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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Ethics investigator clears Farenthold

Some good news for a controversial Congressman. Ethics investigators struck a blow Monday to an ex-House staffer’s sexual harassment claims against Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, nine months after the fired communications director filed suit in District of Columbia court. The Office of Congressional Ethics did not find substantial reason to believe Farenthold, 53, sexually harassed […]

How will Paxton pay for his defense?

It’s a tricky question. Paxton faces three felony charges in Collin County, all related to his work as a private attorney and businessman. He told supporters in an email that he expects to be found innocent of all charges. The indictments handed up last month by a grand jury have nothing to do with the […]

Your daily Paxton update

This guy. I can’t even. Despite promising last year to “wind down” his involvement in dozens of real estate and business ventures, Attorney General Ken Paxton continued to expand his holdings in 2014, according to personal financial documents. Paxton pledged during last year’s campaign to begin divesting from his sizable business portfolio and funnel these […]

Paxton’s cronies

This guy really is a piece of work. When seeking a job at the Texas attorney general’s office, it’s less about what is on your résumé than who you know. In Attorney General Ken Paxton’s first weeks in office, he filled his higher ranks with at least 14 people connected to him and other prominent […]

Paxton could be in real trouble

Whoa. The criminal investigation against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has taken a more serious turn, with special prosecutors now planning to present a first-degree felony securities fraud case against him to a Collin County grand jury, News 8 has learned. Special prosecutor Kent Schaffer told News 8 Wednesday afternoon that the Texas Rangers uncovered […]

Abbott vetos Huffman loophole bill

Good. Gov. Greg Abbott has vetoed legislation that would have allowed married elected officials to hide their personal financial business from the prying eyes of Texas voters, according to the author of the legislation. The so-called spousal loophole provision had been tacked as amendments to two bills that were otherwise aimed at increasing disclosure and […]

DPS, investigate thyself

What could possibly go wrong? Set to take over statewide corruption investigations, the Texas Department of Public Safety must decide whether it will investigate itself. In April, DPS Director Steve McCraw demanded that the Travis County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit re-start a probe into a no-bid border-security contract issued by his agency. The director […]

Ethics complaint filed against Sen. Huffman

From the Lone Star Project: The Lone Star Project has learned that a complaint was filed Wednesday with the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) alleging that Republican State Senator Joan Huffman (SD17 – Houston) is in violation of section § 572.023 of the Texas Government Code for failure to disclose a financial interest in 30 business […]

Paxton is all “Whatevs” on the probe against him expanding

What, him worry?. A week after news became public that a Collin County judge had broadened the investigation into Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s alleged securities violations, Paxton downplayed the change, saying he already had addressed the matter. “Same thing as always,” Paxton said of the expanded inquiry. […] Given the widened probe, the case’s […]

On regulating city lobbyists

Still a work in progress, it would seem. Four years after Mayor Annise Parker’s administration tightened Houston’s lobbying rules and pledged to enforce them, not a single person or firm has been cited despite records showing that many lobbyists have failed to abide by the regulations. A Houston Chronicle review of city records and interviews […]

When might Paxton be prosecuted?

Attorney Ty Clevenger thinks the clock may be running out on the grand jury in Collin County. As best I can determine, the limitations deadline for charging Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton with state securities violations is June 14, 2015. If so, that means the grand jury must indict Mr. Paxton at its meeting tomorrow […]

Ethics reform dies its expected death

The only surprise is that it took this long. With no collective will to expose dark money contributions in Texas, a major ethics overhaul was snuffed out in the waning hours of the 2015 legislative session. “It’s dead,” Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, said Saturday afternoon. “When the Senate chose not to include campaign disclosure reform […]

The fallout from the chubfest

Cleaning up some loose ends…The campus carry bill that was the subject of much chubbing passed on final reading. The battle over “campus carry” is headed back to the Texas Senate after House lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to legislation requiring universities in the state to allow concealed handguns on campus. Senate Bill 11 from […]

House chubfest kills several bad bills

Some good news, though as always at the end of a session, the outcome isn’t clean and the details are very murky. As the clock struck midnight, the failure of an anti-abortion initiative — dear to the hearts of the far right — marked the end of a tumultuous day on the floor of the […]

Ken Paxton continues to be an ethical morass

We continue to learn more about just how compromised our Attorney General is. Ken Paxton earned thousands of dollars by referring his private legal clients to a financial adviser now accused of “unethical and fraudulent conduct” by the state, records obtained by The Dallas Morning News show. Paxton, now Texas attorney general, did not tell […]

Stickland responds

He says he did nothing wrong. esponding to claims that he improperly registered witnesses at a committee hearing, state Rep. Jonathan Stickland released a statement Monday standing by his actions. During a Thursday night hearing of the House Transportation Committee, Stickland, R-Bedford, and state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, the committee’s chairman, got into an […]

TPJ refiles complaint against Paxton

We’ll see if they have any better luck this time. Texans for Public Justice on Monday re-filed its criminal complaint against Attorney General Ken Paxton with local prosecutors in Dallas and Collin Counties, arguing the latter should recuse himself because of conflict of interest concerns. “Mr. Paxton’s conduct demands a thorough and independent investigation,” Craig […]

TPJ still wants Paxton investigated

At the very least, they don’t want the matter dropped due to blithe indifference. The head of a public watchdog group said he again will urge law enforcement to launch a probe into Attorney General Ken Paxton’s admitted violation of state security laws after learning that the Collin County District Attorney’s Office, headed by a […]

Bill filing deadline has passed

Believe it or not, we are almost halfway through the legislative session, and we have now passed the point where new bills can be filed. Racing to beat a deadline for filing bills, state lawmakers on Friday submitted hundreds of measures on everything from abolishing the death penalty to the licensing of auctioneers. By the […]

Republicans try again to kill Public Integrity Unit

They might have the votes this time, though as with some other highly publicized “replacement” efforts, their substitute idea lacks a few key elements to make it successful. Under Senate Bill 10 by Sen. Joan Huffman, the attorney general’s office would conduct the initial investigation of complaints against officials, with help from the Texas Rangers. […]

Ethics Commission rejects Bell’s complaint

No go. The Houston Ethics Commission has ruled against mayoral candidate Chris Bell’s complaint that City Hall was letting Rep. Sylvester Turner start the race with a $900,000 head start in fundraising. […] Bell argues that Turner’s legislative account should not be able to transfer more than $10,000 to his mayoral account, the most that […]

The odds never favor ethics reforms

Better to keep your hopes down and not suffer too much disappointment. Gov. Greg Abbott pledged on the campaign trail to lead the charge to improve the state’s ethics laws, and now lawmakers and advocates pushing for reform are looking to the newly elected governor to help breathe life into proposals at the Legislature. Lawmakers […]

Two city race updates

Item one: We have another candidate for Comptroller. Jew Don Boney, who sat on City Council for three terms in the 1990′s, will run for City Controller, he told the Chronicle Wednesday. Boney joins Houston Community College trustee Carroll Robinson and 2013 candidate Bill Frazer in the race for the city’s top financial officer. Two […]

New frontiers in residency requirements

Michael Quinn Sullivan lives exactly where he says he lives, no more and no less. Empower Texans President Michael Quinn Sullivan and the Texas Ethics Commission are scheduled to tangle in state district court in Denton County for the first formal hearing in Sullivan’s appeal of a commission ruling charging him with flouting the law […]

January campaign finance reports – HISD trustees

Four HISD Trustees are up for re-election this year. There are nine Trustees in all, and they serve four-year terms, so in a normal year either four or five are up for re-election. As things stand right now, all four incumbents would be running for re-election, which would be the first time there would be […]

Steve Stockman may leave Congress but his stench will linger

Steve Stockman, ladies and gentlemen. When Rep. Steve Stockman won a long-shot bid in 2012 to return to the House of Representatives, he credited a dream team of tech-savvy volunteers who worked long hours and slept on the floor of a cluttered Webster motorcycle-repair shop that was eventually shut down for building-code violations. At the […]

On being Ron Reynolds

Just because everyone’s out to get you doesn’t mean your behavior is above reproach. To hear Ron Reynolds tell it, the embattled state representative is just plain misunderstood. Over the past decade, Reynolds has been sanctioned twice by the state bar, fined $10,000 by the Texas Ethics Commission, sued a half-dozen times and investigated twice […]

Ken Paxton is still an ethical morass

He’s just now a statewide ethical morass. A state judge will determine whether to revoke the securities license of Frederick Mowery, who was linked to the State Securities Board’s May reprimand of Attorney General-elect Ken Paxton, for allegations that included failure to disclose conflicts of interest, plagiarism and lying to investigators. Mowery was given 20 […]

Abbott’s actions in the Hecht ethics case belie his “just doing my job” evasion

More accurately, it’s his lack of action that speaks clearly about his priorities and discretion. Attorney General Greg Abbott, accused of favoritism in his handling of an ethics case involving a Texas Supreme Court justice, says it’s not his duty to press the case that has sat idle for two years. That reasoning, however, doesn’t […]

Gary Elkins thumbs his nose at local payday lending ordinances

Such a fine example he sets. As a member of the Texas House of Representatives, Houston Republican Gary Elkins helps make laws. As a businessman, he is an owner of a chain of payday lending stores accused of breaking them. Elkins opposed payday lending regulations during the 2011 and 2013 legislative sessions, arguing members should […]

Chron overview of the AG race

Couple of interesting tidbits in here. A tea party darling with a dozen years in the state Legislature, Sen. Ken Paxton has avoided the media since admitting to a third-degree felony violation of state securities law in late April. Spokesman Anthony Holm serves as his gatekeeper – even once physically blocking a reporter from approaching […]

TPJ files suit against Abbott over Hecht ethics case

Here we go again. An Austin legal watchdog group filed suit Wednesday to force action on a $29,000 ethics fine, levied against Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht in 2008, that has languished on appeal for 5½ years. The motion from Texans for Public Justice seeks to remove Attorney General Greg Abbott from the […]

Endorsement watch: Sweep for Sam Houston

The Houston Chronicle endorses Sam Houston, completing a sweep of the big papers for the Democratic candidate for Attorney General. Democratic candidate Sam Houston is the best choice on the ballot. A graduate of Baylor Law School and candidate for Texas Supreme Court in 2008, Houston is more than just a famous name (though it […]

Empower Texans could have some tax problems

Schadenfreude alert: Empower Texans, an organization at the center of the state’s far-right conservative movement, reported no political expenses on its 2012 tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service, despite showing $350,000 in campaign expenditures to state authorities, documents show. The group, which claims to support fiscal responsibility and greater transparency in government, is best […]