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Breaking: Ethics Complaint Filed Against Sen. Joan Huffman
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Breaking News: Ethics Complaint Cites Senator Huffman’s Failure to Disclose Assets

Sen. Huffman authored amendment creating massive disclosure loophole

The Lone Star Project has learned that a complaint was filed Wednesday with the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) alleging that Republican State Senator Joan Huffman (SD17 – Houston) is in violation of section § 572.023 of the Texas Government Code for failure to disclose a financial interest in 30 business entities controlled by her husband, Keith Lawyer. The complaint can be seen here.
 
Current Texas law requires state elected officials to report their financial holdings and activities as well as those of their spouses and any dependent children. Also according to the Texas Ethics Commission, a filer must report information about community property on their state disclosure documents—including any businesses formed by a spouse during the marriage. According to the complaint, Huffman has repeatedly failed to disclose her husband’s business interests.
 

Huffman’s Personal Loophole Amendment

Anyone wondering why Joan Huffman filed an amendment in the closing weeks of the legislative session that carves out a loophole to eliminate the requirement that spousal assets be disclosed now has an answer. Huffman’s amendment was about Joan Huffman and giving her cover for an ongoing violation of state law.
 
If Governor Abbott signs the bill containing the Huffman amendment into law, state officials will be able to hide assets through their spouses, opening a massive loophole for lawmakers to engage in conflicts of interest by accepting gifts and income sources in the name of a husband or wife. No one should think it won’t happen. Former State Representative Linda Harper-Brown drove a luxury Mercedes-Benz provided by a lobbyist, but registered in the name of Harper-Brown's spouse.
                               

Huffman Owes Texans Answers

It’s clear enough that Senator Huffman knows she violated Texas ethics requirements by failing to report her husband’s business interests. Instead of coming clean, amending her personal finance statements and paying whatever fine would be levied, she used her position as a state senator to create a personal loophole shielding her from disclosure.
 
If signed into law, the Huffman loophole opens up a gateway for corruption. Joan Huffman is a former prosecutor. She owes her constituents and all Texans a clear explanation as to why she hid the financial activities of her spouse and gave a green light to corrupt conflicts of interest across our state.
 

Statement from Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle:

"Instead of complying with Texas law, Joan Huffman has violated it by hiding personal assets.  Huffman then brazenly wrote into law her own personal loophole to hide her crime.  The Huffman loophole is a dream come true for corrupt state leaders.
 
"Yesterday, Texas Ethics Commissioner Jim Clancy said that 'disclosure is the only protection that exists in the state, and it's under assault'. Huffman's personal loophole is a direct shot at Texas' ethics laws, and it’s only purpose is to protect corrupt politicians."


Matt Angle is the Founder and Director of the Lone Star Project, a Texas Democratic PAC.
June 12, 2015
Contact: Matt Angle
972-885-9440
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