by Peary Perry
am at a complete loss this week on where to get started. There are
so many areas I’d like to discuss and write about, but so little time
to do so.
I was all set to write a humorous column about something or another
that I thought was funny and thought would entertain you but got sidetracked
by what you are about to read.
These past couple of weeks I have been harping on the legislature
of our wonderful state of Texas as they all seem to have a bad case
of amnesia when it comes to honesty to us, the taxpayers. Here’s the
story for this week.
seems a number of our esteemed members of the legislature have been
paying their wives with campaign contributions. One of the legislature
members (Rob Eissler) decided that what he was doing was wrong and
repaid $52,000 to his campaign. Another member (Carl Islett) had been
paying a company owned jointly by both he and his wife. When confronted
with the possible violation of the rules of the ethics commission,
the wife formed another company and continued to be paid. The sources
says that the company they owned jointly was paid $36,000 for work
done over 2 ½ years. The company the wife formed by herself was paid
$39,158 for last years work. This amount is about ½ of all of the
funds the house member collected for the year. What a deal. Sounds
to me like the company they both owned was a better bargain.
The state prohibits lawmakers from paying themselves, their wives
or their dependent children out of campaign funds. This was intended
to stop legislators from living off funds often donated by various
Islett’s wife is a CPA and says that her fees are normal and are in
line with other clients. I’ve hired accountants in the past but can’t
think of any that charged me 50% of the revenue I received, just for
keeping track of the revenue. Seems to be a tad high if you ask me,
but what do I know?
The house member went on to elaborate by saying that in addition to
keeping the ‘books’ for his campaign, she also writes thank you notes,
maintains a database of donors and files reports to the ethics commission.
She also had to re-enter all of the data lost on her computer which
I suppose came as a result of it crashing. If she is a CPA, was she
absent the day they warned about make backups to all of your data?
Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt, and say she was sick. Poor
Oh, and she says a lot of her time is taken up responding to requests
from the Ethics Commission. I’d bet that one might be valid.
But what I am confused about is the fact that House member Islett
also paid one of his daughters for secretarial services. Now, I might
be wrong but wouldn’t secretarial services include such things as
writing thank you letters for donations and maintaining a database
of your donors? She also got a $3,756 commission for doing some fundraising.
Makes you wonder how that commission figure was arrived at, doesn’t
I applaud our citizens who wish to give their time to be our representatives,
but come on, give us a break. All of us aren’t stupid, we can see
through this kind of stuff. When you graduate from college and print
those slick campaign brochures that we get daily when you are in the
campaign mode, they don’t say that you are naïve and or mentally challenged.
No, they tell us how many degrees you have, what a successful business
you have operated or owned and a variety of other plaudits to make
us think you are the smartest and brightest to ever come down the
Then you get your hands caught in the cookie jar and you respond with
some lame excuse such as …. “I didn’t know this is what the law actually
meant…” or as in the case of Islett who says… “You never know you
might be doing something wrong …until someone files a complaint.”
If Al Capon had a better attorney, he could have used that one… “I
didn’t know you had to pay tax…no one ever actually told me…”
Come on now, you can do better than that. After all you’re a true
live member of the house of the representatives for this great state
of ours. Give us an excuse we can believe …something like…. “I’m actually
an alien from the planet Zenon and I’m not familiar with any sort
of ethics rules….we don’t have ethics where I come from”
I can believe that easier than what you have told us. Much easier.
(Source: An article by Laylan Copelin, The Austin American Statesman,