Yesterday longtime lobbyist and lawyer Steve Bresnen filed an official ethics complaint against Michael Quinn Sullivan and his company Empower Texans dba Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. As you might recall, Michael Quinn Sullivan is no stranger to ethics violations.
Recently the Ethics Commission found credible evidence that a law under its jurisdiction had been violated, namely that Michael Quinn Sullivan had been acting as a lobbyist, but failed to register as one (and therefore failed to disclose certain expenditures for State Representatives, or meet any other reporting requirements for lobbyists). This time the ethics complaint is regarding the corporation that Michael Quinn Sullivan operates under - a three-pronged corporate structure known as Empower Texans/Texans For Fiscal Reasonability.
Empower Texans is technically a PAC, which can do all the political and social engagement and advocacy it wants for any given candidate. Texans for Fiscal Responsibility is a 501c4, which is knowns as a "civic engagement" non-profit. By law they cannot primarily advocate for any one candidate, but the law is strangely vague because they may however endorse a candidate, if it is not the primary purpose of the non-profit. This 501c4 is also not required to disclose its donors on reports. Yet, the Empower Texans Foundation (which is the last in the three pronged part of Michael Quinn Sullivan's operation), is a 501c3, which is the traditional model of a non-profit, and gets its money from individual and corporate donors.
The problem comes when monies from the traditional non-profit go to fund the political activities of the other two entities. This is what Bresnen is essentially claiming: That MQS is misleading the donors of the c3 and using their money as 'dark money' in the c4 to fund local and state elections in Texas.
Click below the jump to see what Bresnen said about MQS, and what the next steps are in the ethics complaint process.