January 24, 2008
Ethics complaints filed against Medina and Hecht

Texas Watch goes for a threefer.

A watchdog group filed ethics complaints today against two Texas Supreme Court justices alleging they illegally used political contributions to pay for personal travel.

Justices Nathan Hecht and David Medina face complaints with the Texas Ethics Commission filed by Texas Watch, which monitors the Texas Supreme Court and civil justice issues. Earlier this week, the group also filed a complaint alleging improper travel by Paul Green, another justice on the nine-member panel.

Hecht and Green have denied wrongdoing, and Medina's attorney has said use of the campaign funds was based on bad advice from an accountant.

Using political contributions for personal use is against state law, and the ethics commission has interpreted the law to ban appellate judges from using campaign donations for the costs of commuting between their home cities and the city where the court is located.

"With numerous criminal investigations, ethical lapses, and questions about the court's integrity and ability to be impartial, the entire Texas Supreme Court is under a cloud of scandal," said Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch.

From a strictly political perspective, it's a shame that none of the three justices in question are up for election this year - Medina and Hecht were re-elected in 2006 and don't come up again till 2012, and Green won a six-year term in 2004. I suspect that the "entire Texas Supreme Court is under a cloud of scandal" concept will get some heavy rotation against those justices who are up for re-election. We'll see how good a job they do of differentiating themselves from their less pristine colleagues.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 24, 2008 to Show Business for Ugly People

Just a heads up for Texas Watch. I believe they do not get the credit they deserve for the outstanding job they do. Truly, a dedicated group of people.
If nothing else, I will say Texas does have some first rate watchdog groups.

Posted by: linyer on January 26, 2008 2:01 PM

Sorry Kuff, I was remiss in not saying "Congratulations" for your outstanding job as well. Don't know how I could have forgotten that.

Posted by: linyer on January 26, 2008 4:06 PM