in Houston, Texas
Group opposing Joe Straus as Texas House speaker in next week's vote files ethics complaints
Thursday, Jan 06, 2011, 10:27AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
state Capitol

Quite often while engaging in its valuable work investigating violations of the state's ethics laws, the Texas Ethics Commission must wade nose-deep in rank pools of political retribution. May we suggest colorful floaties for this next mission?


Combing deeply through the legally required campaign contribution filings of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, a coalition of people who do not believe Straus is fit to be the speaker has uncovered what they say are nearly 250 of every manner of contribution, disclosure and procedural violation, according to a story in the San Antonio Express-News today.

The validity of any, some or all of the complaints made by a group called the Texas Ethics Advisory Board is likely to come months after the fate of the speaker's seat has already been determined.

Blog post space does not permit us to outline every charge, although 213 of them involve not describing specifically enough goods and services purchased with campaign money. The Advisory Board alleges Straus accepted 29 illegal corporate donations to his campaign. Straus' political committee, Texans For Joe Straus, failed to disclose occupations or employers for major campaign contributors or to fully report the purpose of travel outside of Texas, according to the complaints.

Dutifully, spokesfolks for Straus said the reports were properly filed and that those making the accusations had political rather than ethical reasons for filing their complaints. And as he always does in these cases, Tim Sorrells, the Ethics Commission spokesman, said he is not allowed to comment on a pending complaint.


Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or

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Photo of Texas state Capitol by flickr user neohippie, used via a Creative Commons license.

William Elmer
Sunday, 04/10/2011 - 04:31PM

Once the letter, "Notice of Complaint" goes out to the officeholder, that officeholder is 99 percent likely to have to fix his/her reports. Watchdog, who we respect, needs to take this fact into account. Further, though we might have disliked the vote for Straus, it is a bellwether of performance in political office if a candidate has 250 errors. Straus' record is too left leaning. The right is at work eliminating performers like Straus; viz., the last November election.

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