in Houston, Texas
Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole hit with largest ethics fine in state agency's history: Houston Chronicle and KTRK
Wednesday, Jul 15, 2009, 03:40PM CST
By Ann Raber
Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole has been issued the largest fine in the history of the Texas Ethics Commission, the Houston Chronicle reports, after a two-year investigation found that Eversole had used campaign funds inappropriately and reported expenses inaccurately:
Eversole's $75,000 sanction dwarfs the next-highest sanction, a $29,000 penalty slapped on Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht last year for failing to report discounted legal services as a political contribution. No other officeholder has been fined more than $18,000, (an ethics commission) spokesman said.

Among the highlights of the dodgy expenses: collectible firearms and a trip to Florida that Eversole charged to his campaign as a "public relations" expense.
The scrutiny of Eversole began with the KTRK reports, including one revealing he used campaign funds to buy a pistol, a rifle and the Florida vacation at charity auctions. Eversole has said he later donated the pistol to the Texas Ranger museum and gave the rifle to the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for an auction.

Although Eversole says he still believes that the $10,000 Florida trip was a valid campaign expenditure, the Ethics Commission was not convinced.

Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole

The bulk of the trip was called a "charitable donation" because it had been purchased at a charity auction put on by the Astros Wives Association, according to the Texas Ethics Commission's report posted at KTRK-TV Channel 13.

Eversole now must pay back over $41,000, along with the record-breaking fine of $75,000, out of his personal funds.

Those personal funds were grossly deflated in past financial disclosure reports, according to an earlier Houston Chronicle report on the ethics fine:
Eversole also was among a number of officeholders whose true political wealth was revealed to be far more than what showed up in campaign finance reports. When investment holdings were disclosed in late 2007, his war chest grew from $475,000 to $1.8 million.

Bay Area Houston has posted a video clip highlighting what the blog calls Eversole's "wild ramble" about the ethics fines at this week's Commissioners Court meeting.

Contact Ann Raber at or 713-980-9777.
kevin whited
Wednesday, 07/15/2009 - 11:46PM

The headline makes it sound like the Houston Chronicle and KTRK were the fines.

The intern shouldn't go dissing on KTRK that way. :)

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