Ethics Explorer A Guide to the Financial Interests of Elected Officials

Sen. Royce West District 23 (D-Dallas)

Industry
Lawyer
Education
B.A., University of Texas at Arlington; M.A., University of Texas at Arlington; J.D., University of Houston
Spouse
Carol
Committees
  • Administration
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Higher Education (Vice-Chair)
Financial Statements

Sources of Income

  • West is an attorney at his own law firm, West & Associates LLP. He is also president of Royce West & Associates PC.

  • West owns and is president of Skyview Development, the company that owns his office building.

  • West has more than 5,000 shares of stock in Apple and Southwest Airlines, and more than 10,000 shares of stock in Energy XXI Gulf Coast Inc. and Sirius XM Holdings.

Property

  • Residential property in Duncanville, valued at $250,000

  • Residential property in Dallas valued at $87,000

  • Vacant lot in DeSoto valued at $121,000

  • Commercial property registered under the name of Skyview Development LLC., valued at $1.2 million

Analysis

  • West was fined $3,000 by the Ethics Commission in 2010 for multiple violations, ranging from improper staff reimbursements and failures to identify donors to a finding that he made improper payments of campaign money to a company he owns, Skyview Development Corporation. West had made payments totaling $12,800 for rent and to lease a sign. The commission suggested he had paid himself too much. West said he accepted full responsibility for the mistakes and used personal funds, not campaign dollars, to pay the fine. 

  • West has earned millions for his law firm doing legal work, largely related to bond financing, for public entities in Dallas County. Among them: Dallas County, the city of Dallas, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Dallas Community College District, the Dallas Independent School District and others. Critics allege West has an unfair advantage because of his role as a senator, and say his legislation impacting DISD in particular leaves the impression he is going to bat for the district — a lucrative client — in the Legislature. West says he has no conflict and notes that he is not the only lawmaker to work for public entities. He told The Dallas Morning News in 2011 that DISD and DART were his clients before he was a senator and that since becoming a senator, he consults with the state Legislative Council whenever there is a potential conflict of interest.

  • Texas Watchdog reported West earned at least $1 million from five public-sector clients in 2008, and nearly $4 million from DISD alone from 2002 to 2008.

  • The Houston Chronicle reported in 2016 that West’s law firm was one of the firms used by the Houston Independent School District to sell $1.9 billion in bond sales. It said the firm didn’t disclose to bond investors that HISD had faced inquiries from federal law enforcement. West’s firm was first used by HISD in February 2013. In April 2013 Darryl Carter, a lobbyist for HISD, told the Chronicle that West “wanted HISD to speak against [West’s] bill, and he would change the bill based on the testimony.” West, who declined to discuss the decision against disclosure, told the Chronicle he didn’t recall talking to any district about speaking out against his bill.

  • In 2016, West and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant — who West had previously served as an attorney for — were involved a legal battle. West had sued Bryant for $60,000, alleging that Bryant had trashed a home he was leasing from West. Bryant filed a suit of his own, accusing West of stealing money from endorsement deals struck with Bryant. A settlement was announced in September 2016.