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Charlie Geren is NOT ethical.

Between 2005 and 2017, Charlie Geren dated Mindy Ellmer, culminating in their marriage in 2017. Ellmer has been named by Capitol Inside as a top "Hired Gun" on its highly regarded annual list of "Texas Lobby Power Rankings." Because of their relationship, there have been a number of allegations regarding conflicts of interest and unethical behavior. Here are a few.

  • As mentioned, in 2015, Geren filed House Bill 1794, a bill that would place a cap on the amount that cities and counties can collect from companies that harm the contaminate the environment, and added a five year statute of limitations on all such claims. The bill was pushed by a client of his wife's, the Texas Civil Justice League, and opponents claimed it was Geren's relationship to Ellmers that lead to him filing the bill.
  • Charlie Geren was the driving force for Senate Bill 1004. Critics say the bill could save the telecommunication giant AT&T hundreds of millions of dollars while taking needed tax revenue from city coffers around the state, revenue that would have to be made up with higher taxes on Texas city residents. Geren's wife holds a contract from AT&T worth up to $99,999 to try and influence lawmakers to vote on issues favorable to AT&T. 
  • Charlie Geren successfully pushed to permanently allow restaurants to sell alcohol for pickup and delivery orders after filing the legislation. House Bill 1024 benefitted another client of Ellmer's, The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA). The TRA, which is backing the legislation, paid Ellmer between $25,000 and $49,000 for lobbying work from September through December.

Additionally, Charlie Geren also admitted to gutting House Bill 504 in 2017, an ethics reform bill. The bill would have implemented a "cooling off” period before an ex-lawmaker can return to the Texas Legislature as a lobbyist, but Geren replaced the bill with one that 

  • reduces punishment for legislators who misuse official information during the two years following their departure from office;
  • decreases the application of an existing ethics statute that prohibits the abuse of non-public information for personal gain;
  • changes the violation from a third-degree felony to a misdemeanor; and
  • grants former lawmakers a lower penalty for violating that law.

In an interview,  Geren said, “You can say I gutted it." 

Geren also introduced House Bill 1585 despite opposition from the National Association for Gun Rights. The bill would classify issue driven non-profits (501c4) as electioneering organizations. According to the President of Texas Gun Rights, “Politicians in Austin clearly don’t want their constituents to know what they are up to.”

Pol adv paid for by Jack for Texas.
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