Saturday, September 02, 2006

TexVac Files Ethics Charges Against Rep. Toby Goodman

A Democratic group called Texas Values in Action Coalition filed a complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission on Monday alleging that Rep. Toby Goodman, R-Arlington, violated the Texas Election Code by using campaign contributions to pay rent on two Central Texas properties, one in Travis and one in Williamson County.

“While most Texans are working hard to legitimately make their own house payments, Mr. Goodman seems to be living large by funneling campaign cash into his own pocket,’ said Ed Ishmael, TEXVAC co-founder. “This would not only violate the law, but campaign contributors of Mr. Goodman will be surprised to learn that their gifts are being used to personally enrich the Goodman family.”

“We should demand that our lawmakers hold faith with the trust the public has placed in them and live not only by the letter but the spirit of the law,” said Ed Ishmael. “It looks like Rep, Goodman stayed up nights figuring out how to pay for these properties using campaign contributions. Using campaign money to enrich himself and his family through real-estate purchases would not only violate the law, but would violate the trust that the people of Arlington have placed in him.”

Saying that state law allows for campaign contributions to pay rent on a spouse's separate property, Goodman's lawyer, Ed Shack, dismissed the allegations.

"I don’t think the law limits you to Travis County,” Shack said. Goodman’s actions substantially comply with the law, he said.

Rep. Goodman is running against Democratic challenger Paula Hightower-Pierson.

"Whether it is legal or illegal, it looks bad," Hightower-Pierson said when asked about the ethics complaint.

She said she had not seen the complaint.

"My campaign will not run a dirty campaign," said Hightower-Pierson, a former Arlington councilwoman. "We're taking the high road, and we will win."

To learn more about TexVac, click here.

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