Empower Texans’ counsel Joe Nixon issued the following statement in response to a ruling by the Texas Ethics Commission:
“The Ethics Commission has finally issued a ruling after forcing us to wait almost 30 months. We will appeal the ruling to the District Court, where it will be heard “de novo,” meaning new, and without regard for the baseless assumptions incorporated in the Commission’s ruling. They maliciously asserted as “facts” things never entered into evidence, demonstrating that the commission was pursuing a political agenda of character assassination. We are excited to challenge the Commission in a court of law, where the rules of evidence and procedure are followed. The Commission knows that its ruling will have no permanent effect.
Specifically, the Commission will be called to answer for its malicious and irresponsible comments that Mr. Sullivan destroyed evidence. The Commission has, despite a federal judge’s comments that its document request was “absurd” and “unenforceable in any court in this country”, requested documents not related to this matter. To misinterpret the law is one thing, to misunderstand the facts is another, but to make false accusations not relevant to the proceedings is reprehensible.
All documents in the possession of Empower Texans which were not specifically objected to were given over to the Commission. It is outrageous for the Chairman of the Commission to allege that Empower Texans destroyed documents when the commission failed to inquire about the organization’s document retention policy, and failed to explore the objections that were provided to them.
What is most outrageous, however, is that today’s ruling was issued without public deliberation, as required by the Texas Open Meetings Act, and without a vote of the commissioners. In fact, one of the commissioners did not even attend the Formal Hearing, despite the fact that the ruling is characterized as “unanimous.” The commission will soon have to answer for its failures to obey the very laws that it is tasked with enforcing.”