Texas state politicians and bureaucrats are required to annually file personal financial statements, which can highlight potential conflicts of interest by legislators and agency heads.
Unfortunately, these personal financial statements are not posted online. Influence Texas believes the records should be available online, which is why we have uploaded the records for Texas state lawmakers and other officials to our Drop Box, which you can access from our Resources page.
We are in the process of creating a searchable database for these personal financial statements, which have to obtained through an open records request to the Texas Ethics Commission, which will provide them in pdf format on a disc.
We have often received the question “Why can’t you get the personal financial statements online?” as well as: “Why wouldn’t the government make them easy to access?”
We can only speculate.
During the 85th Texas legislative session, the House passed HB 1377, which would have required the personal financial statements to be posted online, but the bill died in the Senate State Affairs committee.
Rep. Chris Turner, who championed the effort, said: “It’s inexplicable that we don’t have these reports online for the public to be able to access if they want to. This is a fundamental transparency issue, and it’s past time that we correct this omission.”
As demonstrated in our story “Senator Who Owns ER Votes Against Bill to Stop ER Medical Billing Abuses,” personal financial statement data can be used to point out important potential conflicts of interest.