Tribpedia: Texas Ethics Commission

The Texas Ethics Commission is responsible for administering and enforcing sections of the election code and other statutory provisions generally governing politics and ethics in the state.

Among its key duties is the collecting and maintaining of records related to political fundraising and spending, lobbying activity reports and the filing of personal financial disclosure statements by state elected officials and ...

Analysis: Is Attorney General Ken Paxton Feeling Lucky?

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is shown at a news conference in Austin on Jan. 13, 2016, to announce a new unit of the attorney general’s office dedicated to combating human trafficking.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is shown at a news conference in Austin on Jan. 13, 2016, to announce a new unit of the attorney general’s office dedicated to combating human trafficking.

It’s possible to imagine a way for the attorney general to raise money for a legal defense fund, but it’s perilous without a favorable advisory opinion from ethics regulators. And they decided this week not to approve such an opinion.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at an open government conference in San Marcos on Dec. 9, 2015.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at an open government conference in San Marcos on Dec. 9, 2015.

Analysis: Ken Paxton's Legal Complications Multiply

Nobody’s going to force you to feel sorry for Ken Paxton, but the Republican attorney general’s political persecutions have turned into criminal prosecutions. The investigations, inquiries and folklore that started during the 2014 primary that vaulted him into office didn’t stop when he was elected.

Governor Perry delivers a final speech to a joint session of the Texas legislature on Jan. 15, 2015.
Governor Perry delivers a final speech to a joint session of the Texas legislature on Jan. 15, 2015.

Texas Gets a D- in 2015 State Integrity Investigation

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Texas ranked 38th out of 50 in the latest State Integrity Investigation, a national assessment of government accountability and transparency. That suggests that the nation’s second-largest state may be heading in the wrong direction when it comes to ethics and other measures of government integrity.

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to reporters at the Security Operations Center at the Department of Public Safety on May 12, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to reporters at the Security Operations Center at the Department of Public Safety on May 12, 2015.

Analysis: Taking Stock of the Ethics Session

The governor asked lawmakers to put ethics reform at center stage this year. They filed bills. They even voted in favor of some strong restrictions on lobbyists' and officeholders' official behavior. But most of it never got to Greg Abbott's desk.

Gov. Greg Abbott delivering his State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott delivering his State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.

In Texas, a Collapse of Ethics Reform

When the gavel comes down on the 2015 legislative session on Monday, lawmakers will have considered, but ultimately failed to pass into law, about two dozen different proposals aimed at curbing conflicts of interest and shining light into the dark corners of the Capitol.

State Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston, on the House floor on May 4, 2013.
State Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston, on the House floor on May 4, 2013.

Ethics Reform: A Guide to What's Still Alive

Now that the massive overhaul contained in Senate Bill 19 has gone on life support, a few targeted efforts to shine the light on conflicts of interest and enhance transparency remain viable in the waning days of the session. Here's a guide to what's moving and what's not.

Gov. Greg Abbott annouces several emergency legislative items in his first State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott annouces several emergency legislative items in his first State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.

Analysis: Ethics at Center Stage, Hurting for Attention

In February, Gov. Greg Abbott asked lawmakers to dedicate this legislative session to ethics reform. With only two weeks left, he's still waiting. The most significant changes being proposed still haven’t been considered by the Texas House.

State Rep. Chris Turner, left, on the House floor during a budget debate on March 31, 2015.
State Rep. Chris Turner, left, on the House floor during a budget debate on March 31, 2015.

House Shoots Down Increased Financial Disclosures

The Texas House shot down a bill Monday night that would have increased the level of detail in personal financial statements filed by lawmakers and other state officials, criticizing the measure as overly complex and burdensome.

State Sen. Wendy Davis speaking to the press after a Travis County Democratic campaign rally on Oct. 22, 2014.
State Sen. Wendy Davis speaking to the press after a Travis County Democratic campaign rally on Oct. 22, 2014.

Wendy Davis Fined $5,000 for Ethics Violation

The Texas Ethics Commission has fined former state Sen. Wendy Davis $5,000 after finding "credible evidence" she failed to disclose her relationship with two lobbyists on financial disclosure forms filed during her 2012 re-election campaign. 

State Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, at a Tribune event on Dec. 11, 2014.
State Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, at a Tribune event on Dec. 11, 2014.

Senate Strengthens and Passes Ethics Bill

The Senate voted in often odd coalitions to reveal more about the money members make, prohibit themselves from immediately becoming lobbyists, post their financial statements online and even subject themselves and other elected officials to drug testing.

State Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, talks with a member on the House floor on May 16, 2011.
State Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, talks with a member on the House floor on May 16, 2011.

Ethics Legislation Headed to Senate Floor

A heavily watered-down ethics reform bill will soon be taken up by the full Senate. Lawmakers on Monday rejected an amendment that would have required legislators to publicly disclose their tax returns each year.

 

 

Politicians Pick New Way to Get Prosecuted

State politicians, high court judges and top bureaucrats would get public corruption cases against them moved to their home counties under a controversial bill that cleared the Texas House on Monday, prompting complaints that the Legislature is attempting to rig the game in favor of the politically connected. 

 

State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth; Gov. Greg Abbott; and state Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano.
State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth; Gov. Greg Abbott; and state Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano.

Senate Ethics Reform Bill Heavily Watered Down

Proposed ethics reform legislation underwent a significant overhaul Thursday in a Senate committee. Gone is the plan to take lucrative state pensions from lawbreaking lawmakers. Also out: a proposal to stop legislators from cashing in on a piece of the public debt business. 

Republican activist Michael Quinn Sullivan visits at the State Republican Convention trade show on June 6, 2014.
Republican activist Michael Quinn Sullivan visits at the State Republican Convention trade show on June 6, 2014.

Judge Reaffirms Dismissal of Ruling Against Activist

A new judge Wednesday reaffirmed the dismissal of a ruling by the Texas Ethics Commission against conservative powerbroker Michael Quinn Sullivan. Last year, the commission fined Sullivan for failing to register as a lobbyist in 2010 and 2011.