You may recall that State Rep. Lon Burnam filed suit in April to force the Texas Ethics Commission to reverse its incredibly boneheaded ruling that public officials who receive cash or other gifts don't have to disclose their value (see this Texas Observer story for the full background). Acting on an edict from the judge in that lawsuit, Burnam has requested a formal opinion from the TEC on this matter.
Burnam made the request to aid a lawsuit he filed against the commission. He sued after its staff attorneys advised Bill Ceverha, a trustee of the state Employee Retirement System, that a gift of $100,000 in two checks from Houston homebuilder Bob Perry could be reported only as a check.
Ceverha voluntarily reported the checks on his personal finance report earlier this year.
A judge has told Burnam that his lawsuit can't continue until a formal opinion was requested from the commission. Burnam said his lawsuit will proceed if the commission upholds the original staff decision.
The commission has 60 days to issue its opinion.