Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Walk humbly

Senator; it doesn't matter if the fellow who filed the complaint may be from California, if it violates the Texas Ethics Commission rules it violates the rules.

That isn't the issue. Address the issue, refute it, and move on.

Complaints are filed on legislators
By Gary Scharrer: Express-News Austin Bureau

AUSTIN — A California disabled veteran who spends six days a week sifting through campaign finance reports has filed complaints with the Texas Ethics Commission against 10 Texas legislators and 14 judges, ranging from failing to identify campaign donors to using campaign money for personal use.

One of the complaints, for example, takes aim at Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, for dipping into his massive campaign fund for $165,061 worth of Houston Astros, Texans and Rockets games.

The dean of the Texas Senate claims the expense necessary for “constituent entertainment.”

“Does every voter get a free ticket to the ballgame?” wondered Dave Palmer, who filed the complaint. “It's a wonder that the Astros don't ask him to call balls and strikes.”

Whitmire said he's proud of pushing legislation helping Houston's pro sports teams build their stadiums and arenas that stimulate economic development.

Complaints filed:

Palmer filed ethics complaints against 10 legislators and 15 judges after reviewing campaign finance reports. The complaints range from misusing campaign funds for personal use, such as paying for gifts and tickets to sporting events, to failing to name a donor's employer or occupation as required by law.

Legislators:• Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa• Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston• Rep. Yvonne Davis, D-Dallas• Rep. Gary Elkins, R-Houston• Rep. Charles Howard, R-Houston• Rep. Carl Isett, R-Lubbock• Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston• Rep. Joe Crabb, R-Humble• Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston• Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas

Judges:• 134th District Judge Anne Ashby, Dallas• 151st District Judge Caroline Baker, Houston• 55th District Judge Jeffrey Brown, Houston• 10th Court of Appeals, Thomas Gray, Crawford• 12th Court of Appeals Justice Leonard Davis, Tyler• 61st District Judge John Donovan, Houston• 129th District Judge Grant Dorfman, Houston• 197th District Judge Migdalia Lopez, Harlingen• 133rd District Judge Lamar McCorkle, Houston• 98th District Judge Jeanne Meurer, Austin• Senior Judge Margaret Mirabel, Houston• 34th District Judge William Moody, El Paso• 101st District Judge Jay Patterson, Dallas• 1st Court of Appeals Sherry Radack, Houston• 313th District Judge Pat Shelton, Houston

He said he wants to be seen supporting Houston's pro teams and routinely has opportunities to attend the games as guests of others. So he often gives some of his season-ticket games away to Houston firefighters and police officers or other supporters who otherwise might not get a chance to attend, he said. “It's been a win-win.”

“It's a total nonissue by some character out in California, so I don't care what he thinks,” Whitmire said Monday, when the commission received Palmer's complaints.

(try some humility, Senator)