MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…

MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…

Sloppy Sid

Sid Miller is in trouble again. The agriculture commissioner was fined $2,750 last week after two complaints were filed by the Texas Ethics Commission accusing him of improper accounting during his 2014 campaign, according to the Texas Tribune. Miller was slapped with $2,500 for violations in reporting political contributions and expenditures leading up to his May 2014 primary runoff election win, when he claimed in disclosures that he had about $19,300 in his campaign account. However, his bank account actually showed Miller had more than $53,300. The commission also fined Miller $250 for messing up his January 2013 campaign finance report. Miller’s campaign spokesman Todd Smith told the Tribune on Saturday that the investigation was “nothing more than a politically motivated witch hunt,” and said the commission fixated on “very minor technical issues.”  Smith added, “We believe that this was a two-and-a-half-year waste of time—of taxpayer money and resources—to investigate what where politically motivated complaints. This is one additional example of why the Texas Ethics Commission should be renamed the Texas Compliance Commission.” Miller has previously misused campaign funds for a trip to a rodeo in Mississippi and on a trip to Oklahoma, where he received a pseudo-scientific treatment called the “Jesus Shot.” Miller repaid the state for those incidents.

Surveys Say

Texans weighed in on the bathroom bill and immigration laws in a new poll from the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Tribune. According to the survey, most Texans don’t really care about a law restricting bathroom use for transgender people. Only 44 percent of respondents rated bathroom legislation as “important,” while 47 percent said it was “not important.” But the divide over the bill is sharp among Democrats and Republicans. The survey shows that 54 percent of Republican respondents said bathroom legislation is important, but just 35 percent of Democrats answered the same. A whopping 70 percent of tea party voters said bathroom legislation is important. Meanwhile, over in the immigration survey, 58 percent of respondents supported laws requiring local police to work with federal immigration authorities, and 53 percent supported giving local police the right to check immigration status. Support for the “show me your papers” provision was sharply divided along racial lines. 59 percent of Hispanic voters and 57 percent of black voters opposed it, while 64 percent of white voters gave their support.

Crystal Corruption

The local leaders that made Crystal City “the most corrupt little town in America” are set to go to trial on Monday, more than a year after one hundred agents flooded the tiny South Texas city and rounded up the entire political leadership, save for one city councilman, on charges of corruption. Former city manager and city attorney James Jonas III and former mayor Ricardo Lopez go to trial this week before a federal judge in Del Rio on charges that include bribery, wire fraud and conspiracy, related to accusations that they accepted bribes and kickbacks from people hoping to do business in Crystal City, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Jonas alone faces 18 counts, with of the offenses carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Four others involved in the probe, including former City Councilmen Rogelio Mata, Roel Mata, and Gilbert Urrabazo, as well as eight-liner operator Ngoc Tri Nguyen, have already pleaded guilty to single counts of bribery. Crystal City’s corrupt leadership will likely be reunited in court. According to the Express-News, the councilmen are expected to testify against Jonas and Lopez.