How Petty Money Politics Crushed Tesla In TexasPatrick George9/10/13 4:35pmFiled to: Tesla MotorsTeslaElon MuskTexasStealerships47421EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkTexas Gov. Rick Perry is fond of saying that his pro-free market state is "wide open for business." It turns out that sentiment may only be true if you don't dare challenge the entrenched good old boys and their mountains of cold, hard cash like Tesla Motors did. AdvertisementOver the past year Tesla has taken its fight for direct car sales to several states, but it got its ass thoroughly and completely handed to it in Texas. Being a scrappy and successful new automaker has nothing on the powerful and cash-flush car dealer lobby that has been a powerful force in Texas politics for decades, according to a new report from the nonprofit Texans for Public Justice. You've probably heard that Tesla not only wants to revolutionize the car itself, but the way we buy them as well. Elon Musk would like to see a world in which car shoppers buy direct from vehicle manufacturers, not through independent third party dealership chains. After all, why is it you can buy a MacBook Air direct from Apple, but you can't buy a Mustang from Ford or a Model S from Tesla? AdvertisementBut thanks to the efforts of the late Gene Fondren, who passed away in 2010 but was a legislator, lobbyist and longtime head of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, Texas has some of the toughest car dealer protection laws in the country. As Automotive News reports, Fondren's built a powerful legacy that continues to prohibit direct-to-customer sales in Texas today. Do you want to know what employees at the Tesla stores are allowed to do? Legally, not much. From the report: Employees in Tesla car galleries in Austin and Houston are legally prohibited from offering visitors a test drive, quoting them a price or even directing them to Tesla’s website. If a Texan does order a Tesla from California, the car must be delivered by third-party trucks that cannot advertise the Tesla brand.It doesn't seem very fair, does it? During the most recent Texas legislative session, Tesla got two bills introduced in the State House and Senate that would permit them to sell their cars directly. But the regular legislative session ended in June without a vote on either bill.