TX Justices used campaign funds to commute: watchdog

Rob Luke Jan. 31, 2008, 8:12am

David Medina

AUSTIN -- Two of the Texas Supreme Court's most embattled Justices are facing more hostile fire over their spending habits.

Justices Nathan Hecht and David Medina were slapped with ethics complaints by watchdog group Texas Watch (TW) last week, a few days after Justice Paul Green also got one. Texas Watch alleges the three Justices illegally paid for personal travel with political donations.

Hecht told the AP he paid for flights to his hometown with the funds because he was campaigning, although he isn't up for re-election for another four years. Hecht reported 42 in-state flight payments in his campaign finance reports last year.

By contrast, Medina's attorney said his client would repay the money because the Justice received "bad accounting advice" on how to use the funds. Green disputed the TW charges that he improperly claimed campaign-funded mileage reimbursement for commuting between the Supreme Court in Austin and his San Antonio home.

Medina has recently been in the spotlight over a grand jury indictment for evidence-tampering in an arson case involving a fire at his home. Medina's wife was also indicted on arson charges although both indictments were controversially dismissed for lack of evidence.

Hecht, currently the Texas SC's longest-serving Justice drew complaints from TW last year over a charge relating to the Justice soliciting political contributions to pay his legal bills.

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