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Advisory Opinion Summaries

July 25, 2014 – March 2, 2015

Texas Ethics Commission

These summaries have been taken directly from the TEC’s website. To see summaries from previous

years, please visit:


EAO No. 518 (2014)

– A group that does not accept or intend to accept political contributions and does

not use or intend to use more than 20 percent of its funds and other resources to make political expen-

ditures is not a political committee. In this opinion, the requestor was organized under section 501(c)(4)

of the Internal Revenue Code and planned to make direct campaign expenditures from its general trea-

sury funds and use other resources to expressly advocate for the election or defeat of clearly identified

candidates for state and local offices in Texas. Not more than exactly 20 percent of the organization’s

resources (including staff, volunteer time, and equipment) and funds (including the proportional share of

administrative expenses) would be used to make direct campaign expenditures.

EAO No. 519 (2014)

– Title 15 of the Election Code does not prohibit a candidate from accepting an in-

kind political contribution from an out-of-state political committee if the contribution is made from a per-

missible source and the candidate properly complies with the applicable disclosure requirements.

EAO No. 520 (2014)

- An elected board member of an agency in the executive branch of state govern-

ment may accept tuition, food, transportation, or lodging only if acceptance is not prohibited under the

applicable laws, such as lobby law, the penal code, and campaign finance law.

EAO No. 521 (2014)

- A specific-purpose committee may use political contributions to purchase tickets

to entertainment events for a candidate when the primary purpose for the candidate’s attendance is to

build relationships with donors or potential donors or is in connection with a specific campaign event. A

specific-purpose committee may use political contributions to purchase tickets to entertainment events

for an officeholder when the primary purpose for the officeholder’s attendance is to appear or participate

at the event in his or her official capacity as an officeholder.

EAO No. 522 (2014)

- The work time of state employees is a thing of value belonging to the state and may

not be misused by state employees or members of the legislature. The use of a legislative employee’s

work time for purely personal activities would not further a state purpose and would constitute a misuse.

The legislature is the appropriate body for determining whether, subject to constitutional limitations, a

particular use of legislative resources is permissible.

EAO No. 523 (2014)

- Section 572.054(b) of the Government Code does not prohibit a former employee

of the Texas Department of Transportation from performing services related to a bridge replacement

project as described in this opinion unless the services would include a review or analysis of a matter in

which the former employee participated as an employee of the agency.

EAO No. 524 (2015)

- Under the facts as they are presented in this opinion, a legislator is not prohibited

from receiving proceeds from the sales of a book he co-authored or using the proceeds to pay for his out-

of-pocket expenses or donate to a charity.

EAO No. 525 (2015)

- It is permissible for a member of the legislature who does not ordinarily reside in

Travis County to use political contributions to pay the mandatory monthly assessments adopted by the

homeowners association for a residence in Austin that the member owns to the extent that the residence

is used for political purposes.