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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Who watches the fox while he guards the henhouse?

The Railroad Commission needs an ethics upgrade. The race for Texas railroad commissioner has revived — at least in the short term — debate around a series of thwarted legislative proposals to overhaul the state’s curiously named oil and gas agency. Calling the Railroad Commission too heavily influenced by the industry it regulates, Steve Brown, […]

Sam Houston enters the chemical disclosure fray

From the inbox: Sam Houston, Democratic Nominee for Texas Attorney General, today promised to reverse the current AG’s letter ruling on the release of the locations of dangerous chemicals, putting the safety of our families and children first. “I have reviewed the law that General Abbott cited when his office upheld the state health department’s […]

The Trib on the AG race

What do you do when you have an ethically compromised candidate on your ticket? Thank your lucky stars that you’re the majority party and hope like hell the challenger can’t get any traction. A political candidate’s troubles are supposed to be a gold mine for the opposition, but that has not been the case with […]

Steve Stockman ethics update

He still doesn’t have any, but I’m talking about the investigation into his highly questionable campaign finance activity. The House Ethics Committee extended its probe into U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman on Wednesday, releasing a report detailing allegations that he tried to cover up illegal campaign contributions from people who worked in his congressional office at […]

Steve Stockman’s ongoing FEC issues

“Steve Stockman” and “ethical issues” go together like peanut butter and jelly. For a congressman who has overseen four campaign committees in two decades, Rep. Steve Stockman is having a hard time dissolving his troubled congressional campaign. Now a lame duck, the Clear Lake Republican first tried on April 16 to terminate Friends of Congressman […]

Why isn’t Ken Paxton releasing his tax returns?

This DMN story is actually about how Sen. Ken Paxton, currently in a runoff for the GOP nomination for Attorney General after leading the field in March, has done pretty well for himself as a lawyer since his initial election to the Legislature, but I kind of got hung up on the bit about his […]

Paxton gets a slap on the wrist

That’s it??? State Sen. Ken Paxton, a Republican candidate for Texas attorney general, violated the Texas Securities Act by soliciting investment clients without being registered as required by law, according to a disciplinary order made public Friday. Under the order from the Texas State Securities Board, Paxton was “reprimanded” and fined $1,000. He is also […]

Stockman being investigated for ethics issues

Raise your hand if you’re the least bit surprised by this. The House ethics committee is inquiring into the campaign finances of Rep. Steve Stockman, the Clear Lake Republican who has been questioned repeatedly over the last year about misreported campaign contributions and deficient disclosures. A spokesman for Stockman acknowledged the inquiry Friday, and the […]

Paxton’s disclosure issues

Oopsie. State Sen. Ken Paxton, the leading Republican candidate for attorney general, has launched an internal review of his disclosures to state regulatory authorities and the Texas Ethics Commission to determine whether he violated any laws by failing to report several business and professional relationships. Paxton launched the review after The Texas Tribune obtained 2006 […]

You can’t stop Dave Wilson

You can only hope to restrain him. The battle over whether Dave Wilson is actually a Houston Community College trustee could come to a head on Thursday when the 67-year-old tries to take the seat behind the District II placard on the board’s dais. “I’m going to represent the citizens of my district,” Wilson said […]

The Marshall legacy

The Chron has a story that looks back on the long career of outgoing HISD Trustee Larry Marshall. No question, Marshall was a star as an educator, and left an indelible mark on HISD thanks to the well-regarded magnet school program that he helped create. He should be riding off into the sunset amid hosannas […]

HCC Trustee Carroll Robinson being investigated

Great. Houston Community College has hired a law firm to investigate an accusation that trustee Carroll Robinson tried to steer part of a multimillion dollar construction contract to a company owned by a close friend, according to HCC records and interviews. HCC, one of the largest community colleges in the nation, has been plagued in […]

Judge Pratt update

The most embattled Family Court judge in Harris County is still on the ballot, in case you were wondering. Embattled state District Court Judge Denise Pratt, accused of falsifying court records to cover up tardy rulings, intends to remain on the ballot to face the voters, her lawyer says. In late October, the Harris County […]

The oldest established permanent floating ethics probe in the state

The Chief Justice of our State Supreme Court, ladies and gentlemen. Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, already the longest-serving member of the state’s highest civil court, has the dubious distinction of owning another record: the longest running appeal of a state ethics fine. With the case dragging into its fifth year, watchdog groups […]

Rest of Larry Marshall lawsuit dismissed

That’s that. The three-year legal drama involving HISD trustee Larry Marshall has ended after a federal judge again ruled against a construction contractor alleging it was harmed by a bribery scheme. U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison agreed last week to dismiss two companies being sued along with Marshall. The decision essentially closes the case, barring […]

Federal lawsuit against HISD and Trustee Larry Marshall dismissed

Good, I guess. A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a three-year-old bribery lawsuit against the Houston school district and trustee Larry Marshall, ending the prospect of a high-profile jury trial. U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison ruled in part that the construction contractor that sued lacked standing because the company did not prove it suffered financially. […]

Lisa Falkenberg profiles Dave Wilson

I’m very glad to see some coverage of Dave Wilson that includes relevant information about who he is. Narrow-minded bigot. Homophobic hate-meister. Political mischief-maker. Given all the unkind labels Dave Wilson has incurred over the years, I wasn’t sure what kind of ghoul I’d encounter when I called Friday to talk about Wilson’s latest stunt: […]

Keller accepts a plea deal on ethics charge

She gets off pretty lightly, if you ask me. Sharon Keller, the state’s top criminal court judge, has reached a deal to substantially reduce a record $100,000 fine levied by the Texas Ethics Commission for failing to fully disclose millions of dollars of real estate and income in financial statements. Under the settlement, released Friday, […]

Perry goes on a veto spree

Here’s the full list. Among the victims are the omnibus ethics bill HB217, thus giving Allen Blakemore his fondest wish; two bills aimed at reducing the number of standardized tests some students must take, one of which will make William McKenzie happy; SB15, which would have placed new limits on the power of the University […]

Why stop at one veto of an ethics bill?

Why not veto them all? Allen Blakemore has launched an effort to recruit about 30 fellow Republican political consultants and their clients to push the governor to veto the omnibus ethics bill. Blakemore, who lobbies for the Conservative Republicans of Texas and Houston conservative crusader Steven Hotze, said his concern is a requirement to disclose […]

Perry vetoes “dark money” bill

Not a surprise. Gov. Rick Perry has vetoed a divisive measure that would have forced some tax-exempt, politically active nonprofits to disclose their donors. That effectively kills the measure for this session; lawmakers stripped a similar amendment from an Ethics Commission reform bill on Friday. In his veto statement — the first of the session […]

Dark money

It’s a small step, if it’s allowed to be taken, but the bill to require donor disclosure on so-called “dark money” is a step in the right direction. Senate Bill 346 takes direct aim at the cloak of anonymity that currently shields so-called “dark money” groups – those tax-exempt organizations whose donors drop big bucks […]

Is this the end for the Railroad Commission?

For the name, I mean, not the Commission itself. After 40 minutes of discussion about a bill that would rename the Railroad Commission of Texas and make other significant changes to the agency that regulates the oil and gas industry, the Senate passed the measure Thursday with a 21-0 vote. Senate Bill 212, carried by […]

Legislative quick hits

This is the time of the session where there’s lots happening, and there isn’t always the time or space to stay on top of it all. So here are a few quick updates on things that are happening in an attempt to at least not be too far behind. A bill to give Tesla Motors […]

Tell us more about these HCC concerns

The Chron expresses some concerns about recent happenings with the HCC Board of Trustees. As many longtime Houston residents are well aware, HCC has too frequently been plagued by problems involving the approval of contracts to board members’ supporters and relatives. Our endorsement of the bond issue was conditioned on the assurance that such problems […]

More from the Larry Marshall files

This guy is a piece of work. HISD trustee Larry Marshall, fresh off a two-day school board retreat, flew from Houston to Tampa, Fla., on a clear winter day to watch the 2009 Super Bowl in Raymond James Stadium. Cheap seats for the match-up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals cost $500 each, […]

On conflicts of interest

Many members of the Texas Legislature have conflicts of interest, or at least they would if the rules on such in the Lege were more clear. Advocates of a part-time legislature say the system keeps lawmakers in touch with their constituents. Lawmakers are expected to serve their communities, and check their personal interests at the […]

Why the HISD Board of Trustees needed stricter ethics rules

Ladies and gentlemen, Trustee Larry Marshall. HISD trustee Larry Marshall voted repeatedly to award taxpayer-funded contracts to companies that hired his longtime business associate – who gave him a cut of her earnings, according to court records, deposition testimony and interviews. Marshall, the Houston Independent School District’s most senior trustee, has received tens of thousands […]

Judicial Q&A: Michele Petty

Note: As I have done in years past, I am conducting written Q&As with judicial candidates. This one is a little different in that the questions were originally asked by someone else, but the idea is the same. Further explanation after the post. 1. Please explain why voters should elect you over your opponent. Justice […]

HISD board passes ethics reform

It was a unanimous vote at Thursday’s board meeting. Under the new rules, which will be finalized next month, trustees will have to abstain from voting on deals involving vendors who contributed at least $500 to their political campaigns the prior year. District contractors also will be barred from donating to trustees during the competitive […]

HISD board to vote on ethics reform

Good. Houston ISD trustees would have to abstain from voting on deals involving big campaign donors and disclose potential conflicts of interest with a wider range of vendors under new policies up for consideration Thursday. The board has been working on changes to its ethics rules since tabling a decision last November, and questions remain […]

The Green blues

First there was this. City Controller Ron Green, Houston’s top elected money manager and self-described watchdog, is seeking leniency for a five-time convicted felon and contractor who masterminded an elaborate real estate and forgery scam targeting the city’s historically African-American neighborhoods. Green is asking a judge for probation for his friend and former next-door neighbor […]

HISD takes another crack at ethics reform

Good luck. Houston school trustees on Thursday renewed serious talks about tightening their ethics rules after failing to agree on new policies late last year. The proposed changes, meant to restore public confidence that the Houston Independent School District is hiring the best contractors without undue influence, also could affect trustees’ political campaign coffers. Trustees […]

County Attorney report on Constables

County Attorney Vince Ryan has completed a report his office began in December to examine some of the practices in the Constables’ offices. At that time, the FBI was investigating and was on the verge of arresting now-former Constable Jack Abercia, while Constables Victor Trevino and May Walker were being investigated by the District Attorney […]