Ag Commissioner Sid Miller used $37K in campaign funds to buy SUV

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Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller arrives at Mar-a-Lago to meet with President-elect Donald Trump's transition team, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

It might be an American Revolution, as the tag line for Chevy Tahoe marketing puts it, but for Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, it’s another episode of alleged excess.

Miller bought a Tahoe from campaign funds, according to a report from the Houston Chronicle for around $37,600. It was part of a $641,000 spend last year to get his campaign rolling.

 

Spending on vehicles is a given among the state’s elected officials. State Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, has bought three new cars with campaign funds since 2009 while his Democratic colleague from Dallas, Royce West, has spent $142,000 of his campaigns funds on vehicles since 2007, with some payments hitting $850 a month.

Miller’s tenure at the Agriculture Commission has been marked by numerous allegations of actions that — at the least — border on questionable. The appointment of the wife of a campaign consultant to a key position, the handing out of four-figure bonuses totaling $511,000 in FY 2015 to staff  in possible violation of agency rules and several sustained complaints to the state ethics commission have made Miller a target.

So it’s clear that Miller, a former state representative who lost his office in a primary, isn’t fooling around in preparation for the March Republican primary, in which he has drawn an opponent.

Trey Blocker, an attorney and former Monsanto lobbyist from Austin, is contesting Miller. He came out swinging, claiming his bid is based on delivering “honesty, integrity and fiscal responsibility” back to the department of agriculture, implying that under Miller, such attributes have been lacking.

Blocker has come out with a web site, themed Can’t Trust Sid, which outlines various alleged breaches Miller has made over the years.

Miller has a strong party presence, when President Trump was looking for an agriculture secretary, Miller got a call in late 2016.

Miller finished the campaign finance reporting period ending Dec. 31 with a little over $400,000 cash on hand. Blocker had $487,000.

For now, though, Miller has a solid ride and incumbent status.

Steve Miller can be reached at [email protected]

32 COMMENTS

  1. This 1930’s politician needs to go. If he had that much not needed,maybe he could have donated it. Wasn’t given so he could get a new ride. Wonder if ones who donated even care.

  2. This article is garbage and it is NOT illegal! How about publishing this information. Monsanto lobbyist Trey Blocker donated $2,500 to the Democratic Party of Texas as recently as January 2017 and has been a paid adviser for Joe Straus and Pancho Nevarez to name a few.

  3. This is a pointless article. It leads as “news” that Miller bought a vehicle with campaign funds and then recites a list of others who have done so as well, all legally. Is it a surprise that candidates need transportation to travel in their campaign?

    • Yes, a vehicle is needed to travel around and campaign. I can promise you that the money donated to our campaign has not gone into a vehicle. I refuse to even use campaign funds for fuel cost. There are some things that a candidate should pay for themselves.

  4. You should all be able to see that both side are corrupt Republicans Democrats doesn’t matter there is corruption at all levels and until we enforce TERM LIMITS ban lobbying and make all government non profit we will not see a change the corrupt will keep getting away with human rights violations and murder and anyone who says it’s one side or the other is the idiot and the problem we need radical change if everyone that was involved in the corruption was outed and jailed we wouldn’t have a government left

  5. Dems are just as corrupt we need to make all government non profit and get rid of lobbyist and set term limits for all offices if we want to fix anything just voting for a different party isn’t going to cut it

  6. If you buy spend money on a pin on campaign badge to give away, or you buy a SUV, for campaigning equipment to move from A to B, or rent or buy a house for a campaign head quarters, or you buy office equipment, computers; furniture; curtains; paper, pencils ) with campaign funds…………..do you require all: pencils, buttons, gas, tires, plane tickets, posters an all other stuff bought buy campaign funds TO BE RETURNED IN ITS ENTIRETY, AND IF SO ONE THING MEANS ALL THINGS. SO WHATS THE FRIGGIN DIFFERENCE??

  7. Please stop publishing this type of crap Sid Miller and Royce West have represented Tx very well. This is the type of stuff the MSM publishes that provides no real facts. Is this a paid ad for Trey Blocker.

  8. I’ve got an idea– let’s go through the expenses of everyone at the The Texas Monitor. C.g. David is right, you posted this piece knowing all too well that it makes it sound illegal. Make sure your hands are clean before showing your bias, Texas Monitor.

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