With the Texas Ethics Commission under strict scrutiny and conservative groups calling for reform of the agency that has been weaponized to attack the free speech rights of Texans, Abbott has appointed two new members to the body.
In May, six of the state’s largest conservative organizations sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbot, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Joe Straus requesting that they address the problem of four members serving as “holdovers” on the entity long after their term expired.
Two of those holdovers held positions that Abbott could fill, with Straus and Patrick each having one.
Since then two commissioners have left the commission. Paul Hobby, a Straus appointee who resigned after documents were released showing him coordinating with the Speaker’s office, and Tom Harrison, a Rick Perry appointee who left with criminal charges filed against him.
The move to replace them has resulted in a major controversy after Straus maneuvered to appoint far-left Democrat Anne Wynne, who compared the NRA to the terrorist organization ISIS. After Texas Scorecard broke the news, grassroots citizens began to make their voices heard and Straus was forced to abandon Wynne and tapped Steve Wolens to replace Hobby.
In replacing his holdover appointments, Abbott has named Republican Chad Craycraft and Democrat Katie Kennedy to the Commission.
Craycraft is an attorney that serves as general counsel for Best Associates, a privately owned merchant banking institution headquartered in Dallas. Craycraft also served as Abbott’s political director for his Attorney General campaign from 2005-2008.
Kennedy is a former state district judge in Harris County and is now a mediator and arbitrator in private practice. She also attended Vanderbilt College of Law at the same time Abbott was pursuing his own law degree.
After today’s appointments only one TEC commissioner, Wilhelmina Delco, remains in office beyond the expiration of her term. Under the law, Delco will stay in office until the lieutenant governor appoints a replacement.