There’s something missing from today’s Chronicle story about “dozens of lawmakers” who have failed properly to report credit card expenses charged to their campaigns:
The Texas Ethics Commission has fined three legislators in the last year for failing to properly disclose credit card expenses charged to their campaigns, but a Houston Chronicle review has found that dozens of other lawmakers have done the same without being sanctioned.
Texas legislators slapped down the plastic to charge more than $1 million in political expenses since January 2005, but failed to disclose who actually received the bulk of the money, nearly $900,000, the analysis shows.
The Chronicle’s review of ethics commission records between Jan. 1, 2005, and June 30 found few complying with a 1981 law that requires disclosure of the person or company that receives a credit card payment and the purpose of the expense.
As several Chron.com commenters also noticed, what’s missing is the actual report, so we can see who the “dozens of lawmakers” are. Named in the story are eight legislators, four Republicans and four Democrats, but nowhere in the body of the story, on the sidebar, or even in the Texas Politics blog is there a link to the Chron’s analysis.
Two Houston representatives are named in the Chron’s story: Rep. Rick Noriega and Rep. Garnet Coleman. Rep. Coleman blamed his lack of compliance on his 72-year-old mother’s inability to understand the electronic filing software (maybe he needs an accountant?), while a consultant for Rep. Noriega said half the charges occurred while Noriega’s wife was serving in his stead when he was in Afghanistan, and that Noriega himself discovered the lack of compliance and amended his filings.
Now, when will the Chron post the full analysis? Sunshine is always a good thing when it comes to government.