in Houston, Texas
Galveston County commissioner's side gig as political consultant raises conflict-of-interest questions
Thursday, Apr 12, 2012, 11:44AM CST
By Steve Miller
moon

It’s not just a job, it’s $92,000 a year. Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark says that his elected position, for which he pulls in the 92 G’s, does not conflict with his moonlighting job as a political consultant.

But a complaint to the Texas Ethics Commission alleged that Clark, a Republican, is using his official position to pull information on possible political foes.

The complaint was thrown out, but questions linger.

Clark requested numbers for summary judgments, continuances, plea bargains and statistics on alternative sentencing in the district courts in Galveston County, according to the Galveston Daily News. Was this part of his work as a commissioner? County courts share jurisdiction with district courts, and the county provides support staff for the district courts.

Democrats contend that Clark is seeking information as opposition research on 405th District Court Judge Wayne Mallia, a Republican incumbent squaring off against League City attorney Michelle Slaughter, who is a client of Clark’s consulting firm, Clark Services.

Clark failed to disclose his consulting business in his conflict of information filings with the county in 2006. His company has no registration on file with the state.

What's a little more interesting is that Clark has elected to keep his campaign finance filings a little more private than his colleagues. When you go to the Galveston County Elections Division Web site, where the filings are kept electronically, a message for Clark’s forms awaits.

2011-2012 reports have been withheld from posting on this Website at the request of the person filing. All filings are available at the County Clerk's Office.

Several other county officials did the same thing. Anyone interested in checking them out would have to go down to the courthouse and pull them. 

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of moon by flickr user Firefalcon, used via a Creative Commons license.

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