Texans for Public Justice has filed an ethics complaint alleging Melissa Goodwin may have violated state election laws by accepting political contributions that exceeded campaign limits.
Texas' judicial campaign laws restricted Goodwin's campaign to taking no more than $5,000 from a single donor during the recent Republican Primary. Yet Goodwin's campaign reported that it accepted a total of $25,274 from Bob and Paca Goodwin of Marble Falls, Texas, exceeding the limit by $20,274.
The apparently illegal contributions may have shaped the outcome of the race for an open seat on the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals. Goodwin won 53 percent of the vote on March 2, defeating opponent Scott Field (who got 47 percent). The disputed $20,274 accounts for 42 percent of Goodwin's total primary expenditures ($48,587)–including the $34,400 in media buys that she initiated on February 12, 2010.
The Judicial Campaign Fairness Act limits 3rd Court of Appeals candidates from taking an aggregate of more than $5,000 in contributions from individual donors during the primary. The law defines loans from individuals as campaign contributions subject to these limits (bank loans are treated differently). The Goodwin campaign reported that it received a $25,000 loan from Bob and Paca Goodwin on January 21, 2010. Goodwin's campaign then reported receiving a $274.26 in-kind contribution from the same source on February 12, 2010. Bob and Paca Goodwin's total contributions to Melissa Goodwin's primary campaign appear to have exceeded the legal limit by $20,274.26.
Goodwin ran against Jim Coronado in 2008 in the 427th District Court in 2008 and lost handily. After voters in Travis County made a resounding statement that they do not want Goodwin to serve as their judge, she decided to run for a promotion. She is running against Kurt “Best Qualified” Kuhn (his campaign can be found here).
Read the full complaint here.