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Complaint: Wendy Davis failed to disclose income, lobbyist ties

The Davis campaign hasn‚??t responded to a request for comment.

This article originally appeared on watchdog.org. 

HOUSTON ‚?? An¬†ethics complaint¬†filed against Democratic gubernatorial candidate¬†Wendy Davis¬†this week argues that Davis has failed to disclose all of her sources of income and ties to lobbyists, as required by state law.

According to the complaint, Davis failed to disclose more than $25,000 in interest and dividends she earned from 2010 to 2012 on the¬†personal¬†financial¬†statements¬†she filed those years. Davis also failed to disclose that she was paid by the employer of a lobbyist ‚??¬†namely, the law firm of¬†Cantey Hanger, LLP.

Cantey Hanger lists Davis as ‚??of counsel‚?Ě to the firm. It also employed two lobbyists for 2012, according to its¬†lobby registration list¬†on file with the¬†Texas Ethics Commission. These were¬†Marcy Weldin Foster¬†and¬†Gov. Rick Perry‚??s former chief of staff,¬†Brian C. Newby, who also happens to be Davis‚?? partner in the firm of¬†Newby Davis, PLLC.

Davis did disclose her partnership with Newby, as required.

The ethics complaint was filed Monday by¬†Lou Ann Anderson, the editor of¬†Watchdog Wire ‚?? Texas, a citizen journalism initiative of the¬†Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.

Anderson found the undisclosed income on Davis‚??¬†own¬†tax¬†returns, which she recently made public.

‚??What I found were questions ‚??¬†questions that it doesn‚??t take being a CPA, a lawyer or other government policy analyst to recognize,‚?Ě Anderson said. ‚??Information (for the cited years) provided to the¬†IRS¬†is far more detailed than information provided to the Texas Ethics Commission as mandated by state law. That mandate exists in support of government transparency. It exists so the public can identify potential conflicts of interest, so voters can have a tool to monitor that public interests are not usurped by self-interested elected officials.‚?Ě

Anderson‚??s discovery caps a month of self-inflicted injuries for the Davis campaign.

Earlier this month, her campaign accused the Republican candidate for governor,¬†Greg Abbott, of accepting ‚??nearly $400,000‚?Ě in donations from the payday lending industry, when¬†the actual figure¬†was $99,000.

Then came the news that¬†the life story Davis had been telling¬†‚?? one about a single mother conquering all obstacles ‚??¬†ignored inconvenient facts, such as her marriage.

‚??The recent controversy over Davis‚?? selective use of reality to provide a campaign-friendly life narrative prompted curiosity if this same approach is used in other information disclosure areas,‚?Ě Anderson said. ‚??A review of her financial disclosures suggests the data provided for constituents‚?? benefit as lacking. In my book, any public official or individual aspiring to office ‚??¬†Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or anyone else ‚?? who resists transparency is troubling.‚?Ě

The Davis campaign hasn‚??t responded to a request for comment.

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Written By

Jon Cassidy writes for Watchdog.org, part of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting new media journalism. Watchdog.org is a collection of independent journalists covering state-specific and local government activity.

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Complaint: Wendy Davis failed to disclose income, lobbyist ties

This article originally appeared on watchdog.org. 

HOUSTON ‚Äď An¬†ethics complaint¬†filed against Democratic gubernatorial candidate¬†Wendy Davis¬†this week argues that Davis has failed to disclose all of her sources of income and ties to lobbyists, as required by state law.

According to the complaint, Davis failed to disclose more than $25,000 in interest and dividends she earned from 2010 to 2012 on the¬†personal¬†financial¬†statements¬†she filed those years. Davis also failed to disclose that she was paid by the employer of a lobbyist ‚ÄĒ¬†namely, the law firm of¬†Cantey Hanger, LLP.

Cantey Hanger lists Davis as ‚Äúof counsel‚ÄĚ to the firm. It also employed two lobbyists for 2012, according to its¬†lobby registration list¬†on file with the¬†Texas Ethics Commission. These were¬†Marcy Weldin Foster¬†and¬†Gov. Rick Perry‚Äės former chief of staff,¬†Brian C. Newby, who also happens to be Davis‚Äô partner in the firm of¬†Newby Davis, PLLC.

Davis did disclose her partnership with Newby, as required.

The ethics complaint was filed Monday by¬†Lou Ann Anderson, the editor of¬†Watchdog Wire ‚Äď Texas, a citizen journalism initiative of the¬†Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.

Anderson found the undisclosed income on Davis’ own tax returns, which she recently made public.

‚ÄúWhat I found were questions ‚ÄĒ¬†questions that it doesn‚Äôt take being a CPA, a lawyer or other government policy analyst to recognize,‚ÄĚ Anderson said. ‚ÄúInformation (for the cited years) provided to the¬†IRS¬†is far more detailed than information provided to the Texas Ethics Commission as mandated by state law. That mandate exists in support of government transparency. It exists so the public can identify potential conflicts of interest, so voters can have a tool to monitor that public interests are not usurped by self-interested elected officials.‚ÄĚ

Anderson’s discovery caps a month of self-inflicted injuries for the Davis campaign.

Earlier this month, her campaign accused the Republican candidate for governor,¬†Greg Abbott, of accepting ‚Äúnearly $400,000‚ÄĚ in donations from the payday lending industry, when¬†the actual figure¬†was $99,000.

Then came the news that¬†the life story Davis had been telling¬†‚ÄĒ one about a single mother conquering all obstacles ‚ÄĒ¬†ignored inconvenient facts, such as her marriage.

‚ÄúThe recent controversy over Davis‚Äô selective use of reality to provide a campaign-friendly life narrative prompted curiosity if this same approach is used in other information disclosure areas,‚ÄĚ Anderson said. ‚ÄúA review of her financial disclosures suggests the data provided for constituents‚Äô benefit as lacking. In my book, any public official or individual aspiring to office ‚ÄĒ¬†Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or anyone else ‚Äď who resists transparency is troubling.‚ÄĚ

The Davis campaign hasn’t responded to a request for comment.

Newsletter Signup.

Sign up to the Human Events newsletter

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Alexander Solzhenitsyn Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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