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How It Works

Our How It Works series pulls back the curtain on the inter-workings of state government by identifying who’s involved, defining what they do, and explaining the motivations behind their actions.

08/09/17

Faster, Easier, More Accurate Data, For You

At Transparency Texas, our mission is to serve you, the freedom-loving citizens of Texas, by providing clear, easy-to-understand information about the money flowing through political hands in our great state. Most importantly, the information must be accurate. A recent study done by the Campaign Finance Institute found that the Texas Ethics Commission (the agency responsible… CONTINUE

07/19/17

Where’s the New Campaign Finance Data?

You’ll notice the campaign finance data on our website goes only to March 22, 2017. The reason? That’s the most recent data the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) has released for download. Earlier this week, on Monday, July 17th, to be exact, the January 1, 2017 – June 30, 2017 semi-annual campaign finance reports were due… CONTINUE

06/30/17

What’s A Reporting Period and Why Does It Matter?

The Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) regularly requires officeholders, candidates, and PACs to report the money they’ve raised and spent during a specific time period. The first reporting period for 2017 started on January 1, 2017, and ends today, June 30, 2017. These reports are required, ostensibly, to ensure this information is available to citizens. However,… CONTINUE

06/07/17

Opening the Financial Floodgates: Money and the Special Session

Once every two years when the Texas Legislature is in session for 140 days, all legislators in the Capitol, along with statewide elected officials, are subject to a moratorium on accepting political contributions. This policy was enacted to prevent the conflict of interest that would inevitably arise should lobbyists and other special interest groups be… CONTINUE

04/06/17

Understanding the System, the Deadlines, and the Deception

The Texas Legislature convenes for only 140 days every odd-numbered year, but all of that time is not spent working on passing legislation. The Texas Constitution outlines calendar deadlines dictating when bills can be filed, when they can be discussed and voted on in committee, and finally, when they can head to the floor to… CONTINUE

03/22/17

Understanding Corporate Contributions

The general rule in Texas is that corporations cannot make contributions to candidates and political committees. So, you may ask why a corporation like Walmart, or an organization like the Texas Association of Realtors, can show up on a campaign finance report. The answer is a bit complicated. The Texas Election Code prohibits incorporated entities… CONTINUE

02/22/17

Revolving Door Lobbyists

During the 85th Session of the Texas Legislature, a slew of bills have been filed which aim to curb the practice of “revolving door lobbyists.” The term “revolving door lobbyists” refers to former elected officials who now work as lobbyists. They are paid to form relationships with members of the legislature and key staff to… CONTINUE

02/15/17

Wining And Dining Elected Officials

Texas politicians can be influenced by two financial sources: campaign contributions and lobbyist expenditures. During the Texas legislative session, state law prohibits campaign contributions to legislators. This is designed to prevent donors and PACs from currying favor with legislators while they are casting votes. For example, if you wanted to donate to the campaign of your House representative, you are not… CONTINUE

02/13/17

What’s An Interest Group?

There are countless advocacy groups in Texas that promote certain policies or principles or advance the interests of various groups of people. These types of organizations are often formed as non-profit corporations, though some can be for-profit entities. Legally they are allowed to spend money to speak on causes and issues, as well as candidates,… CONTINUE