The Austin Chronicle

Ethically Unchallenging

By Richard Whittaker, November 21, 2007, 2:10pm, Newsdesk

For anyone reading about Chris Bell's decision to sue Texans for Rick Perry and the Republican Governors Association over an alleged campaign finance violation, there may be one question pending. Why didn't the former U.S. rep take this to the Texas Ethics Commission, the body that is supposed to be responsible for investigating such electoral violations?

According to Bell's attorney, longtime campaign finance expert Buck Wood, it wouldn't have been worth filing the paperwork. "The Ethics Commission is in such bad hands that I don't even deal with 'em any more," he said. "They ran off every long-term professional over there and replaced 'em with people who don't know what they're doing and give out ridiculous answers.

So what exactly is the commission spending its time doing? According to Wood, "They spend all their time investigating people who frankly started to run for office and didn't hardly have the money for the filing fee. Anyone with any connections to the Republican leadership, they won't do anything."

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