|By Joshua Fechter, San Antonio Express-News|
The Paxton campaign also said the complaint with the
The contretemps shows the intensity of the battle between the two conservatives seeking the
And questions surrounding the candidates' claims raise eyebrows from political watchdogs.
The fact that both candidates have questionable history regarding transparency and disclosure shows that top Republican candidates "don't appear to be committed to open government and transparency," said
"They may talk about it but when push comes to shove, they're not there on behalf of voters and taxpayers with respect to open government," McDonald said.
The claims and counter-claims by Branch and Paxton began last month.
It was fueled further when the State Securities Board slapped Paxton with a
Following the state action,
"I couldn't see the guy getting away with that," Sloan said in a phone interview. "He must feel like he's above the law."
But the Paxton campaign questioned the timing of the complaint.
Sloan represented a
Former U.S. Attorney
"It appears to be more of a political stunt that a serious complaint given that the issues appear to have been resolved in other venues," Orwig said.
Former state and federal regulators said it was doubtful the complaint would trigger an
Individuals do not face the same state threshold for registering with the
Just because there is a complaint, "doesn't mean the
There is no time line for
The disciplinary order issued to Paxton by the State Securities Board says that some of Paxton's solicitations occurred while the firm was federally registered.
A call requesting comment from
Paxton came under fire for not reporting income gained from his work for Mowery in personal financial statements filed with the
He hasn't amended his filings to reflect that income, but did include various board memberships in recent revisions.
The charges have become part of a wider narrative about transparency in the Republican race for attorney general, the state's top lawyer and its chief enforcement officer.
The winner of the Republican runoff will face Democrat
Paxton's problems prompted
"The attorney general must have integrity, honest and high moral character," Smitherman said.
But, Branch also faces scrutiny.
In 2003, Branch, then a freshman in the state House and a registered federal lobbyist, led an effort to defeat an amendment requiring disclosure of potential conflicts of interests between businesses that lobby state lawmakers and lawmakers who work for those businesses.
"He's willing to kill transparency laws that apply to him, yet claim something very different when he's talking to the voters," Holm said.
Branch has worked for
At an event Thursday, Branch said he and other lawmakers, including Paxton, opposed the legislation because they felt it duplicated existing law.
He said other aspects of his record, including a 2013 bill that required public higher education governing boards to post meeting agendas and stream public meetings online, show he favors transparency.
"I've got a long record of being for open government," Branch firstname.lastname@example.org
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