Cumulative Digest of Ethics Advisory Opinions

2016 | 2017 | 2018

2016 Opinions

EAO No. 535 (2016) – Under the facts as described in this opinion, an attorney who accepts an invitation from a member of the legislative branch to discuss pending legislation with the intent to influence legislation, and who receives compensation in excess of $1,000 in a calendar quarter, would be required to register as a lobbyist under chapter 305 of the Government Code.

EAO No. 536 (2016) – A judicial officeholder may use political contributions to pay reasonable and necessary travel expenses to teach at the legal conference described in this request.

EAO No. 537 (2016) – A legislator may accept a tax deduction for the donation of property or money to the state if the legislator is lawfully entitled to receive the deduction under the applicable federal or Texas tax laws and the valuation of the donation is not connected to the legislator's status as a public servant.

EAO No. 538 (2016) – For purposes of section 255.003 of the Election Code, the attached brochure is not political advertising and, therefore, public funds may be used to distribute the brochure unless an officer or employee of the city authorizing such use of public funds knows that the brochure contains false information.

EAO No. 539 (2016) – The revolving door law provided by section 572.054(b) of the Government Code does not prohibit a former TCEQ employee from performing certain services described in this opinion on behalf of a private firm related to the remediation of leaking underground storage tanks.

EAO No. 540 (2016) – ** Opinion History ** Based on section 26.1 of the Texas Ethics Commission’s rules, political advertising that is broadcast by radio is not required to include a disclosure statement. Such a result is an unintended consequence of the rule, and the commission will amend rule 26.1 to clarify the manner in which a disclosure statement, when required by section 255.001 of the Election Code, must appear in political advertising that is broadcast by radio.

2017 Opinions

EAO No. 541 (2017) – A prepaid debit card or gift card is considered to be cash for purposes of section 36.10(a)(6) of the Penal Code.

EAO No. 542 (2017) – Under the facts presented, a legislative caucus would not be required to disclose the misappropriation of its funds by a former employee as an expenditure or disclose the return of those funds by the former employee as a contribution. The legislative moratorium on contributions to the caucus from nonmembers would not prohibit the caucus from accepting the return of those misappropriated funds by the former employee.

EAO No. 543 (2017) – Based on the requestor’s facts described in this opinion, the executive director of a state agency would not receive an “honorarium” for purposes of section 36.07(a) of the Penal Code or a “benefit” for purposes of section 36.08 of the Penal Code by accepting a reimbursement of certain travel expenses that are payable by the state agency. The executive director would not be required to report the reimbursement on a personal financial statement.

EAO No. 544 (2017) – The inspector general for the Health and Human Services Commission is a “state officer” required to file a personal financial statement under Chapter 572 of the Government Code.

EAO No. 545 (2017) – Section 572.069 of the Government Code prohibits a former state employee from providing the services described before the second anniversary of the date on which the employee’s service or employment with the state agency.

2018 Opinions

EAO No. 546 (2018) – A judge may use political contributions to pay the costs associated with membership in an organization that helps its members develop leadership skills if the judge’s primary purpose in paying the costs is to facilitate the duties or activities of the judicial office.

EAO No. 547 (2018) –Under the facts presented, a candidate may use political contributions to pay childcare expenses to facilitate the candidate’s participation in campaign activities.

Part I (1992 to 1994) | Part II (1995 to 1999) | Part III (2000 to 2005) | Part IV (2006 to 2010) | Part IV (2011 to 2015)

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