In 2012, liberal Republican State Rep. Vicki Truitt of Southlake was kicked out of office by her constituents after it was discovered that she had received $350,000 in no-bid contracts with the Tarrant County Hospital District. Those contracts were terminated when she left office.
In 2016, we learned that scandal-plagued Democratic State Rep. Dawnna Dukes of Austin was paid $1 million by Austin ISD to recruit minority-owned vendors for the district, a task she appears to have never performed.
Sources in the legislature say that as many as 100 of the 150 members of the Texas House have some sort of business contract with a government entity.
Texans have a right to know if their representatives are profiting off of taxpayers, and there is an easy method for making that information available.
Genuine ethics reform must require public officials to disclose the contracts they and their families have with state and local governments on their personal financial statements.
A bill passed by the legislature last session required those doing business with the state to file disclosure statements listing interested parties. While this means that public officials’ names will be on file, it has imposed additional burdens on businesses with no political connections and left Texans sifting for a needle in a haystack to find deals involving their representative.
Lawmakers should stop pushing the burden off on others and do the job themselves. Tell Texans what government contracts they have, and let voters be the judge.