Week in Review: Ken Paxton, Adrian Heath, and the Texas State Corruption Score

There are new developments in the case of the prosecution of Attorney General Ken Paxton.

A Collin County Commissioner on Tuesday said that she and her fellow commissioners should consider legal action against Judge George Gallagher, citing his edicts that county taxpayers bankroll the paychecks for the special prosecutors pursuing Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Commissioner Susan Fletcher’s statements come the after the 5th Court of Appeals issued an opinion voiding an order for a $205,000 payment to the three Houston-area lawyers serving as the Paxton prosecution team.

Fletcher also raised the idea of clawing back the $370,000 county taxpayers have already paid the prosecutors and their lawyers based on the judge’s previous orders.

Gallagher is no longer the judge assigned to the Paxton case. A new judge was assigned when the trial was moved to Harris County.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin December first.

Paxton was indicted two years ago for allegedly breaking state securities laws.

In the first interview since leaving prison, The Texas Monitor spoke with Adrian Heath, who says he did time because he ran afoul of power brokers in Montgomery County.

In May 2010, Heath and nine other politically-motivated colleagues, gathered at a Residence Inn hotel in the Woodlands Road Utility District, or RUD, a 2,500-acre taxing entity that was created in 1991 and is part of a Woodlands power structure that consists of developers, lawyers and public officials.

Heath’s group claimed residency by staying two nights at the hotel, relying on the state’s ill-defined voter residency laws. Health insists they consulted several times with elections officials at both the local and state level and were assured that their actions were lawful.

The existing board, backed by an attorney from the district, called in some favors to powerful folks such as then-state Sen. Tommy Williams who apparently went to the Attorney General — and now governor — Greg Abbott, who prosecuted Health and others for voter fraud.

The special session is wrapped up and legislators have left Austin, but did the politicians leave a stain of corruption behind?

A Harvard study suggests that may be the case.

In the study on corruption, Texas state government did not score well.

The study found that illegal corruption is “moderately common” in both the state’s legislative and executive branches.

And when the survey scores looking at all the states are combined, the study found that Texas is perceived to be among the most corrupt, taking the prize alongside states such as Louisiana, Illinois, and New Jersey.