State Representative Jim Murphy’s (R – Houston) is under fire for “double-dipping” with two taxpayer-funded jobs — one as a state legislator at the Capitol, the other as head of the Westchase Management District.
As Reform Austin previously reported, Murphy is making a yearly salary of more than $312,000. Part of his role with Westchase is to secure state contracts from entities like the Texas Department of Transportation. At the same time, Murphy serves as Chair of the House Committee on Special Purpose Districts, of which Westchase is one.
Murphy’s dual roles raise questions about conflicts of interest and whether he can use his position as state representative to influence Texas agencies to award public funds to Westchase.
Murphy’s questionable money doesn’t stop at his employment, however. According to the state representative’s campaign finance reports, two of Murphy’s financial donors were convicted in federal corruption cases.
Michael Surface and Andrew Schatte have each been campaign contributors to Murphy. In 2011, Surface and Schatte were charged with conspiracy and mail fraud. Prosecutors said the pair gave gifts “to city of Houston employees, hoping to secure government contracts.”
According to the Houston Chronicle, the government claims Surface and Schatte gave Houston’s former director of building services department gifts in order to obtain million dollar construction contracts. The former city employee admitted to accepting the gifts and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Murphy claims he doesn’t use his role as state representative to influence contractors to award projects to the Westchase Management District. But it’s clear that the people who finance Murphy’s campaigns have a history of bribery and fraud to get what they want.
If Murphy is accepting money from convicted criminals, what else is he taking from them?
In the mid 1960s, enterprising education proponent John W. Gardner and former North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford proposed a Compact on Education between the states