in Houston, Texas
Picking a lunch spot today? Harris County commissioners refuel their campaign teams at these places
Wednesday, Mar 14, 2012, 12:05PM CST
By Steve Miller

Harris County has many fine dining establishments, and some of the most qualified people to rank those eateries are our elected officials. Among the perks of holding a political office is the campaign contribution. These can be spent rather freely, and several Harris County commissioners seem to really enjoy that expense account.

None among the group enjoys it more than Steve Radack, whose campaign in the last six months of 2011 spent $7,180 on food, an average of $40 a day including weekends and holidays.This includes meals at Del Frisco’s, Treebeard’s and Ciao Bello. His favorite is  Denis Seafood House, where he or others on his campaign dined twice in three days in August, racking up a total of $309.69.

County Judge Ed Emmett also likes his food, ringing up $6,257 in grindage charges from July through December. Among his favorites: Antica Osteria, an Italian eatery where the campaign spent $551.69. Emmett also likes to treat his staffers to coffee. A lot of coffee, as in $638 worth from Community Coffee.

The others are pikers compared to Emmett and Radack, although El Franco Lee, who spent $3,306 on food in the last six months of 2011, really enjoys Carrabbas on Kirby, where he spent $1,130.64. Commissioner R. Jack Cagle was appointed in October to take the spot of shamed commissioner Jerry Eversole, who was forced to resign amidst corruption allegations, so he has yet to report.

And we have to worry about Commissioner Jack Morman. He spent all of $920 on food, in one day at Ernie’s Café and Catering for an election judges' breakfast. Notably he's the only commissioner to lay down serious change for grub east of I-45. Here’s hoping he catches on.

See the reports for Radack, Emmett, Morman and Lee, and their favored spots in the map below.

View Harris County commissioners' campaign meals in a larger map

Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or

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Photo of steak by flickr user ceonyc, used via a Creative Commons license.

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Wednesday, 03/14/2012 - 07:11PM

What a stupid story. I mean really, its their money, not county money.

Arnold Babar
Monday, 03/19/2012 - 08:48AM

If you think it's unimportant, then you miss the point. Campaign contributions shouldn't be used to fund boondoggles, Texans and rodeo tickets, legal defense and charitable contributions (don't get me wrong, charity is good but unethical from campaign contributions). The money should be used for campaigns and have a limited shelf life. Lax campaign finance rules and lack of term limits are why we have a group of trolls running county government that would otherwise be extinct.

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