7/20/2009 4:03 PM
A Travis County grand jury has indicted Rep. Kino Flores (D-Palmview) of 16 counts of tampering with a government record and three counts of perjury, the Austin American Statesman and Dallas Morning News reported on Friday. The upshot, the grand jury handed down charges that Flores knowingly failed to represent sources of income on financial statements that lawmakers are required to submit to the Texas Ethics Commission. The statements in question go back to 2004.
According to the Statesman, Flores could face up to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000 in fines for the tampering offenses, and one year in a state jail and up to $4,000 in fines for the perjury.
The full indictments can be viewed here.
The Dallas Morning News reports Flores' lawyer Roy Minton is saying that the mistakes were accidental omissions of the sort officeholders make all the time.
Flores said: "At no point during my public service have I intentionally or knowingly violated any state law or rule. So today, I am extremely disappointed that the Travis county public integrity unit has decided to hand out an indictment against me after a lengthy investigation into my personal and political dealings. Today's indictment concerns a number of reports that were allegedly incomplete. Throughout this entire investigation, I have fully cooperated and have disclosed any evidence required of me. Moving forward, it is my intent to continue my cooperation in order to bring closure to this matter. I hope that I receive the support of my constituents throughout this unfortunate event and ask that they reserve judgment until I have my day in court. I can assure you that I will fight as hard as I do for District 36 to clear my name."
Of course, guilty or not, the indictments are bad news for Flores politically as well as legally. His status as a "Craddick D" (a House Democrat who supported Tom Craddick during his speakership) already meant he could count on a primary opponent this year. The indictments will not help his cause.