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Enforcement & Compliance


Sworn Complaints


The Ethics Commission is authorized to undertake civil enforcement actions in response to a sworn complaint, hold enforcement hearings, issue orders, impose civil penalties, and refer matters for criminal prosecution. The Open Orders that the Commission issued are listed in a separate tab below. Orders dismissing a complaint or finding only technical or de minimis violations (such as in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVOC)) are confidential and may not be disclosed by the Commission.

Any individual who lives in Texas or owns property in Texas may file a sworn complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission alleging a violation of certain laws. The Ethics Commission may only consider violations of the following laws:

There are certain types of matters that the Commission has no jurisdiction over and therefore, cannot accept for review. These include but are not limited to:

  • Federal law matters. Contact the Federal Election Commission.
  • Complaints that signs are too close to polls, electioneering/campaigning around polling locations. Contact the Texas Secretary of State.
  • Questions about how to get on the ballot. Look at the Texas Secretary of State Candidates’ Guide.
  • Complaints about signs that are in the right-of-way. Contact the Texas Department of Transportation or local code enforcement.
  • Complaints about the Certificate of Interested Parties (Form 1295) for businesses doing business with a governmental entity.
  • Complaints about the Conflict of Interest Questionnaire (Forms CIQ or CIS) for vendor doing business with local governmental entity.
  • Bribery, Honoraria, Perjury, Abuse of Official Capacity, Nepotism and other offenses against public administration. Contact the Public Integrity Section of your local district or county attorney’s office, local law enforcement, or the Texas Rangers Public Integrity Unit at rangers@dps.texas.gov.
  • Attorney ethics matters. Contact the State Bar of Texas.
  • Judicial ethics (non-campaign related) matters. Contact the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
  • Violations of the Open Meetings Act or Public Information Act - contact your local prosecutor. For information about these Acts – contact the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
  • Employer retaliation/employment issues - contact the Texas Workforce Commission.
  • Questions about Resign to Run/ Dual officeholders - contact your city or county attorney.

The filing of a sworn complaint sets in motion a process that may include a preliminary review as well as informal or formal hearings. A sworn complaint may be resolved at several points in the process. The Commission may ultimately resolve a sworn complaint by dismissal or imposition of a civil penalty. A respondent may appeal a final decision of the Commission to a district court for a trial de novo. During most stages of the process the Commissioners and Commission staff are required to keep the complaint confidential. Complaints are not taken over the phone or by e-mail. A sworn complaint must be filed on a form prescribed by the Commission. The form comes in two formats:

The Commission does not take complaints in which either the complainant is anonymous or the identity of the respondent is not known.

Forms should be either: (1) mailed to P.O. Box 12070, Austin, Texas 78711, or (2) hand delivered to 201 E. 14th Street, Sam Houston Building, 10th floor, Austin, Texas 78701.

For further information on the sworn complaint process, review this Sworn Complaint Instruction Guide. If you do not find your answer, contact the Commission's Legal Department at (512) 463-5800. Note that the attorneys may provide you with information, but may not provide you with legal advice.

The sworn complaint process is governed by:






Use our email updates subscription service to receive emails when complaint orders are posted to our website.

Sworn Complaint Orders Listed

Facial Compliance


The Commission is required by law to review for facial compliance randomly selected reports filed with the Commission. 1 Reports are selected at random and reviewed to determine whether each report is complete, accurate, and complies. with the law requiring the report on its face. We refer to an apparent error, omission, or violation of law as a “deficiency.”

If a deficiency is discovered during a facial compliance review, our auditor sends the filer a letter and a “Facial Compliance Review Report” which details the deficiency and steps necessary to correct the report. Filers have seven business days from the receipt of the Facial Compliance Review Report to file a correction in order for the corrected report be considered filed as on the date it was originally filed.2 The letter and a “Facial Compliance Review Report” will explain the time required for a response for each filer. Extensions may be granted, but it is important that the filer contact our auditor if additional time is needed.

If the filer believes the report was accurate as originally filed, the filer may submit documentation or a statement that shows the report is accurate. Such documentation needs to be provided to the Commission.

Facial Compliance Reviews and audits remain confidential unless the filer waives confidentiality in writing. Filers frequently grant a limited waiver of confidentiality so that our auditor can discuss the report with a designated representative, such as a campaign treasurer, bookkeeper, or lawyer.

The Facial Compliance Review will be closed once all deficiencies in a report are resolved through filing a corrected report or information showing the report was accurate as filed. The auditor will send the filer notice once a review is closed.


1 Gov’t Code § 571.069.

2 Id. § 571.069(a).


In the rare case where a Facial Compliance Review is not closed, the process can result in a full audit or a Commission-initiated civil enforcement action (effectively a sworn complaint). By a vote of at least six commissioners, the Commission may initiate a civil enforcement action or a full audit if the Commission:

    (1) Does not timely receive information from the filer that would allow the Commission to determine whether the report complies with the law;

    (2) A corrected report is not timely filed; or

    (3) A report corrected in response to a facial compliance review still does not comply with the law requiring the filing of the report. 3


3 Id. § 571.069(b).



Administrative Fines


All reports required to be filed with the Texas Ethics Commission (“TEC”) have filing deadlines that are set by law. At the end of each calendar year, the TEC creates filing schedules for the upcoming calendar year that list the exact dates of the filing deadlines for each filer type and posts the Filing Schedules on its website.

All filers who are required by law to file with the TEC (“TEC filers”) are subject to an administrative civil penalty (“late fine”) if a report is not timely filed by the applicable filing deadline. The late fines are set under section 254.042 of the Election Code (campaign finance), section 305.033 of the Government Code (lobby), section 572.033 of the Government Code (personal financial statements), and sections 18.13 and 18.15 of the TEC rules. The TEC is required to determine from any available evidence whether these reports are late.

The TEC has the authority to waive or reduce such late fines through the administrative process. This process is completely separate from the sworn complaint process, which has its own set of rules and procedures.

What does “timely filed” mean?

A report is timely filed if it is complete and filed by the applicable deadline using the reporting method required by law. Most TEC filers must file electronically using the TEC’s online Electronic Filing Application. A report transmitted by Internet is considered timely filed if it is successfully transmitted in the correct format by midnight, Central Time Zone, on the last day for filing the report under the applicable law.

TEC filers who are eligible for the statutory exemption from electronic filing must file the affidavit of exemption form with the appropriate paper report form prescribed by the TEC. The affidavit of exemption must be included with each report filed on paper. See Who Has to File Electronically for more details.

A report eligible to be filed on paper is considered timely filed based on the report type. Any pre-election report (30-day pre-election report, 8-day pre-election report, runoff report, or daily pre-election report) filed on paper must be RECEIVED by the TEC on the filing deadline to be timely filed. (Note: The postmark date does not matter for pre-election reports.) Other reports (not pre-election) filed on paper are timely filed if deposited with the U.S. Post Office or placed in the hands of a common or contract carrier properly addressed with postage and handling charges prepaid, or hand-delivered to the TEC in the correct format by the deadline.

How much are the late fines?

When a report that is required to be filed with the TEC is filed late or unfiled by the applicable deadline, the law sets a late fine amount based on the type of report:

  • 8-day pre-election reports: The late fine for a campaign finance report due eight (8) days before a primary, general, uniform, or special election is:
    • $500 for the first day the report is late; and
    • $100 for each day thereafter that the report is late through the date the report is filed, up to a maximum of $10,000.

  • First semiannual report after the primary or general election: The late fine for the first semiannual campaign finance report required to be filed by certain candidates or political committees following the primary or general election is:
    • $500 for the first day the report is late; and
    • $100 for each day thereafter that the report is late through the date the report is filed, up to a maximum of $10,000.

    The following TEC filers are subject to this accruing fine for a semiannual report after the primary or general election:
    1. Any candidate or officeholder whose name appeared on the applicable primary or general election ballot (regardless of whether he or she filed pre-election reports);
    2. A political committee (including a county executive committee) that supported or opposed a candidate or measure in an election (regardless of whether the committee filed pre-election reports); and
    3. A political committee that filed a pre-election report for the applicable election.

  • All other campaign finance reports: The late fine for all other campaign finance reports, including daily pre-election reports and runoff reports, is $500.

  • Personal Financial Statements: The late fine for a personal financial statement is $500.

  • Lobby Reports: The late fine for lobby reports, including lobby activities reports and lobby registrations, is $500.

  • Legislative Caucus Reports: The late fine for a caucus report (Form LEG) is $500.

  • Speaker Reports: The late fine for a candidate for speaker report (Form SPK) is $500.

  • Reports More Than 30 Days Late: If a report is more than 30 days late, the TEC sends a warning letter of liability by registered mail to the person required to file the report. If the assessed late fine is not paid before the 10th day after receipt of the registered letter, the fine may be increased by an amount determined by the TEC up to $10,000. Fine increases are considered and voted on by the TEC commissioners at a TEC public meeting.

Certain Committees Exempt from Civil Penalties: Section 254.164 of the Election Code provides that the TEC may not impose a civil penalty on a general-purpose committee (GPAC, MPAC, or CEC) for a reporting violation if the committee did not exceed certain contribution or expenditure thresholds during a particular reporting period. Specifically, there is no late fine if the committee did not exceed any of the following activity levels during the reporting period covered by the late report in question or during either of the two reporting periods preceding the late report in question:

  1. did not accept political contributions totaling $3,000 or more;
  2. did not accept political contributions from a single person totaling $1,000 or more; and
  3. did not make or authorize political expenditures totaling $3,000 or more;

Section 254.164 was added to the Election Code under H.B. 89 passed by the 80th Legislature during the 2007 Regular Session. Therefore, this provision is often informally referred to as “HB 89” or an “HB 89 waiver.” To be eligible for an HB 89 waiver, the committee must file the late report in question. The HB 89 law does not exempt a committee’s campaign treasurer from his or her filing requirements as the campaign treasurer of a general-purpose committee. A campaign treasurer must continue to file committee campaign finance reports according to the applicable filing schedule, and if future reports are filed late, the treasurer may be liable for a penalty in connection with those reports if it is determined that the committee’s activity no longer meets the statutory provisions.

What happens when a late fine is assessed?

  • After a filing deadline, the TEC administratively determines which filers filed late or did not file the required report and sends letters to those filers regarding the late fine assessed for the late or unfiled report (informally referred to as late letters). For more information, see Administrative Late Letter Process.

  • A TEC filer who is assessed a late fine may submit payment of the fine and/or submit an affidavit requesting waiver or reduction of the fine. (Note: The late report in question must be filed in the correct format before the TEC may consider a waiver/reduction request.) For more information, see How do I pay a late fine? and How do I request a waiver or reduction of a late fine?

  • If a TEC filer who is assessed a late fine does not respond to any of the late letters with either the fine payment or a waiver/reduction request, the TEC proceeds with the enforcement procedures outlined in the late letters, including referring the matter to the Office of the Attorney General and the Comptroller of Public Accounts for collection of the fine, and may also include a referral to the appropriate attorney for criminal prosecution. For more information, see What happens if I don’t respond to late notices or pay a late fine?

  • If the TEC receives a request for a waiver or reduction of a late fine, the late letter process is suspended until the request is resolved. The waiver/reduction request is reviewed administratively under the TEC rules. The TEC rules are applied to determine whether or not the late report is eligible for a waiver or reduction of the fine and the TEC legal staff sends a letter to the filer explaining the determination. If the late fine was reduced or not waived, the filer is given approximately 30 calendar days from the date of the determination letter (the TEC calculates an exact date and provides that date in the letter) to pay the late fine or request an appeal. For more information on this process, see Administrative Waiver or Reduction of Late Fines under TEC Rules.

  • If a TEC filer who is assessed a late fine does not respond to the TEC rules determination letter, the TEC proceeds with the enforcement procedures as o utlined in the letter, including referring the matter to the Office of the Attorney General and the Comptroller of Public Accounts for collection of the fine, and may also include a referral to the appropriate attorney for criminal prosecution. For more information, see What happens if I don’t respond to late notices or pay a late fine?

  • The TEC rules determination letter explains how a filer may appeal if the filer is not satisfied the rules determination. Appeals are considered by the TEC commissioners at a TEC public meeting. The TEC commissioners have the authority to make the final decision to waive, reduce, or affirm the late fine. For more information, see What happens if I don't respond to late notices or pay a late fine?

  • After a TEC public meeting at which a TEC filer's administrative appeal regarding a late fine ies heard, the TEC sends a letter informing the filer of the TEC's decision. The filer is given approximately 30 calendar days from the date of the appeal determination letter (TEC calculates an exact date and provides that date in the letter) to pay the late fine, if any. If the filer does not respond to the TEC letter, the TEC proceeds with the enforcement procedures as outlined in the letter, including referring the matter to the Office of the Attorney General and the Comptroller of Public Accounts for collection of the fine, and may also include referral to the appropriate attorney for criminal prosecution. For more information, see What happens if I don’t respond to late notices or pay a late fine?

  • After a filing deadline, the TEC Disclosure Filings Division runs reports from the TEC’s reports database to determine which filers filed late or did not file the required report and sends letter(s) to those filers regarding the late fine assessed for the late or unfiled report (informally referred to as late letters). Payment of the late fine at any point during the administrative late letter process resolves the administrative matter and no further action is taken. If the TEC receives a request for a waiver or reduction of a late fine at any point during the administrative late letter process, the process is suspended until the request is considered and resolved.

  • 1st notice of late report – The first late letter is sent to the filer by first class U.S. Mail. This letter explains the filing obligation and late fine and requests payment within 20 days of the date of the letter and explains how to submit a request for waiver or reduction of the fine if the filer believes the circumstances warrant consideration. (Note: The late report in question must be filed in the correct format before the TEC may consider a waiver/reduction request.) This letter also explains the consequences for failure to satisfy the filing requirements. For more information, see What happens if I don't respond to late notices or pay a late fine?

  • 2nd notice of late report – The second late letter is sent to the filer by first class U.S. Mail. This letter explains that the TEC previously sent a notice asking for a response within 20 days of the date of the notice and the 20 days have passed without a response from the filer. This letter also explains the consequences for failure to respond. For more information, see What happens if I don't respond to late notices or pay a late fine?

  • 3rd notice of late report – The third late letter is sent to the filer by registered mail. This letter explains that the TEC previously sent two notices regarding the filing obligation and the late fine and has received no response or payment from the filer. This letter also lists the consequences for failure to respond, as the 1st and 2nd notices did, and informs the filer that the TEC will proceed with these enforcement actions. If the report was more than 30 days late or has not been filed, this letter also serves as a determination notice and warning of liability that the TEC may impose an additional fine of up to $10,000. For more information, see What happens if I don't respond to late notices or pay a late fine?

  • Notice of Referral to the Attorney General and Comptroller – The notice of referral letter is sent to the filer by registered mail. This letter is the final notice and explains that the TEC has referred the late fine to the Office of the Attorney General for collection and to the Comptroller’s Office for warrant hold proceedings. For more information, see What happens if I don’t respond to late notices or pay a late fine?

  • Once the matter is referred to the Office of the Attorney General, that office has its own procedures for collecting the fine, which may include filing a lawsuit against the filer. At that point, the filer must contact the Office of the Attorney General to resolve the matter.

When the TEC receives a request for a waiver or reduction of a late fine, the administrative late letter process is suspended until the request is considered and resolved.

In an effort to provide a consistent, fair, and efficient process, the TEC adopted a set of rules to allow the executive director to administratively determine whether a filer is eligible for a waiver or reduction of a late fine. The administrative determinations are based on the criteria, charts, and reduction formulas provided in the rules. If a filer is not satisfied with the administrative determination, the filer may appeal to the TEC commissioners for consideration.

What are the TEC rules on late fine waivers/reductions?

Administrative Waiver of a Fine: Section 18.23 of the TEC Rules allows an administrative waiver of a late fine in specific circumstances.

TEC Rule 18.23 This rule sets out specific circumstances that qualify for an administrative waiver of a late fine. If, in the executive director&rquo;s discretion, the waiver request affidavit establishes grounds for a waiver under this section, the executive director shall waive the fine.

Other Administrative Waiver or Reduction of a Fine Sections 18.24-26 of the TEC Rules further define when a filer is eligible for a waiver or reduction of a late fine, based on the criteria, charts, and reduction formulas provided in the rules.

TEC Rule 18.24 – This rule sets out the general guidelines, for purposes of an administrative waiver or reduction under these rules, that will be used to:

  • classify the type of filer (category A, B, or C);
  • define “critical report&rdqou; and classify the type of late report (report type I or II);
  • clarify “good cause&rdqou; when determining a reduction amount; and
  • define the procedure for a filer to appeal an administrative rules determination.

  • TEC Rule 18.24 also provides that a reduced fine will revert to the amount originally assessed if the filer does not pay the reduced fine within 30 calendar days from the date of the reduction letter.

TEC Rule 18.25 – This rule sets out the provisions for an administrative waiver or reduction of a late fine for a Report Type I (non-critical report) and the related Levels Chart.

To qualify for a Report Type I waiver or reduction, the filer must meet all of following criteria:

  • The filer must have no more than two (2) prior late offenses in the five (5) years preceding the filing deadline of the late report at issue;
  • The filer must have filed the report at issue within 30 days of learning the report was late;
  • The late fine for the report at issue cannot have been increased by the TEC at a public meeting under section 254.042(b) of the Election Code, section 305.033(c) of the Government Code, or section 572.033(b) of the Government Code; and
  • The filer cannot have an outstanding late fine.

If the filer meets all of the criteria, the determination is made according to the Levels Chart shown in this section, which is based on the filer's number of prior late offenses and whether there was "good cause" shown.

TEC Rule 18.26 – This rule sets out the provisions for an administrative waiver or reduction of a late fine for a Report Type II (critical report) and the related Levels Chart or Formulas Chart, as applicable. This rule also provides some examples of the application of the Report Type II Formulas Chart.

To qualify for a Report Type II waiver or reduction, the filer must meet all of following criteria:

  • The filer must have no more than two (2) prior late offenses in the five (5) years preceding the filing deadline of the late report at issue;
  • The late fine for the report at issue cannot have been increased by the TEC at a public meeting under section 254.042(b) of the Election Code, section 305.033(c) of the Government Code, or section 572.033(b) of the Government Code; and
  • The filer cannot have an outstanding late fine.

If the filer meets all of the criteria, the determination is made according to either the Levels Chart or Formulas Chart shown in this section, based on the amount of activity in the report at issue, how soon after the deadline the report was filed, the filer’s number of prior late offenses, and whether the filer showed “good cause.”

What happens in the administrative rules process?

  • When the TEC receives a request for a waiver or reduction of a late fine, the administrative late letter process is suspended until the request is considered and resolved.
  • After reviewing the request and applying the TEC rules, the TEC sends a determination letter to the filer explaining that the TEC rules determination is: 1) that the report is eligible for a waiver of the fine; 2) that the report is eligible for a reduction of the fine; or 3) that the report is ineligible and there is no waiver of the fine. If the fine is not waived, the determination letter also explains the following:
    • the filer may find the applicable rules on the TEC’s website (the exact webpage URL address is provided in the letter);
    • if the late fine was not waived, the filer has approximately 30 calendar days from the date of the letter (the TEC calculates an exact date and provides that date in the letter) to pay the late fine or request appeal;
    • if the late fine was reduced, the reduced fine will change to the amount originally assessed if the filer does not pay the reduced fine or request appeal within 30 calendar days from the date of the letter (the TEC calculates an exact date and provides that date in the letter);
    • the filer may request an appeal of an administrative rules determination and describes how to do so; and
    • if the TEC does not receive the payment or request for appeal by the date specified in the letter, the TEC will proceed with the steps listed on the insert enclosed with the letter. The insert is printed on colored paper and titled “Consequences for Failure to Respond.”
  • If the filer does not pay or respond to the determination letter by the date specified in the letter, the TEC reinstates the administrative late letter process and proceeds with the consequences for failure to respond. What happens if I don’t respond to late notices or pay a late fine?

How do I request a waiver or reduction of a late fine?

All filers who are required by law to file with the TEC (“TEC filers”) are subject to an administrative civil penalty (“late fine”) if a report is not timely filed by the applicable filing deadline. A TEC filer who is assessed a late fine may submit payment of the fine or submit an affidavit requesting waiver or reduction of the fine, if the filer believes there are circumstances that might warrant a waiver or reduction.

Important Tips:

  • The late report in question must be filed in the correct format before the TEC may consider a request for waiver or reduction of a late fine.
  • If you missed the deadline, file the report as soon as possible. Make sure the report is filed and transmitted successfully through the TEC’s online electronic filing application. When a report is electronically “filed” you will receive a confirmation email. If you have not received a confirmation email for the report in question, log in to the filing application and check to make sure you have not left the report “in progress.&rduo;
  • You may submit a request for a waiver or reduction of a late fine as soon as you know that the report is late. You do not need to wait for the TEC to send a late notice.
  • A request for a waiver or reduction of a late fine should be in the form of an affidavit, which is a statement that has been signed and sworn to before a notary public.
  • Your request must be typed or printed in a clearly legible format. It should explain the facts and circumstances that you believe might justify a waiver or reduction under the TEC rules, including such information as the reason the report was late; the date you learned that the report was late, if known; whether you contacted the TEC for assistance with filing the report, including the dates, times, and names of the person(s) who assisted you, if known; and any other information pertaining to the late report.
  • You may deliver your request affidavit to the TEC in one of two ways: EMAIL the signed PDF attachment to affidavits@ethics.state.tx.us or MAIL the signed form to Texas Ethics Commission, P.O. Box 12070, Austin, Texas 78711-2070.
  • If you submit both a waiver/reduction request and the fine payment, the TEC deposits the payment and considers the request. After the TEC reviews your request and applies the TEC rules, if it is determined that you are eligible for a reduction or waiver of the fine, the TEC will refund the allowable amount.

How do I request an appeal of an administrative late fine determination made under the TEC Rules?

If the TEC receives a request for a waiver or reduction of a late fine, the request is reviewed administratively under the TEC rules. The TEC rules are applied to determine whether or not the late report is eligible for a waiver or reduction of the fine. For more information on this process, see Administrative Waiver or Reduction of Late Fines under TEC Rules.

Under section 18.24(g) of the TEC rules, a filer may appeal an administrative determination made under the TEC rules if the filer is not satisfied with the determination. To request an appeal:

  • An appeal request must be made in writing and received by the TEC within 30 days from the date of the determination letter (TEC calculates an exact date and provides that date in the letter).
  • An appeal request should be typed or printed in a clearly legible format. It may be in the form of an affidavit. It should state the filer’s reasons for requesting an appeal, provide any additional information needed to support the request, and state whether the filer (or other person on the filer's behalf) would like the opportunity to appear and offer testimony at the TEC public meeting when the appeal is considered.
  • A filer may deliver an appeal request to the TEC in one of two ways: EMAIL the signed PDF attachment to affidavits@ethics.state.tx.us or MAIL the signed form to Texas Ethics Commission, P.O. Box 12070, Austin, Texas 78711-2070.
  • What happens during the administrative late fine appeal process?

What happens during the administrative late fine appeal process?

If the TEC receives a request for a waiver or reduction of a late fine, the request is reviewed administratively under the TEC rules. The TEC rules are applied to determine whether or not the late report is eligible for a waiver or reduction of the fine. For more information on this process, see Administrative Waiver or Reduction of Late Fines under TEC Rules.

Under section 18.24(g) of the TEC rules, a filer may appeal an administrative determination made under the TEC rules if the filer is not satisfied with the determination.

  • If a filer chooses to request an appeal, the appeal must be in writing and received by the TEC within 30 days from the date of the determination letter (TEC calculates an exact date and provides that date in the letter).
  • Appeals regarding administrative determinations made under the TEC rules are considered by the TEC commissioners at a TEC public meeting. The TEC sends a meeting notice to the filer approximately two weeks before the meeting date. The filer is welcome to attend the meeting, although the filer’s presence is not required in order for the TEC to consider the appeal. Often the filer (or other person on the filer’s behalf) chooses to appear and offer testimony regarding the appeal, since the TEC commissioners are being asked to consider an exception to the adopted TEC rules.
  • The TEC commissioners consider the appeal regarding the late fine and may affirm the administrative determination made under the TEC Rules or make a new determination based on facts presented in the appeal. The TEC commissioners have the final authority to waive, reduce, or affirm the late fine.
  • After the TEC public meeting at which an appeal regarding an administrative late fine is considered, the TEC sends a letter to the filer informing the filer of the TEC’s decision. The filer is given approximately 30 calendar days from the date of the appeal determination letter (TEC calculates an exact date and provides that date in the letter) to pay the late fine, if any. If the filer does not respond to the TEC letter, the TEC proceeds with the enforcement procedures as outlined in the letter, including referring the matter to the Office of the Attorney General and the Comptroller of Public Accounts for collection of the fine, and may also include a referral to the appropriate attorney for criminal prosecution. For more information, see What happens if I don't respond to late notices or pay a late fine?

How do I pay a late fine?

Submit a late fine payment by check or money order made payable to the Texas Ethics Commission for the total amount. Your canceled check will serve as your receipt for the late fine payment. At this time, the TEC is unable to accept fine payments by credit card or electronically.

You may deliver your payment to the TEC:

    by U.S. Mail to P.O. Box 12070, Austin, Texas 78711-2070; or
    by contract carrier or hand-delivery to the TEC’s physical address at the Sam Houston Building, 201 East 14th Street, 10th Floor, Austin, Texas 78701.

Important Tips:

  • Please include a note with your payment identifying the filer and report with which the payment is associated. (Example: Jane Doe, TEC Filer ID #00099999, semiannual report due 1/1/18.) If you received a notice of late report (late letter) regarding the late fine, please include a copy of the letter with your payment. This information will help the TEC when processing your payment.
  • In Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 206 (1994), the TEC determined that payment of a fine for filing a late campaign finance report with the TEC is a political expenditure. Therefore, a filer may use political funds to pay a late fine.
  • Late fines are imposed on the %ldquo;person required to file the report.” See Elec. Code § 254.042, [other cites].
  • Note for Candidates and Officeholders: A candidate/officeholder, not the candidate’s/officeholder’s campaign treasurer, is responsible for filing reports under title 15 of the Election Code. Even though the late fine is the personal responsibility of the candidate/officeholder, it is permissible for payment to come either from political contributions, from the campaign treasurer’s personal funds, or from the personal funds of the candidate/officeholder. See Elec. Code §§ 254.041, 254.042. How the candidate/officeholder reports the payment differs depending on the source from which the fine is paid. See Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 206 (1994). out of document>

    Note for Political Committees: The campaign treasurer of a political committee is responsible for filing reports under title 15 of the Election Code, and therefore the campaign treasurer is liable for any fine imposed for filing a committee report late. The political committee may, however, use political contributions to pay a late fine imposed on the committee’s campaign treasurer. Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 206 (1994); see also Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 216 (1994) (corporate sponsor of general-purpose political committee may pay late fine imposed on campaign treasurer as an administrative expense) and Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 315 (1996) (campaign treasurer of a general-purpose committee is liable for any fine imposed for filing a committee report late.)

What happens if I don’t respond to late notices or pay a late fine?

Consequences of Failure to Respond:

  • The matter of the late fine will be referred to the Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”) for enforcement.
    • Note: Once the matter is referred to the OAG, that office has its own procedures for collecting the fine, which may include filing a lawsuit against the filer. At that point, the filer must contact the OAG to resolve the matter.

  • The filer’s name will be posted on the Delinquent Filer Lists on the TEC’s website and in the public viewing room of the TEC at 201 East 14th Street, Sam Houston Building, 10th Floor, Austin, Texas, and sent for publication in the Texas Register.
  • The TEC will report the filer’s name and the indebtedness to the state to the Comptroller of Public Accounts. The TEC will then use the warrant hold procedures of the Comptroller’s Office to ensure that payments from the state are not issued to the filer until the debt is settled.
  • The TEC may also refer the matter to the appropriate attorney for criminal prosecution.

Reports More Than 30 Days Late: If a report is more than 30 days late, the TEC sends a warning letter of liability by registered mail to the person required to file the report. If the assessed late fine is not paid before the 10th day after receipt of the registered letter, the fine may be increased by an amount determined by the TEC up to $10,000. Fine increases are considered and voted on by the TEC commissioners at a TEC public meeting.


The TEC has a blank affidavit form that you may use to submit a waiver/reduction request:

Important Tips:

  • A request for a waiver or reduction of a fine for a late report should be in the form of an affidavit, which is a statement that has been signed and sworn to before a notary public. It must be typed or printed in a clearly legible format.
  • Delivery of affidavits for TEC filers can be EMAILED as a signed PDF attachment to affidavits@ethics.state.tx.us or MAIL the signed form to Texas Ethics Commission, P.O. Box 12070, Austin, Texas 78711-2070.

Criminal Referrals/Enforcement


The duties and powers of the Texas Ethics Commission are prescribed by Chapter 571 of the Texas Government Code, and include, but are not limited to, the enforcement of laws and regulations concerning the lobbying of state officials as well as the personal financial disclosures required to be filed by public officials. The Commission is mandated by statute to refer for prosecution those who violate certain of these laws and regulations.

Among the statutes the Commission is charged with administering and enforcing is Chapter 305 of the Texas Government Code, which addresses lobbyist registrations, reports, and activities. Lobbyists are required to file reports with the Commission. If they fail to do so before the 21st day after the date on which the notice was sent, the Commission is mandated to file a sworn complaint of the violation with the appropriate prosecuting attorney. Gov’t. Code, Section 305.034. A knowing and intentional violation of Chapter 305 of the Texas Government Code is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor. Gov’t Code, Section 305.031(a) (paraphrased).


The Commission is also charged with administering and enforcing Chapter 572 of the Texas Government Code, which includes requirements concerning personal financial statements. State officers, candidates for office, and a state party chair must file a verified financial statement with the Commission. Gov’t Code, Section 572.021. If the Commission determines that an individual failed to file such a statement, the Commission is mandated to send a written statement to the appropriate prosecuting attorneys of the state. If a state officer or candidate or state party chair knowingly and willfully fails to file a financial statement, it is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor. Gov’t Code, Sections 572.034.


Upon a vote of six Commissioners, the Commission may refer a matter to the appropriate prosecuting attorney for criminal prosecution. Gov’t Code, Section 571.171, and Commission Rule 6.7.

Delinquent Filers


The Commission assesses civil penalties when certain filers fail to submit required filings on time. The Commission is required to post certain information about unpaid civil penalties for untimely filings here.

The Commission will remove the names of people responsible for unpaid civil penalties as soon as practicable when the filer makes payment. If you believe your name is posted in error, contact the Commission.

[For PACs only] By state law, the treasurer of a PAC is responsible for payment of fines. PAC funds may be used for penalty payments.