Dawnna Dukes pays ethics fines, avoids AG collection


Four months after it was due to the Texas Ethics Commission, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes has filed her personal financial statement for 2015.

With the filing, the 11-term Austin Democrat is now up to date with all ethics filings after she was fined five times for missing deadlines on four campaign finance reports and the financial statement.

Dukes filed the form electronically Thursday after saying problems with the commission’s computer system prevented her from submitting it by the Feb. 12 deadline. Last week, she paid a $500 fine for failing to file the report on time.

VIEW: Dukes’ 2015 personal financial statement.

In all, she has paid off two of the five $500 fines and asked for a waiver on a third. The other two fines, which were billed to Dukes’ campaign and not directly to her, remain outstanding.

Before Dukes made the $1,000 payment on May 27, with money from her campaign account, the commission was preparing to ask the attorney general’s office to pursue Dukes over the debt, but it will now hold off, said Natalia Ashley, the commission’s executive director.

The Ethics Commission’s scrutiny of Dukes is unrelated to the criminal investigation she is facing that involves the Texas Rangers, the Travis County district attorney’s office and the state auditor’s office. That probe began when Dukes’ former chief of staff raised questions about her directing state employees to work on a nonprofit event she co-founded. It has widened to include a raise Dukes awarded to cover gas money for a staffer who ran personal errands for her and state payments Dukes received when the Legislature wasn’t in session in 2014.

STATESMAN EXCLUSIVE: Text message says staffer’s raise covered errands for Rep. Dawnna Dukes.

The Ethics Commission only asks the attorney general to get involved when someone owes $1,500 or more in debts. Because two of the five $500 fines were assessed to Dukes’ campaign, and not directly to her, the $1,000 payment she made May 27 lowered her personal debt to $500.

For the third debt that Dukes owed personally, she asked the commission to waive the fine, saying she was unable to file in a timely manner a campaign finance report that was due July 15, 2015, because of medical issues, according to a copy of the request obtained through the Texas Public Information Act.

Dukes has said she missed almost all of the 2015 legislative session because of an August 2013 accident that has caused her chronic pain.


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