Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission has an ethics problem, which they compounded yesterday by hiring a former bureaucrat from the disgraced Texas “Ethics” Commission.

HHSC is in hot water over no-bid contracts that appeared to have been handed out to the benefit of an agency official who was once a state representative.

David Reisman

David Reisman

In trying to sprinkle ethics fairy dust over an agency that should be taken to the cleaners and given a thorough washing, David Reisman has been hired for the newly created HHSC position “chief ethics officer.”

Which is funny, because I last knew of Reisman when he was executive director of the most unethical agency in state government, the Texas Ethics Commission.

In that posting, Reisman used hitherto unknown bureaucratic powers to quash a motion for a witness to appear before the agency. No, Reisman isn’t a judge, wasn’t even licensed to practice law in Texas, but he gave a legislator a “you don’t have to follow a subpoena” letter.

Ironically, Reisman was gone from the TEC a short time later. It’s possible, if unlikely, that he found their shadowy operations too unsavory. Or the other way around. We don’t know.

All we know is that David Reisman has reappeared as an ethics czar at an agency that’s the 2015 poster child for unethical operations. His placement at HHSC is “ethics” window dressing, and means little with regard to reform at the beleaguered agency.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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