Ethics Explorer A Guide to the Financial Interests of Elected Officials

Sen. John Whitmire District 15 (D-Houston)

B.A., University of Houston; J.D., University of Houston.
  • Select Committee on Government Facilities
  • Business & Commerce
  • Criminal Justice (Chair)
  • Finance
Financial Statements

Sources of Income

  • Whitmire is an attorney with the Houston law firm Locke Lord Bissell and Liddell, which has a thriving lobby practice that includes multiple clients with interests before the Legislature. Whitmire is also a self-employed attorney.

  • Whitmire has interests in the following businesses: Locke Lord, Surface Properties, Fort Worth Stadium Group, and American Real Estate Investments.


  • Residence in Houston valued at $1.57 million

  • Condo in Austin valued at $416,000

  • Several tracts in Washington County valued at $4.5 million


  • Whitmire has one of the largest campaign funds in Texas, with nearly $7 million in cash on hand as of mid-2016. The Houston Chronicle reported in 2008 that Whitmire had spent more than $165,000 in campaign money for tickets to Astros, Rockets and Texans games as "constituent entertainment." A sworn complaint alleged Whitmire's purchase of the sports tickets, constituent gifts from Tiffany's and other retailers, plus a subscription to satellite radio, constituted unlawful conversion to "personal use" of his campaign money. Whitmire called the expenses "a total non-issue" and said he often gives tickets to police, firefighters and other supporters. The Texas Ethics Commission ruled that the purchases were lawful and dismissed the allegations.

  • Weeks after carrying legislation benefiting the Houston Firemen's Relief and Retirement Fund in 1993, Whitmire was hired to lobby for the system in Washington, according to news reports. That pension fund and three others have retained Whitmire's law firm Locke Lord, via the firm's Austin lobbyist Robert Miller, to advance its interests in Austin. Whitmire has pushed legislation benefiting the pension funds in the Legislature. He has sat on the Pension Review Board, which oversees Texas public pension funds, since 1996. Whitmire says there's a wall of separation between his official duties and his work for Locke Lord.  “I just have very strict rules, between me and the practice, they don’t lobby me, I don’t contact them," Whitmire told The Texas Tribune. "I couldn’t give you a list of their clients if my life depended on it.”

  • Whitmire's daughter Whitney is a registered Texas lobbyist whose clients include AT&T, CenterPoint Energy and Landry's.