Attorney and Harris County Department of Education Trustee Eric Dick faces $40,000 in fines for campaign finance violations after the Texas Ethics Commission recently tacked on another $10,000 penalty.
The TEC ruled late last month that Dick will be required to pay the $10,000 for campaign finance violations that occurred during his unsuccessful campaign for Harris County Treasurer in March 2022. He was fined $30,000 in February 2022 for violations made during his unsuccessful 2019 run for City Council.
According to the TEC resolution signed on Sept. 29, Dick violated statutes of the Texas Election Code for failing to report two $25,000 payments to the Conservative Republicans of Texas (CRT) and the Conservative Republicans of Harris County (CRHC). There was also a discrepancy of over $100,000 reported but unaccounted-for in expenditures on his pre-election filings.
Dick’s attorney, Jared Woodfill, also president of CRT, had not returned a call as of Tuesday.
Dick also acted “in bad faith” by not responding to the complaint on time, the TEC ruled. Dick was required to submit a written letter of response to the original complaint on July 1, 2022, but he did not do so until eight months later, despite multiple attempts to try and reach him, The TEC reported.
In 2019, the Commission found Dick funded mailers from the Harris County Black Democratic News, featuring photos of prominent Black politicians on the front, including former President Barack Obama, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, state Sen. Borris Miles, and Mayor Sylvester Turner, and endorsements on the back for candidates including Dick. Miles and Thompson denounced the mailers at the time, saying they had no affiliation with the group. There was also no disclosure on the materials, required by state law to show who paid for them.
Dick also listed $125,000 he did not spend on his campaign finance reports during the 2019 election cycle. At the time, he said that he was trying to be cautious and report potential obligations for payments.
Given the severity of Dick’s combined violations and in order to “deter future violations,” the TEC decided to impose a $10,000 fine, though it could have been as high as $453,499.29, according to the resolution.
See here for more on that egregious 2019 incident. How big a screwup do you have to be to get hammered by the toothless TEC? Dick has been a rampaging scofflaw for a long time, and I almost find it reassuring that year in and year out he’s the same guy doing new variations on the same old shit. We should all have such consistency in our lives.