When you do good watchdog journalism, holding people in public life accountable for their actions, you're bound to make some folks angry along the way. And some of those folks will try to strike back at you -- though often the worst thing they can do to you is cancel their subscription to your newspaper.
That's not the case with someone Texas Watchdog wrote about recently.
Houston trial lawyer and Democratic mega-donor Steve Mostyn's $25,000 campaign contribution to state Rep. Todd Hunter -- who was mediating a lawsuit involving some folks Mostyn represented -- is pretty angry at us about that story. And, being a prominent, wealthy, politically connected attorney, he can do a lot more than call us up and cancel his subscription.
He's taking us to court.
On Friday, Mostyn subpoenaed the reporter on that story, Steve Miller, and our editor, Trent Seibert. Mostyn wants to take depositions from both men. The subpoenas come on the heels of Mostyn filing court papers accusing Texas Watchdog of doing political dirty work for Republicans.
Mostyn hasn't challenged the veracity of our story -- because it is accurate and based on public records. A champion of Democratic causes known for winning big settlements against insurance companies, Mostyn gave $25,000 to Republican Hunter, an advocate of tort reform.
Texas Watchdog is a small nonprofit news organization. We've only been around a couple of years. But we want our readers to know that we intend to fight back.
We wrote and published a story on our website based on public records that was entirely accurate. This is still America. The First Amendment still guarantees freedom of the press and free speech.
Unhappy story subjects don't get to haul reporters into court over accurate stories they don't like even if they are prominent, wealthy, politically connected attorneys.
I once heard a smart person say, "The way to fight free speech is with more free speech." Indeed, we gave Mr. Mostyn the opportunity to comment on the story. But rather than provide comment he issued subpoenas.
We may be small, but we won't be intimidated.
Steve Mostyn is a pox on Texas. He needs to be scrutinized and examined a lot more by the msm.