A review of campaign finance reports by The Texas Voice has discovered that Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, currently a candidate for Mayor of Houston, accepted $12,000 in illegal corporate contributions for her mayoral campaign.
The discovery of the illegal corporate contributions comes on the heels of reports from the Houston Landing and other media outlets that Jackson Lee had accepted donations in amounts that exceeded the contribution limits imposed by a Houston city ordinance and, in one instance, reported a contribution from a deceased woman
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Jackson Lee filed her July semi-annual campaign finance report with the City of Houston late on July 19, two days after the July 17 reporting deadline.
The campaign finance report filed by Jackson Lee reflected a $5,000 donation from Kiran’s Restaurant, Inc. on May 1, 2023, a $1,000 donation from Chon Dal Inc on June 30, 2023, a $1,000 donation from Silverhawk Systems Inc on June 30, 2023, and a $5,000 donation from The Luis Lopez Agency Co on June 30, 2023.
Knowingly accepting an illegal political contribution from a corporation violates Sections 253.003 and 253.094 of the Texas Election Code and is a third-degree felony. It is also illegal for corporations to make political contributions that are not authorized by law.
In addition to potential criminal penalties, candidates who knowingly accept illegal corporate contributions can face stiff civil penalties imposed by the Texas Ethics Commission. Earlier this year, the Texas Ethics Commission imposed a civil penalty of $12,400 on Valleywide Pharmacy and DME, Inc. for making $3,700 in illegal corporate political contributions to Cameron County Clerk Sylvia Garza-Perez. In a separate matter, the Commission imposed a $1,250 civil penalty on Garza-Perez for knowingly accepting illegal corporate contributions.
Other announced candidates for Mayor of Houston include State Senator John Whitmire, businessman Gilbert Garcia, attorney Lee Kaplan, former Houston City Councilman M.J. Khan, and current Houston City Councilman Robert Gallegos.