Public officials are expected to adhere to a standard of conduct that is higher than that of ordinary citizens.
However, in Texas a number of prominent public officials stand accused of corruption offenses. These are among the most complicated and involved types of crimes that are investigated in the state.
Last month, the Texas Tribune provided an update on the charges that have been brought against Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. He is being prosecuted on allegations of misusing government funds. Officials say his trial will be in Travis County, notwithstanding a new law that sends corruption cases brought against state officials and employees to their home counties.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is also accused of fraud. He faces criminal charges and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently filed a civil complaint against him, accusing him of misleading investors to raise $840,000 in exchange for 100,000 shares of stock.
Investigations of accusations such as gifts to public servants, bribery, perjury and tampering with government records were recently taken over by the Texas Rangers, a division of the Texas Department of Public Safety. A new law means charges can be brought in an official or employee’s home county.
The Rangers are reported to be investigating Miller over two trips he allegedly took on the state’s dime in early 2015. Progress Texas, a liberal advocacy group has called for a probe into Miller’s state-paid trips.
The investigation progressed this year a month after a report appeared in the Houston Chronicle claiming that Miller used taxpayer money to travel to Oklahoma in 2015 to apparently receive an anti-inflammatory injection that’s meant to reduce chronic pain called the “Jesus shot.”
Miller’s supporters accuse Progress Texas of political points scoring.
Ken Paxton was indicted last summer on two felony counts of securities fraud. The New York Times reported that a grand jury indicted him on two charges of securities fraud last year and one account of acting as an investment advisor while not being registered with the state.
The charges relate to allegations he recruited investors to a technology company before he became Texas’s attorney general.
Charges of corruption have been leveled against high ranking officials in Texas as well as at local council level. They are often very complicated and allegations may be politically motivated. It’s important to hire an experienced white collar crimes defense attorney who is well versed in fighting corruption allegations.