Libertarian Ludlow Seeks Press Against Dukes
Who has most to lose from HD46 ethics complaint?
By Richard Whittaker,
1:30PM, Mon. Oct. 20, 2014
The Texas Ethics Commission doesn't like it when candidates file ethics complaints for nakedly political ends against their opponents. So the commissioners may take a dim view of Libertarian Kevin Ludlow issuing press releases over his filing against Democrat Rep. Dawnna Dukes.
The TEC is an extremely cautious entity. Most specifically, complaints are supposed to be private. That way, they avoid becoming politicized. Last December, the commission adopted a resolution stating that "the use of the statements 'a sworn complaint has been filed against Candidate A' or 'the Texas Ethics Commission is investigating a complaint against Candidate A'” are improper attempts to mislead the public."
So the fact that Ludlow has issued a press release stating that he has "filed a sworn formal complaint with the Texas Ethics Commissoin" [sic] may not sit so well down on 10th Street.
The issue here is Duke's most recent campaign finance report. Known as the 30-day report, it covers contributions and spending between July 1 and Sept. 25, and was due on Oct. 6. The incumbent has sent in her personal campaign report, but that of her PAC, the Dawnna Dukes Campaign, is still awol. On Oct. 17, Ludlow announced via Facebook that he had filed a complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission on Oct. 6 at 11:59pm, claiming that Dukes “knowingly and purposefully failed to file to prevent the media and her opponent from discovering who funded her campaign.”
Filing a complaint is one thing. Putting out a press release is another. Earlier this election cycle, Attorney General Greg Abbott took flack when his campaign crew tried to make political hay from a complaint about Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth.
This isn't the first time that Dukes – or, more specifically, her campaign – has had trouble keeping its books straight, with her sister and campaign treasurer Ateja Dukes being fined for technical violations in 2008 and the 2010 followup. This latest incident looks like more of the same, especially in a cycle in which has seen Ludlow supporters re-posting old, debunked campaign ads from Dukes' 2008 Democratic primary challenger Brian Thompson on social media. With the Libertarian's campaign stalling out, and the Dukes campaign simply refusing to engage with what it sees as a third party candidate in a two-party race, there's a risk that Ludlow may simply motivate his opponent, while suffering blowback from the TEC.