The Houston Chronicle reports that Mike Miller, a (Civil) District Judge in Harris County, has been fined by the Texas Ethics Commission.
Miller, a Democrat endorsed last year by Texpatriate, allegedly did not “disclose payments and payees.” Further, he allegedly gifted more than $250 –the statutory limit– to the Harris County Democratic Party out of his campaign funds.
The total fine was a mere $700, indicating a somewhat venial offense on the part of Miller. However, any time an officeholder, campaign or candidate violates any ethics rules, including campaign finance infraction, it is a serious violation of the public’s trust.
Being able to work very closely with a campaign in the past few weeks, I have become painfully familiar with the intricacies of campaign finance rules. Sometimes the meticulous means one must go through to keep everything kosher is a bit excessive, but it is the law. There are a lot of rules that are not very well known, and are somewhat forgivable. The error caused by giving too much money to the County Party is an example of such an occurrence.
However, the failure to “disclose payments and payees” could very well be a more serious issue. I will be contacting both the Chronicle and Judge Miller to find out more facts about this developing situation before coming to any judgmental conclusions, however.