A Texas lawmaker is calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to add ethics reform to his special session call. Rep. Sarah Davis (R-Houston) heads the House General Investigation and Ethics Committee, which is tasked with scrutinizing wrongdoing at the state level. Most recently, she led an investigation into the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission after reports of misconduct and mismanagement of funds within the agency.
Texas law prohibits members of the Legislature from accepting campaign contributions during a regular session. The restriction came about after poultry magnate Lonnie Pilgrim handed out $10,000 checks on the Senate floor in 1989 – just two days before a vote on a workers' compensation bill that Pilgrim had an interest in.
For the past several years, the Texas Ethics Commission has been mired in an investigation of a group called Empower Texans, a right-leaning organization that pushes a limited government agenda and supports candidates who share its values but does not disclose its donors.