that these maps – last redrawn in 2013 – violated both the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act, because they intentionally discriminated against African-American and Latino voters.

The judges ordered the maps be redrawn in time for the 2018 elections. But Texas chose instead to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court, and its refusal to speed up the case means the state will probably use those maps next year.

Michael Li specializes in redistricting at the Brennan Center for Justice.

“There’s a very good likelihood just given when the Supreme Court is likely to rule on the appeals that the maps through 2018 will be the current maps,” Li says.

Li adds that if the Supreme Court ultimately finds these maps unconstitutional, those illegal districts will have been used in most elections over the last decade.

Dallas Mavericks point guard J-J Barea is doing his part to help his native Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban lent Barea the team plane, and Barea delivered food, water and supplies earlier this week. Barea also brought back his mother and grandmother.

He said the island needs a lot of help.

This is just starting,” Barea says. “There’s not going to be any power, a lot of people without water. This is going to a long process so we’ve just got to keep helping out.”

Barea and his wife, who’s also from Puerto Rico, started a You-Caring-dot-com fundraiser that as of Thursday morning had almost reached its goal of raising $150,000.