Monday, November 14, 2011

ZAP! #69: Spinning Ethics

ZAP! #69...November 14, 2011

Well, weasel words don’t seem to spin when dealing with the Texas Ethics Commission. And if you read the following Order and Resolution of a sworn complaint from the commission, you might understand.

VII. Sanction

After considering the violations described under Sections III and IV, including the nature, circumstances, and consequences of the violations, and after considering the sanction necessary to deter future violations, the commission imposes a $2,500 civil penalty.

Do you recall in ER #20 how the CCR detailed the penalties imposed by the ethics commission on Councilmen Stopfer and Philipp? Each had to pay a $1,000 fine for violating campaign finance regulations.

If misery truly loves company, than Councilman Santoscoy could be added to the party by joining Stopfer and Philipp. Santoscoy bested their penalties and has been ordered to pay a $2,500 fine for In-Kind contributions received from the Irving Firemen’s PAC.

Staff of the CCR read and reviewed the campaign finance regulations and let’s face facts...this isn’t rocket science! All a candidate needs to accomplish is report who has contributed (cash, check, loan, In-kind, expenses) on the required forms in a timely manner. If one has difficulty keeping up with just the funds flowing into their campaign, then how comfortable should the citizenry be when all the real weighty financial issues come before the council for decision purposes?

While not part of the ethics commission review, one might wonder what they would rule if major campaign donors were cross-referenced with council votes on items related to the donors.

………………...Mark Holbrook