By Toni Richard
A complaint was filed by Magnolia resident Pete Goeddertz, with the support of a group of concerned taxpayers to The Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) on January 14th against District 150 Representative Debbie Riddle, alleging discrepancies in her campaign financial reports. The complaint alleges that Riddle failed to include required information and that she hired an out-of-state political committee, which is a violation of the Election Code and Texas Ethics Commission rule 20.29. The complaint further alleges that Riddle failed to disclose the current campaign treasurer appointment which is also a violation of section 254.061 of The Election Code.
According to this group of concerned taxpayers, Riddle’s miscalculations started from the very beginning. The July 2004 campaign financial report shows “Total Political Contributions Maintained” as $6,654.24. The balance was forwarded from the 2004 report, with no outstanding loans. The complaint states that calculations forwarded from the 04 report, discloses that the January 2006 semi-annual report should show a ‘Contribution Balance’ of $42,998.84, and not zero as reported and that as of June 2007, $34,169.92 is missing.” Basic principals of financial accounting would show the balance of an ending year being transferred as the beginning balance of the next. In the case of the complaint filed against State Representative Debbie Riddle, the report has been off each time for the past four years to the tune of some 34 to 47 thousand dollars.
In addition to the unaccounted for dollars, the complaint filed to the TEC on January 14 alleges that Riddle has accepted corporate contributions including contributions from Adams Insurance Service Inc. According to the Texas Secretary of State, the Adams Insurance Company is listed as a domestic for-profit corporation and is registered as a Texas corporation with the Texas Comptroller. TEC regulations state that accepting corporate contributions may be in violation of sections 253.094 and 253.003 of the Election Code.
When asked for her position on these allegations, Riddle says, “There were some errors on the form that I filed. Those errors on the form are being corrected. Although there were errors in filling out the form, I want to stress that there were no donations accepted or spent inappropriately.”
“Our group encompasses a group of conservative Republicans that want to know how our tax dollars are spent,” Goeddertz said. “What we do gives government agencies accountability at a time when government spending is out of control.” Goeddert adds, “this amount of research could never be done alone and there are many others in our group committed to keeping these guys honest. We are not going away, we do not take sides, and we are committed to good politics regardless of the party.” The complaint will be processed by the TEC as a Category Two violation and has given Riddle 25 days to respond to these allegations.