Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Super Bowl Tickets Part 2

R. A. Dyer - Politex - February 11, 2008

Last week, the Star-Telegram reported that state Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, had accepted free Super Bowl tickets in 2004 from a top lobbyist for CenterPoint Energy.

But King, R-Weatherford, wasn't the only elected official to have accepted CenterPoint's largesse.

The same 2004 lobby report from CenterPoint Vice President Scott Rozzell that shows free tickets for King and his son also shows free tickets for Republican Michael Williams and his wife.

King chairs the House Committee on Regulated Industries. Williams chairs the Texas Railroad Commission. CenterPoint has business before both.

Watchdog groups have said it's improper to accept such gifts because it gives the impression that policymakers are too close to the industries they oversee.

But Williams, like King, said he did nothing wrong. Both are running for re-election

"It's legal and it's ethical and it's consistent with state law," said Williams. "It was reported who purchased the ticket, who I went with, who went with me and so forth. Voters can make their own judgments."

King earlier denied to the Star-Telegram that CenterPoint has paid for his ticket. But after being asked about the old lobby report from Rozzell, King acknowledged that he accepted the freebie.

King faces former Weatherford Mayor Joe Tison in the Republican primary. Williams is unopposed in the Republican primary. However, three Democrats are vying for that party's nomination to run against him.

--R.A. Dyer
Read more in POLITEX

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