AUSTIN — As the Texas Democratic Party convenes in Corpus Christi this week, a leader on one of the convention’s core purposes is a state representative carrying past and perhaps present ethical and legal violations.

“Boyd Richie or Matt Angle – whichever one of them is actually running this convention – chose state Rep. Garnet Coleman to help draft the party’s platform again,” said Republican Party of Texas spokesman Bryan Preston.  “This choice makes it crystal clear that the Democrats don’t care about ethics or the law.  If they did, they’d find someone without ethical problems to chair their platform committee.”

During this week’s convention, state Rep. Garnet Coleman has been chosen to chair the platform committee, which will draft the party’s platform that will be adopted during this week’s convention and act as the party’s statement of principles for the next two years.  This is Coleman’s fifth convention in a row to fill that role.  But Coleman has a rough history when it comes to complying with ethics requirements and state law.  In June 2009, the Texas Ethics Commission hit Coleman with $9,500 in civil penalties for failing to report more than $100,000 in political expenditures.  And this year, Coleman failed to fully comply with an open records request filed by the Republican Party of Texas in March.  State Rep. Coleman had 10 days to either comply with it or notify the Party and the Texas Attorney General that he sought an extension or had legal questions concerning the request.  He did neither, in violation of Title 5, Subtitle A of Texas Open Government law.  For this violation, Mr. Coleman could potentially face up to $1000 in fines and up to 6 months in the county jail, because it could constitute official misconduct.

Yet state Rep. Coleman is leading the party’s platform effort.  Chairman Boyd Richie and money man Matt Angle need to answer for this choice.  That this choice comes on the heels of former Democratic state Rep. Terri Hodge reporting to jail for corruption, and current Democratic state Rep. Tara Rios Ybarra being taken into federal custody on corruption charges Wednesday, and that this isn’t her first brush with scandal, makes it all the more appalling.

The Texas Democrats are presiding over a convention of corruption.

Convention of Corruption Summary:

  1. State Rep. Garnet Coleman, fined in 2009 for campaign finance violations and may. be currently in violation of Texas open government law, chairs Democrats’ platform committee.
  2. Former state Rep. Terri Hodge reported to jail this week for corruption conviction.
  3. State Rep. Tara Rios Ybarra taken into federal custody in corruption case.
  4. State Rep. Kino Florres remains under indictment for a host of alleged violations.
  5. Democrat Corruption-o-Rama rundown at Blue Dot Blues
  6. Bill White, Democratic nominee for governor, remains under fire for steering business to a company in which he had a continuing financial interest when he was mayor of Houston.