Well, at least this got resolved before the primary.
State Rep. Terri Hodge, D-Dallas, pleaded guilty early this morning to lying on her tax returns in connection with the FBI’s Dallas City Hall public corruption investigation, an act that ends her 14-year political career.
Hodge, 69, now a convicted felon, is dropping her re-election plans, and will resign her position as District 100 representative in the Texas House when she is sentenced. At Wednesday’s hearing, U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn said she wanted sentencing to occur as soon as possible.
“Ms. Hodge will have pleaded guilty today to a felony and will still be representing her district,” Lynn said. “I’m not real keen on that notion.”
Attorney Jeff Kearney said Hodge needed about 90 days to close down her legislative offices. “There are thousands of files” in her offices, he said, dealing with district and constituent business amassed during seven terms in office. “She can’t throw those in a dumpster.”
It must be noted that the deadline to officially withdraw from the ballot has passed, even for deceased candidates, so it is possible that Hodge could still win, in which case she’d have to be replaced on the ballot; as there is no Republican candidate, the Dallas County GOP would then get to pick someone as well, much as it would be in the case of Sen. Kip Averitt. One hopes that won’t happen and that the voters will choose challenger Eric Johnson, who has run a strong campaign and who received the DMN endorsement last month, but one never knows. It would have been nice of Hodge to step down before it came to this, but I suppose she kept believing she could beat this right up till the point where she agreed to take the plea.
STATEMENT FROM TERRI HODGE
Explains plea deal and formally announces resignation
“I am sad to inform you that as of today I will end my campaign for the Democratic nomination for State Representative of the 100th Legislative District of Texas.
“I have reached an agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas whereby I will enter a plea of guilty to one criminal charge alleging that I made false statements by failing to report income on my personal tax returns. I freely admit that I violated the federal income tax laws in this regard, and I am prepared and willing to accept the consequences of my actions.
“As a result of my guilty plea to a criminal tax violation, I will not be able to continue to serve in the Texas House of Representatives. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience continue to seek reelection and I believe that the only appropriate action for me to take is to immediately terminate all of my campaign activities. I will immediately begin the process of closing the affairs of my district office in an orderly manner, and will resign my seat in the Texas House of Representatives effective at the time I am sentenced by the court.
“I want to take this opportunity to express my remorse to my colleagues in the Legislature, my friends, and my family for my actions. Most of all, I want to apologize to all the citizens of District 100 for letting them down. It has been an honor to serve you for these last 14 years and I am truly sorry that my actions will prevent me from providing a voice for you in the Legislature. My prayer is that my successor will stand up and fight for the people of our District in the future.
“Because of the ongoing legal proceedings in my case, I will not make any further public statement concerning this matter until the Court has assessed my sentence. I ask that the press respect my request that my family and I not be contacted for any further statement concerning this matter.”