In 2008, the Texas Ethics Commission found that Justice Nathan Hecht violated state ethics laws.
Today, Hecht was let off the hook.
After reviewing a complaint filed by Texas Watch, the ethics commission determined that Hecht improperly accepted a six-figure discount on legal expenses. The TEC ruled the discount was a campaign donation that exceeded contribution limits for judicial candidates and was not reported on campaign finance filings. They fined him $29,000. Hecht appealed the ruling to state court where it languished for seven years.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, Hecht and the TEC have settled the matter. Hecht’s fine will be slashed from $29,000 to just $1,000.
“Nathan Hecht is being let off the hook. Pure and simple,” said Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch. “This saga makes a mockery of so-called ethics ‘enforcement’. Apparently, the way high ranking officials can beat the rap is to simply delay the process indefinitely.”
A brief timeline of the case:
- July 24, 2007: Texas Watch files complaint against Justice Nathan Hecht with the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) alleging illegal acceptance of unreported campaign contribution
- December 11, 2008: TEC rules that Hecht violated multiple sections of the state Elections Code, levying a fine of $29,000
- January 9, 2009: Hecht appeals the TEC ruling to state court; Attorney General Greg Abbott responds as TEC’s legal counsel
- October 15, 2014: Texans for Public Justice intervenes to disqualify Abbott from the case
- October 28, 2015: TEC and Hecht settle the case by slashing the fine to $1,000