The Texas Values in Action Coalition says it has filed a complaint with the state Ethics Commission charging that state Rep. Linda Harper-Brown failed to report her use of a Mercedes-Benz E550 given to her husband by a company with state transportation contracts.
Here is a copy of the complaint. Tim Sorrells, a spokesman for the Ethics Commission, said just a few moments ago that state law prohibits the commission from acknowledging the receipt of complaints like this one.
The Dallas Morning News, which has described the coalition as a support group for Democrats, their candidates and their causes, reported today the complaint contends that Harper-Brown, R-Irving, ought to have made a financial disclosure of the car in her required reporting to the Ethics Commission.
Harper-Brown has said she violated no state laws or ethics rules because the car was one of two given to her husband to use at his discretion by a company that will do $2.9 million in business this year with the Texas Department of Transportation. The lawmaker, however, has said she will no longer use the car.
Texas Watchdog has for a year written critically about the language of the ethics rules which includes a gaping "spousal loophole" that allows lawmakers vast latitude in deciding on the separation of and reporting on income, property and gifts in the families of elected officials.
Mark Lisherson can be reached at 512-299-2318 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.