Transparency

TEC Rules In Favor of DAT’s Complaint Against Catherine Goodman

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The Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) has affirmed Direct Action Texas’ complaint against Catherine Goodman, former candidate for Tarrant County Probate Court 1.  DAT filed the complaint when we noticed that Goodman had accepted $5,000 over the limit set by the Judicial Fairness Act from a married couple. (For the original article on the complaint click HERE.)

The married couple in question are Dyann and Jere McCully. Dyann McCully is an attorney and a partner at the Blum Firm.  According to their website, they are “the largest estate planning firm in Texas and the largest boutique firm in the United States solely dedicated to estate planning.” McCully and her firm would certainly benefit from a friendly Probate Court Judge.

In her Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, Goodman admits to accepting the contributions, but “swore that she did not accept the contributions knowing they were in excess of the limits.” Goodman also claims that her first knowledge of the violation was DAT’s article. This may be true, but ignorance of the law is not a good habit for a lawyer, and especially not someone seeking to become a judge.

Goodman has allegedly returned the $5,000 contribution and the TEC will not assess a civil penalty. Goodman’s former opponents could still pursue civil damages, however.

Once again DAT has illustrated the importance of constant vigilance. The limitations of the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act are well known but the TEC will not act unless someone files a complaint. Candidates as well as elected officials must be held accountable.

Keller ISD – Swap and Drop or Bait and Switch?

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Keller ISD again is coming to voters asking to increase the tax rate above the max allowed. Apparently, the massive bond money, revenue increases from unprecedented home valuation increases, and long term budget deficits are not enough to cover an apparent inability to spend within their means. They are now planning a tax rate increase so large that it requires taxpayers to vote themselves a larger property tax bill than what we should have to pay. Remember when they did this a few years ago? Voters overwhelmingly said no and then the district punished the voters by limiting bus services.

Over the last several years, the taxpayers in Keller ISD have continued to realize ever increasing and over burdensome property tax increases due to a number of factors.

1. Bonds burdening the district with over $1 billion of debt
2. Long term budget deficits
3. Significant home valuation increases and,
4. Most significant, a school board unwilling to decrease the I&S tax rate so that taxpayers would see little to no increases in their tax bill.

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State Law: Separation of Campaign and State

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According to Facebook photos, Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks’ campaign appears to be using county vehicles for campaign purposes.

The photos show Brooks’ Executive Assistant, Leon Polk, driving and posing with a county vehicle with campaign signs attached. We know that one was used in the 2018 MLK Day Parade in Downtown Fort Worth. The other, based on the date and location of the photo, was presumably used in the 2016 Juneteenth celebration. All elected officials should know that anything publicly funded cannot be used for campaigning. Elected officials must separate campaign and state–public resources cannot be used for campaign purposes.

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The Gloves Come Off in Tax Assessor-Collector Race

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A Tax Assessor-Collector’s race doesn’t usually get much notice, but this year’s Tarrant County four-way match up is attracting a lot of attention as Election Day nears and the gloves come off.

Over the last few days a poll has been running asking voters who they might choose in that race. Those who selected “Mike Snyder” as their candidate were directed to the following question “Would you change your vote if you knew that Mike Snyder does not pay his taxes?” It’s not a new accusation, but who is making it via a push poll? What is the real story?

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Election Conversion

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Henderson County Judge Candidate Jeff Weinstein has apparently converted from Democrat to Republican just in time for his placement on the Republican Primary ballot. In conservative counties like Henderson, liberals know they won’t win as Democrats, so they suddenly switch parties. Weinstein may have donated to President Trump in 2017, but in 2015 and 2016 his donations went to Hillary Clinton, and before that he gave to Obama and Edwards.

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