Tony Noun responds to Debbie Riddle’s apparent violation of Texas law

Well, I used a different part of the Texas code in my report on it but Rep. Debbie Riddle’s opponent for in the campaign to represent House District 150 in the Texas Legislature, Tony Noun, also noticed the problem. From the Inbox:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement from Tony Noun, HD150 Candidate
Harris County, Texas
1/31/2014

The Constituents of HD 150,

As many of you probably know, we are in the thick of this year’s political season, and I am running to represent our district and be your voice in the Texas House of Representatives. I have gone to every length possible to run a clean, efficient, and most importantly – legal campaign.

And we have done that.

Unfortunately, my opponent, a 12-year incumbent and veteran of SIX elections, has decided that Texas Campaign rules do not apply to her and her campaign. In an event last Thursday at The Downtown Houston Pachyderm Club, Debbie Riddle, who is participating in her SEVENTH election, violated Texas Penal Code 39.02, otherwise known as an Abuse of Official Capacity, when she knowingly handed out her Constituent Newsletter – paid for with your tax dollars – as campaign materials at a campaign event.

For those of you unfamiliar with Texas Penal Code 39.02, it reads as following:

Sec. 39.02. ABUSE OF OFFICIAL CAPACITY. (a) A public servant commits an offense if, with intent to obtain a benefit or with intent to harm or defraud another, he intentionally or knowingly:

(1) violates a law relating to the public servant’s office or employment; or

(2) misuses government property, services, personnel, or any other thing of value belonging to the government that has come into the public servant’s custody or possession by virtue of the public servant’s office or employment.

(b) An offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor.

(c) An offense under Subsection (a)(2) is:

(1) a Class C misdemeanor if the value of the use of the thing misused is less than $20;

(2) a Class B misdemeanor if the value of the use of the thing misused is $20 or more but less than $500;

(3) a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the use of the thing misused is $500 or more but less than $1,500;

(4) a state jail felony if the value of the use of the thing misused is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000;

According to Attorney, J. Nathan Overstreet, the use of public funds to advance a political campaign violates the Texas Penal Code.

Now some of you might not think this is too egregious of a violation while others are as taken aback as I was watching her brazenly defy a standard law and practice not just in Texas, but across the country.

Alvin Walker, former Vice President and Treasurer of the Downtown Houston Pachyderm Club, and longtime Republican, was astonished that a political “veteran” such as Riddle would be so careless.

“She should have known better than to hand out her newsletter at an event like that,” said Walker.

My question for you, the voters of District 150 is this – if Debbie Riddle, who claims “NOBODY knows” District 150 like she does – then how does she not know basic Texas law as it relates to her position and campaigning? And if she can act so recklessly and defiant while in the backyard of her constituents, doesn’t that raise the question of what she’s doing in Austin when her constituents aren’t around?

We deserve better…You deserve better.

Debbie Riddle has run a lackluster campaign with no signs, no message and most importantly – without your best interest in mind. And when she has “campaigned” – she’s broken the law.

You deserve better.

Debbie Riddle doesn’t think she needs to ask for your vote. She figures you will just give it to her.

You deserve better.

I am here to work for you, the citizens of District 150. I’ve lived and worked in the Spring area for more than two decades. I understand the problems facing this district, and I know from talking to the wonderful citizens of this district that you are not satisfied with the representation you’ve had, and in many cases – most of you have no idea who your representation is. That instantly changes with me as your choice for District 150. I will listen to you and make myself available to you and your concerns.

Without you, there is no District 150, and starting with early voting on February 18 leading up to Primary Day on March 4, I am asking for your vote to be your voice in Austin.

Accountability now.

Respectfully,

Tony Noun

To contact the campaign, please call 832-475-8868.

So there you go. I told you I wasn’t the only one that noticed this.

Tony Noun at the Downtown Houston Pachyderm Club on 1-23-14

Tony Noun at the Downtown Houston Pachyderm Club on 1-23-14

 

Comments

  1. Robert Lozano says

    Not picking sides right now, but why is Noun keeping keys words out of his political signs, as required by law? Words like “elect” or “re-elect” or “for” or the position he is running for?

    • Carl says

      What law are you talking about? I’m curious. What Texas State law requires words like “elect” or “re-elect” or “for” to be put on election campaign signs?

    • Robert says

      Not trying to be rude Carl, but not my job to educate. I can tell you for a fact those words have to be there. Do some research and you will see. If you still come empty, I’ll point you in the right direction

    • Carl says

      I disagree. If you make an assertion, then you should back it up. You made an assertion — “why is Noun keeping keys words out of his political signs, as required by law? Words like “elect” or “re-elect” or “for” or the position he is running for?” But you’re refusing to back it up.

      I just read Chapter 255 of the Texas Election Code. There is nothing there that affirms your assertion. Thus, I conclude that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    • Robert says

      Carl- did you check article section 15? And also check under ethics titled, “things you should know”. Next time look harder, stop being rude, and ask more nicely. That’s how people get along

    • Carl says

      I stand my ground. If you want to make a meaningful assertion, then you should be willing to back it up with facts.

      Thus, my questions continue. No, I did not check Article Section 15? And I still can’t because I don’t know what exactly you’re talking about — Article Section 15 of what? Chapter 15 of the Texas Election Code deals with Voter Registration, not campaign advertising requirements.

      Also, the word “ethics” is only used once in the entire Texas Election Code, where a reference to the Texas Ethics Commision is mentioned in Chapter 261.

      Please remember you originally stated “required by law”, and the Texas Election Code is the law. I’ve looked as hard as anyone can for the law. I don’t know where else to look.

    • Robert says

      So it sounds like to me that you have no problem with a elected official not following Texas Ethics….ok,ok..well check in the election code, title 15, section 255.006. This is just one section, but there are many sections that say the same, which is that it is a criminal offense for not using the word “for”. If I have to continue to follow up with additional research for you, I would request, when will you be filing a complaint against Noun? With your persistence, sounds like you should be filing a complaint against him. Or are you working for him and trying to avoid the publicity?

    • Carl says

      Thank you for giving a specific statute. However, Texas Election Code § 255.006 does not provide what you say and it doesn’t apply to Tony Noun’s campaign signs. Remember I told you before that I read Chapter 255 of the Texas Election Code.

      Texas Election Code § 255.006(b) provides: “A person commits an offense if the person knowingly represents in a campaign communication that a candidate holds a public office that the candidate does not hold at the time the representation is made.”

      This is fair and appropriate.

      Texas Election Code § 255.006(c) provides: “For purposes of this section, a person represents that a candidate holds a public office that the candidate does not hold if: (1) the candidate does not hold the office that the candidate seeks; and (2) the political advertising or campaign communication states the public office sought but does not include the word ‘for’ in a type size that is at least one-half the type size used for the name of the office to clarify that the candidate does not hold that office.”

      And this is fair and appropriate, but (and again) it doesn’t apply to Tony Noun. Yes, Tony Noun is not a current Texas State House Representative. And yes, Noun’s campaign signs do not contain the word “for”, but the need to use “for” only applies when “the … campaign communication states the public office sought … “.

      Tony Noun’s campaign signs do not state the public office sought. Thus, Tony Noun is not in violation of Texas Election Code § 255.006, and I will not be filing any associated complaint.

  2. Charlotte Altman says

    Tony Noun is really grasping at straws!! What a jerk. For me and my family, we will vote for Debbie Riddle. Tried and true, Debbie has the interest of the people of District 150 at heart. She has done a magnificent job on our behalf.

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