Opinion: Morning Examiner

Problems mount for Wendy Davis as new complaint alleges failure to disclose income

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Campaign Finance,Wendy Davis,Greg Abbott

There are more new ethics problems for Texas Democratic gubernatorial favorite and national abortion-on-demand heroine Wendy Davis.

A complaint was filed earlier this week with the Texas Ethics Commission by a citizen watchdog claiming Davis failed to disclose significant sources of income between 2010 and 2012, as she was required to do by state campaign laws.

The complaint alleges that Davis failed to list $25,000 in interest and dividend income she received during those years on her financial disclosure report.

The complaint also alleges that Davis did not disclose that she was paid by the employer of a state lobbyist, the Fort Worth-based Cantey Hanger LLP trial lawyer firm.

The citizen watchdog

Lou Ann Anderson, who filed the complaint, is editor of Watchdog Wire -- Texas, which is a Right-leaning group that encourages "citizen journalism."

Anderson's complaint is based on tax returns Davis made public recently and her financial disclosure statements that are public records in Texas.

“What I found were questions -- questions that it doesn't take being a CPA, a lawyer or other government policy analyst to recognize,” Anderson told reporter Jon Cassidy.

“Information (for the cited years) provided to the IRS is far more detailed than information provided to the Texas Ethics Commission as mandated by state law.

"That mandate exists in support of government transparency. It exists so the public can identify potential conflicts of interest, so voters can have a tool to monitor that public interests are not usurped by self-interested elected officials.”

Can Davis survive?

Davis is challenging Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in the race to succeed retiring Gov. Rick Perry. Her campaign was an uphill effort at best, given Texas' status as one of the most reliably red states.

But Democrat strategists are mounting a determined long-term effort to turn Texas blue, based on growing immigration they assume will increase their party's voting strength in the Lone Star State.

Abbott has handily led Davis in every significant survey to date, and it's hard to see how her campaign can recover from the pounding its received in recent weeks.

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