Ethics Explorer A Guide to the Financial Interests of Elected Officials

Sen. Joan Huffman District 17 (R-Houston)

Industry
Lawyer
Education
B.A., Louisiana State University; J.D., South Texas School of Law
Spouse
Keith
Committees
  • Criminal Justice (Vice-Chair)
  • Finance
  • State Affairs (Chair)
Financial Statements

Sources of Income

  • Joan Huffman has served as a prosecutor and a felony court judge in Harris County.

  • Her husband, Keith Lawyer, is the president of Western Entertainment Management and BC Squared.

  • Her husband owns more than 10,000 shares of stock in 15 companies individually, including Keith LP Club Management, Lafayette Club Management, Louisiana Club Management, Western Entertainment Management and Energy Transfer Equity. He has business interests in 34 companies listed under the office address of Western Entertainment Management in Houston. He sold more than 10,000 shares of McCann Road Real Estate Ventures stock in 2015.

Property

  • Residential property in Houston, valued at $3.9 million

Analysis

  • Huffman had previously not reported her husband’s companies on her financial disclosure forms because she does not have actual control over his businesses. During the 2015 legislative session, Huffman amended an ethics bill, HB 3511, to exclude spousal businesses from being reported in legislators’ financial statements if the legislator has no control or interest in the business him or herself. Governor Greg Abbott vetoed the bill, saying that it “weakens the ethics laws governing officeholder financial disclosures.” Huffman told the Tribune that the change was needed to clarify an “unclear” rule adopted by the Texas Ethics Commission. Huffman has begun listing her husband’s businesses in her disclosure forms. She said she always follows ethics laws and said that she pushed the spousal exemption amendment to rein in an ethics commission rule that she says went beyond what the law requires.

  • Horse-racing advocates expressed concerns about a letter to the Texas Racing Commission from the Senate Republican Caucus, which Huffman chairs. They say the law firm that represents the owner of the Golden Nugget casino chain helped draft some of the wording. Locke Lord is a campaign donor to Huffman, who said she has used the firm’s services. She told the Tribune that Locke Lord is knowledgeable about such legislative issues and its participation did not influence the caucus’ position.