Texas AG demands campaign finance fines from polka dancing judge

Rob Luke Jul. 24, 2007, 12:00pm

Greg Abbott

AUSTIN -- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wants a Dallas District Court judge to pay up for keeping quiet about campaign donations.

Judge Bruce Priddy, a Democrat elected last year to the 116th District Court, had not filed four campaign reports when Abbott sued him in Travis County in April. Priddy lost and was fined $30,500 but never responded to the suit.

So State District Judge John Dietz has granted the state default judgment in the case, reports the Dallas Morning News (DMN). Judge Dietz is now ordering Judge Priddy to pay the AG's office the $30,500 fine plus $7,500 in court costs.

"Our concern here is the fact that he owes this money to the state of Texas and the fact that he has ignored a judge's order," Abbott spokesman Tom Kelley told the DMN.

Local Democrats say not filing the reports indicates Priddy's belief that "the judiciary should be totally free of campaign contributions." Yet Priddy's website still posts a "judicial candidate fund-raiser" ad for a polka-dancing festival for the newly-elected judge.

Priddy told the DMN in February, after missing his fourth filing date, that he did not file the reports because he hadn't raised any money.

Priddy has had other filing problems recently. In April the State Bar of Texas listed him as "suspended" for failing to meet educational standards, the DMN reported. In fact Priddy made a bureaucratic error when changing his status from lawyer to judge.

Priddy could now face discipline from the state Commission on Judicial Conduct.

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