You may recall State Rep. Lon Burnham's pursuit of bankrupt TRMPAC treasurer Bill Ceverha and his conflicts of interest as a member of the board of the Employees Retirement System of Texas - see here for the previous entry in the story. Today, the Texas Ethics Commission has a board meeting, at which Burnham will address them regarding his concerns. Here's the press release:
State Rep. Lon Burnam will address the Texas Ethics Commission at their board meeting scheduled for [today], March 24, 2006, at 9:00.
One of the agenda items that the Ethics Commission is set to discuss tomorrow involves the check Bob Perry gave to Employees Retirement System board member Bill Ceverha after he was appointed by Speaker Craddick. Ceverha disclosed the gift from Perry only as a "check." Ceverha never disclosed the amount of the check, basically making a mockery of the intent of disclosure laws.
Last week was Sunshine Week, but one week is not enough to shine a light on those who attempt to degrade disclosure laws in Texas. Exempting Bill Ceverha from disclosing the amount of a check given to him by the largest Republican donor in the state sets a very dangerous precedent. Any public official would be able to receive a cash "gift" and the public would never know if it was for $1,000 or $1,000,000. Democracy relies on disclosure and open government, not secret gifts to public servants.
According to the Texas Ethics Commission web site, the Perry-Ceverha check controversy will be addressed tomorrow during "Agenda item 16; Public discussion and possible action regarding a petition for rulemaking regarding the description of a gift that is reportable under section 572.023(b)(7) of the Government Code."
WHO: Rep. Burnam/Ethics Commission
WHAT: Ethics Commission to address Perry check to Ceverha
WHEN: Friday, March 24, 2006 -- 9:00 A.M. (Rep. Burnam will likely appear before the Board between 9:30 and 10:00.)
WHERE: Room E1.010, Capitol Extension