Harris County Judge fined $15,000 by the Ethics Commission

If you think you do not need to file an Ethics Report, you might want to think. Look what I found in the Texas Ethics Commission website.

In late 2016 Harris County Judge Elaine Palmer was fined $15,000 for not filing required campaign finance reports. According to the Texas Ethics Commission, sworn complaints SC-31606159, SC-31607163, AND SC-31607167

The three sworn complaints allege the respondent did not file six campaign finance reports: the July 2015 semiannual report, the January 2016 semiannual report, the 30-day pre-election report for the March 2016 primary election, the 8-day pre-election report for the March 2016 primary election, the runoff report for the May 2016 primary runoff election, and the July 2016 semiannual report.

A total of SIX reports were not filed. According to the complaint, the reports were eventually filed, up to 1 year late. The fines for not filing a report seem to be pretty steep especially when you are running a low budget campaign which many judicial candidates do. One of Judge Palmer’s report lists less than $7000 in donations. Filing the report late along with the others resulted in fines of $15,000. It just doesn’t make cents.

Palmer is a Judge. She should know the law and she should follow the law. I was hoping someone would have filed in the primary against her but some candidates instead chose to run against Judges who are actually following the law and performing their jobs honorably.

The Judge paid the $15,000 using her campaign funds.

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