The Texas Ethics Commission finally nails Michael Sullivan of Empower Texas

From The Houston Chronicle

It’s sad that it takes 10 years for justice to be served but served it was. According to the Houston Chronicle:

A Texas appeals court this week upheld a nearly decade-old fine by the state ethics agency against former Empower Texans CEO and conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan for failing to register as a lobbyist.

The details of this complaint filed with the Texas Ethics Commission in 2010 are interesting. Why would they issue such a large fine of $10,000 on such a small issue as not registering as a lobbyist for a simple $100 fee. I will summarize the final order explaining here:

  • Empower Texas is an extreme right wing organization
  • Michael Quinn Sullivan was the CEO at the time
  • The complaint was filed by 2 republican law makers
  • The complaint alleged Sullivan failed to file as a lobbyist in 2010, the filing fee was only $100
  • After a 2 year investigation he was fined $10,000
  • The Commission subpoenaed documents from Sullivan
  • They came to the conclusion that “Mr. Sullivan and Empower Texans have destroyed or lost thousands of emails sent to members of the Legislature during 2010 and 2011, despite having received written requests for such information in 2012”
  • Sullivan was subpoenaed to show at the formal hearing but refused to answer any questions “asserting his rights under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment as a basis for his refusal to testify”
  • “The Commission’s unanimous opinion is that Mr. Sullivan is a paid lobbyist who is required to register under Texas law.”

So bottom line it would seem the Ethics Commission had a real problem with Sullivan not producing subpoenaed documentation as well as him refusing to answer questions. Maybe that was the reason for the $10,000 fine. It took 10 years to resolve this. This is what happens when you have uncontrolled money in politics.

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