Davis Corrects Omissions in Ethics Disclosures

Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott speaks at a NE Tarrant Tea Party meeting at Concordia Lutheran Church in Bedford on Nov. 12. State Sen. Wendy Davis, who is also running for governor, speaks to veterans at Luby's in Forest Hill the day before.
Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott speaks at a NE Tarrant Tea Party meeting at Concordia Lutheran Church in Bedford on Nov. 12. State Sen. Wendy Davis, who is also running for governor, speaks to veterans at Luby's in Forest Hill the day before.

State Sen. Wendy Davis has filed a corrected personal financial statement containing information that had been left off of a previous report, including her partnership position in a Fort Worth law firm and some dividend income, new records show.

In a corrected filing with the Texas Ethics Commission and published online by The Texas Tribune, Davis, a Democrat running for Texas governor, said she had inadvertently failed to disclose her rank as partner in the firm Newby Davis under the section requiring candidates to list "boards and executive positions." Her association with the firm was disclosed as required in other areas on the form.

Davis created the law firm with Brian Newby, a former chief of staff to Republican Gov. Rick Perry. Newby is a registered Austin lobbyist. Davis' work on behalf of public-sector clients has drawn criticism from opponents who say she is using her official position to advance her private interests. Davis says she steers clear of conflicts of interest. 

The omissions and other allegedly flawed disclosures on her personal financial statement were the subject of ethics complaints filed by conservatives in recent weeks. Davis spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña said the senator corrected the reports after reviewing her past filings.

“During internal review of her PFS by her legal counsel, Senator Davis learned that she needed to update her filing to reflect interest earned on two personal bank accounts and to reflect her position at Newby Davis as a partner with the firm,” Acuña said. “Senator Davis immediately updated her filing to resolve these minor technical problems, and did so well within the 14-day period allowed by the Texas Ethics Commission to correct 'good faith errors' of this nature.”

The campaign of Davis’ expected Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, said the senator should have amended the reports before the omissions generated complaints.

“Only after Senator Davis’ hand was caught in the cookie jar did she reluctantly choose to amend her ethics report. Texans deserve leaders that are open and transparent, and this is one more disappointing example of Senator Davis not being forthright with the voters,” said Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch. “Beyond misleading Texans about her ethics filings, Senator Davis has continued to refuse to disclose the contracts of her government and public sector clients. These are taxpayer funds, and taxpayers deserve to know the facts as required by law. What else is Senator Davis hiding?”

The Tribune reported on the controversy about Davis’ legal business in September 2012, when the issue arose in her successful Senate re-election bid. At the time, Davis, citing attorney-client privilege, declined to release a full list of her public-sector clients. She has since said she would seek permission from the clients to provide more information about them, but her campaign did not say Tuesday when the information would be released.

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