The Texas Tribune Ethics Explorer is an interactive tool to help educate citizens on the degree to which elected officials’ personal interests conflict with the public interest when passing bills and setting policy. It is the linchpin of the Tribune’s Bidness As Usual project — a session-long look at ethics and transparency in Texas’ part-time Legislature — and was created with the generous support of the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
The data application includes extensive research on 180 of the current members of the Texas Legislature, plus the governor and lieutenant governor and a selection of statewide elected officials. It details everything from the official's employment history and financial records to stock holdings, property listings, campaign finance data and ethics investigations. It also contains reporter analysis — compiled over the course of the last year — into legislation filed and votes taken that could conflict with the official's personal or financial interests.
Sources of information for this project include personal financial disclosure reports, ethics filings, civil and criminal court records, legislative reference materials, Secretary of State business filings, central appraisal district data, campaign contributions and archival news articles, among other tools.
While it is comprehensive, the Ethics Explorer isn’t complete; reporters will continue to update it over the course of the 83rd legislative session and beyond.
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