Records Appraisal Report:
Ethics Commission

Contents of this report
Agency Contact | Agency History | Project Review | Record Series Reviews

Internal links to series reviews
Legislative Appropriation Requests
Organization Charts
Meeting Agenda and Minutes
Commission Meetings - Audio Cassettes
General-Purpose Political Committee Contribution and Expenditure Reports
Candidate-Officeholder and Specific-Purpose Political Committee Contribution and Expenditure Reports
State Officers Personal Financial Statements
State Lobby Reports
Speaker of the House Reports
Governor for a Day Ceremony Reports
Reunion Day Ceremony Reports
Representation Before State Agencies
Lobbyist Social Security Information Form
Correspondence - Administrative
Legal Opinions and Advice
Agency Rules, Policies, and Procedures
Customer Surveys
Speeches and Papers
Reports and Studies (Non-Fiscal)
Publication Development Files
Building Plans and Specifications
Strategic Plans
Filer Notebook Lists
Board of Pardons and Paroles (Registration and Summary Reports)
Ethics Opinions
Sworn Complaint Orders - Non-Confidential
Training Materials

Archival finding aid
An Inventory of Ethics Commission Records at the Texas State Archives, 1979-2003, bulk 1992-1994


May 3, 2000 (revised June 1, 2006), Tony Black, Appraisal Archivist


Agency Contact:

This agency contact information was current at the time of the report but may have changed in the interim. Please call (512-463-5455) for current contact information of the agency's records manager or records liaison for these records.

Lisa Noblin
Supervisor, Public Records - Disclosure Filings
Sam Houston Building, 10th Floor
201 E. 14th Street
Austin, TX 78701


Agency History and Structure:

The earliest ethics legislation in Texas (not counting a 1909 nepotism law) was apparently passed in 1919 (Senate Bill 120, 36th Legislature, Regular Session): "An Act to prevent the control of Primary Elections by the use of money, and to regulate and limit the expenditure of money to promote or defeat the candidacy of persons for nomination for office in primary elections." A revision in 1951 (House Bill 6, 52nd Legislature, Regular Session) extended the reporting requirement to candidates in all elections, both primary and general. From the beginning, candidates for state and district offices had to file campaign contribution and expenditure statements with the Secretary of State; candidates for county office had to file with the county clerk; and candidates for municipal office (and for other political subdivisions) had to file with the clerk or secretary of the municipality or political subdivision.

A code of ethics for state officers and employees was created in 1957 (House Bill 3, 55th Legislature, Regular Session). This legislation set forth standards of conduct for state officers and employees regarding possible conflicts of interest between their private interests and official duties. An individual having controlling interest in a business entity under state regulation was required to file an affidavit with the Secretary of State disclosing such interest.

A stock fraud scandal involving several state officials, including the Speaker of the House, was uncovered in 1971, leading to a demand for tougher and more comprehensive ethics legislation. After a 1971 law was declared unconstitutional by the Texas Attorney General in January 1972, the 63rd Legislature in 1973 reworked the ethics legislation and passed the following four landmark bills:

House Bill 1 (personal financial statements),
House Bill 2 (registration of lobbyists),
House Bill 4 (the "Campaign Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1973"), and
House Bill 8 (Speaker of the House campaign reporting).

The ethics filings required by these laws were originally administered by the Secretary of State, first by the Enforcement Division, then (in the early 1980s) by the Campaign and Ethics Section of the Elections Division, renamed the Disclosure Filings Section by 1984.

Since these laws frequently required interpretation of the laws, a Public Servant Standards of Conduct Advisory Committee was created in 1981 (House Bill 3, 67th Legislature, Regular Session), to expire in 1983. Then in 1983, the legislature created an 11-member State Ethics Advisory Commission (House Bill 2154, 68th Legislature, Regular Session), which issued ethics advisory opinions. In addition, the House Ethics Committee (of the Texas Legislature) was authorized to issue ethics advisory opinions, some of which were summarized in the Texas Register in 1983 and 1984. Although the State Ethics Advisory Commission lasted until the creation of the Texas Ethics Commission, none of these committees appear to have been very active; the only ethics advisory opinions found date 1983, 1984, and 1986.

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers:

  • to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws (investigations into sworn complaints are confidential, but formal hearings on allegations are public);
  • to penalize violations of state ethics laws;
  • to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines;
  • to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; these opinions can be used as a defense in a criminal prosecution or in a matter involving civil penalties if the defendant relied on an opinion of the commission in making decisions regarding his or her behavior, or if the defendant's situation is substantially similar to that outlined in the opinion (the identity of a person requesting an advisory opinion is confidential);
  • to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities;
  • to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election;
  • to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following:

  • political contributions and expenditures and political advertising;
  • lobbyist activities;
  • financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees;
  • the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house;
  • the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies;
  • representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and
  • financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk.

The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these required ethics filings, as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

The 1991 enabling legislation required that the Ethics Commission "establish an electronic data base composed of statements and reports filed with the commission," cross-referenced, and subject to online public access. It also allowed the commission to "develop computer software to facilitate the discharge of its statutory duties." The commission is scanning paper copies of the most frequently requested filings onto optical disks, as well as accepting electronic filings. The most recent development is the passage in 1999 of House Bill 2611 (76th Legislature, Regular Session), which requires certain candidates, officeholders, and political committees to file reports of contributions and expenditures electronically.

The Ethics Commission consists of eight members representing the general public, serving overlapping four-year terms. Four are appointed by the governor, two by the lieutenant governor, and two by the speaker of the house, all of them chosen from lists provided by senate and house caucuses representing political parties required by law to hold primary elections (currently the Democratic and Republican parties). They are non-salaried positions, and the members annually elect a chair. The Ethics Commission is subject to sunset review, but not to abolishment.

The Ethics Commission is currently (FY 2000) organized into five divisions: Enforcement, Disclosure Filings, Advisory Opinions and Education, Administration, and Computer Services. There are 33 full-time equivalent employees.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapters 571, 572, 305, 302, 303, and 2004
V.T.C.A., Election Code, Title 15, Chapters 251-254
1 Texas Administrative Code, Chapters 6-50

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Project Review:

I was assigned to appraise the records of this agency in July 1999. This agency has recently passed its 2nd records retention schedule recertification, and is due for a 3rd recertification in June 2001. One reason for choosing this agency now is that in December 1998, I completed an in-house appraisal of the non-Republic records of the Secretary of State, which included a number of record series (i.e., ethics filings) now administered by the Ethics Commission. The appraisal committee was divided over the archival value of two of these series (State lobby reports and State officers personal financial statements), and decided to defer their final decision until the records of the Ethics Commission were appraised. Also influencing the timing of this report is the passage of a law in the past legislative session, requiring that campaign contribution reports (which we have appraised to be archival) be filed electronically.

I reviewed the following: Guide to Texas State Agencies (10th edition, 1999); the article on the Texas Ethics Commission in the New Handbook of Texas (online); the Texas Ethics Commission Strategic Plan, FY 1998-FY 2003; the statutes (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapters 571, 572, 305, and 2004; and V.T.C.A., Election Code, Title 15, Chapters 251-254); the rules (1 Texas Administrative Code, Chapters 6-50); the most recent Legislative Appropriation Request (submitted in 1998, for FY 2000 and FY 2001); and the Texas Ethics Commission web site (http://www.ethics.state.tx.us). I also consulted the web site for the vendor who will be handling electronic filings for the Ethics Commission, SDR Technologies (http://www.sdr.com/), although as of June 2006 the documents I consulted are no longer posted.

I reviewed the records retention schedule, a recertification approved June 7, 1999. This report will review and appraise the following series from the records retention schedule.

Four series are coded "A," as archival: Legislative appropriation requests, Organization charts, Meeting agenda and minutes, and Meetings - supporting documentation. During the process of gathering information for this appraisal report, the staff of the Ethics Commission determined that one of these series, Meetings - supporting documentation (agency item number 335), is empty of records and needs to be removed from the retention schedule. However, one related (but not archival) series is not on the schedule and needs to be added: Commission meetings - audio cassettes. One additional archival series is also not on the schedule, and needs to be added: Strategic plan. The Ethics Commission produces no annual or biennial narrative report (which would normally be archival), merely an annual financial report.

Twenty-five series are coded "R," for archival review. Of these, 14 series are actually 7 series, doubled to account for two media each (paper, and microfilm and/or electronic): General-purpose political committee contribution and expenditure reports; Candidate-officeholder and specific-purpose political committee contribution and expenditure reports; State lobby reports; State officers personal financial statements; Speaker of the house reports; Governor for a Day ceremony reports; and Reunion Day ceremony reports. The remaining 11 series are single: Representation before state agencies; Lobbyist social security information form; Correspondence - administrative; Legal opinions and advice; Plans and planning records; Agency rules, policies, and procedures; Customer surveys; Speeches and papers; Reports and studies (non-fiscal); Publication development files; and Building plans and specifications. During the process of gathering information for this appraisal report, the staff of the Ethics Commission determined that one of these series, Plans and planning records (agency item number 346), is empty of records and needs to be removed from the retention schedule.

Eight additional series have no archival code on their schedule, but needed to be reviewed. Six of them need to be reviewed because the microfilm or electronic version is considered permanent (and these six are actually three series, doubled to account for two media each): Board of Pardons and Paroles (registration and summary reports); Ethics opinions; and Sworn complaint orders - non-confidential. The other two series are single: one is considered permanent (Filer notebook lists) and the other seemed potentially significant (Training materials).

Only one record series review is necessary for each of those series that have multiple media. Consequently, what follows are 27 rather than 37 record series reviews.

On August 9, 1999, I mailed an introductory letter from Chris LaPlante, Director of the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, to Mr. Tom Harrison, Executive Director of the Texas Ethics Commission, explaining the appraisal process. On August 25, 1999, I met with Lisa Noblin, Records Management Officer at the Ethics Commission (who is also Supervisor, Public Records--Disclosure Filings), in the Ethics Commission conference room. Also attending were Tom Harrison (Executive Director), Karen Lundquist (General Counsel), and Kristin Newkirk (Director, Disclosure Filing, Lisa's immediate supervisor). I gave Lisa copies of the 28 appraisal worksheets that I had compiled, with written instructions. I had already filled out several of the worksheets, based on records that had been transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division in the past (mainly by the Secretary of State); these were meant to serve as models. I emphasized the point that they should make no changes to the schedule until the appraisal process was complete. I also stressed that the responsibility of deciding whether a series was archival or not was ours, but that they should feel free to provide us any opinions or other input as to the possible value of each series.

We all talked about concerns that the Archives had concerning those series (mostly ethics filings) which were in paper format with a 2-year retention, in addition to microfilm and/or electronic format coded permanent. Both of these have the archival review code ("R"), but the Remarks column says "paper copy destroyed after scanning and verification." Mr. Harrison said that none of the paper copies have been destroyed yet. I then explained the archival concerns about the non-permanence of electronic media, and left Lisa with copies of the relevant sections from the State Library's rules concerning electronic records (13 Texas Administrative Code, especially Sections 6.96 and 6.97). At any rate, they all agreed that if we determined a series was archival, there would be no problem with providing us with the paper originals (the "source documents") for past filings. Then we talked about those campaign filings that will become almost exclusively electronic beginning next year (due to House Bill 2611). I asked if there would be any problem with printing out paper copies for the Archives; they all agreed that although they had not planned to do that, they would do so if we required it. And of course I emphasized that the appraisal decision had not yet been made on these filings.

Karen Lundquist asked how one would go about seeing what we had in the State Archives, and I explained the procedure. I also encouraged them to refer people to us when appropriate. They were all surprised that our holdings of ethics filings dated as far back as 1918.

When I returned to my office, I e-mailed Lisa the worksheets as an attachment.

There was some delay in the project due to the new legislative requirement for electronic filing of campaign contribution reports. On October 21, I e-mailed Lisa with a request that she provide something within 2 weeks; she replied the same day with a promise to do so. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts in early November to transmit the information by e-mail, on November 18 she sent all but one of the worksheets, which I successfully received. On January 5 and during the first week in February 2000, she provided me with answers to almost all of the questions I had concerning the worksheets.

On February 11 I made a visit to the Public Records room and staff areas, to get a better idea of the processing and servicing of the ethics filings, and to gather final details. At this point I discovered the following things about scanning and verification of records that are being imaged onto optical disks. Scanning is accomplished shortly after a document is filed. Paper documents are not made available to the public until they are scanned, to guard against misfiles, against tampering with the original by the public, etc. There is retroactive scanning as time permits (although the staff is perennially busy just keeping up with current scanning). And finally, verification (checking the original against the imaged copy) has just barely begun for any documents. The retention period of the paper versions of each of the major ethics filings is 2 years, but the Remarks column always states "paper destroyed [sic] 2 years after receipt, following scanning and verification." For series determined to be archival, this wording should be changed to "paper transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 2 years after receipt, following scanning and verification." Because of the slowness of the verification process, there will probably be no massive transfers of these large ethics filings to the State Archives anytime soon.

On January 11, 2000 I attended a public briefing in the Capitol Extension held by the Texas Ethics Commission and SDR Technologies, Inc. to discuss specifications for a standard file format for filing reports electronically with the Ethics Commission. This file format will be available to commercial vendors so they may generate campaign finance reports for filing electronically from their software. Additionally, the briefing demonstrated how filers will be able to convert data from spreadsheets such as Excel or Access for filing campaign finance reports electronically. On February 16, 2000 I attended another similar public briefing, which included a filer software demo.

Finally, on March 6, 2000, Karen Lundquist (after conferring with Tom Harrison and director of advisory opinions Sarah Woelk) provided me with answers to questions I had on two series, enabling me to finish the appraisal report. Then in April I asked several more questions arising from comments of other members of the appraisal committee, and researched the appraisal decisions of other states concerning two of the ethics filings (General-purpose political committee contribution and expenditure reports and State officers personal financial statements).

Archives Holdings:

Texas Ethics Commission, Minutes, 1992-1999
Secretary of State, Elections Division, Disclosure Filings Section:

Financial disclosure statements/affidavits, 1957-1975
Campaign contribution and expense statements (candidates), 1918-1989
Campaign contribution and expense statements (Political Action Committees), 1973-1989
Speaker's race, campaign finance statements, 1971-1985
Lobbyist activity reports, 1987-1989

Secretary of State, Statutory Filings Division, Statutory Documents Section [appraised as non-archival but not yet discarded]:

Governor for a Day reports, 1985-1994
Speaker's Day reports, 1985-1993

Previous destructions:

Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and the following were found. (The Secretary of State had transferred all of these records to the Ethics Commission. In other words, the Ethics Commission has not requested the destruction of any records created after it came into existence.)

General correspondence, 1987-1988, 1 cubic ft. (approved FY 1992)
Employee reports, 1987, 1 cubic ft. (approved FY 1992)
Open Records requests, 1988-1990, 1 cubic ft. (approved FY 1992)
Cash deposit vouchers, 1987; and Receipts, 1982-1988, 2 cubic ft. (approved FY 1992)
Reports, studies, and surveys - raw data, 1984-1987, 9 cubic ft. (approved FY 1994)
State officers personal financial statements and affidavits, 1989, 19 cubic ft. (hard copy destroyed after verification of microfilm) (approved FY 1994)
Candidate-officeholder and committee contribution and expenditure reports, 1989-1991, 24 cubic ft. (hard copy destroyed after verification of microfilm) (approved FY 1994)
Federal candidate-officeholder and committee contribution and expenditure reports, 1972-1986, 22 microfilm reels; 1986-1989, 10 microfilm reels; and 1989-1990, 4 microfilm reels (non-essential and therefore a preservation duplicate is not required) (approved FY 1995)
Federal Political Action Committee contribution and expenditure reports, 1971-1986, 178 microfilm reels; 1986-1989, 22 microfilm reels; and 1989-1990, 12 microfilm reels (non-essential and therefore a preservation duplicate is not required) (approved FY 1995)
Federal ethics filings, 1974-1986, 21 microfilm reels; and 1986-1988, 1 microfilm reel (non-essential and therefore a preservation duplicate is not required) (approved FY 1995)
State political committee contribution and expenditure reports, 1989-1991, 52 cubic ft. (hard copy destroyed after verification of microfilm) (approved FY 1996)
State lobbyist activity reports, 1990-1991, 20 cubic ft. (hard copy destroyed after verification of microfilm) (approved FY 1996)

Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were also checked for the Disclosure Filings Section/Enforcement Division (and other divisions) of the Texas Secretary of State, and the following were found:

Political committee documents (except candidate committees), 1981-1983, 42 cubic ft. (microfilmed, masters in State Records Center vault; destruction of paper authorized January 4, 1989)
Chapter 14 Political Action Committees, 1983-1985, 51 cubic ft. (approved October 15, 1990)
Federal ethics filings (PACs), 1972-1974, 1985-1989, 67 cubic ft. (microfilmed) (approved December 3, 1986; November 3, 1987; October 14, 1988; January 4 and August 16, 1989)
Federal ethics filings (candidates), 1972-1989, 20 cubic ft. (microfilmed) (approved December 3, 1986; November 3, 1987; October 14, 1988; January 4 and August 16, 1989)
Lobby filings, 1974-1987, 64 cubic ft. (approved October 15, 1990; and October 4, 1991)
Lobbyists, terminated and deceased, 1974-1984, 34 cubic ft. (microfilmed) (approved April 22, 1986; and October 15, 1990)
Personal financial statements for candidates/state officials (House Bill 1 filings), 1973-1974, 1976, 1981-1985, 93 cubic ft. (microfilmed, masters in State Records Center vault; destruction of paper copies authorized January 4, 1989; October 15, 1990; and October 4, 1991)
Disclosure of regulated business interests affidavits, 1974-1983, 7 cubic ft. (approved October 15, 1990)
Registrations/representations before state agencies, 1973-1988, 26 cubic ft. (approved October 10, 1986; November 6, 1989; October 15, 1990; and September 30, 1992)

Project Outcome:

The appraisal of the records of the Texas Ethics Commission is complete. The following is a summary of appraisal decisions.

13 series have been appraised to be archival (including one series that needs to be added to the schedule).
16 series have been appraised to be non-archival.
6 series should be removed from the schedule.

In addition to the following specific instructions, four more points are to be assumed when applicable:

  • For any archival ("A") series, transfer to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission all records that have fulfilled their retention period.
  • For any series without an archival code, or with a code of archival exemption ("E"), dispose of all records at the end of their retention period. The agency should take care to document each destruction (as well as each transfer to the State Archives) in the Records disposition log (agency item number 341).
  • When the agency's records retention schedule is next submitted for recertification, all series that represent the same records but in different formats (e.g., one series for the paper version, another series for the electronic and/or microfilm version) should be grouped together on the schedule (one immediately following the other), to avoid confusion.
  • Instances where a series does not really exist in the format stated should be eliminated (e.g., Governor for a Day Ceremony Reports have not yet been imaged, so they represent one series rather than two. If and when they are imaged, the Records Management Officer should submit an amendment adding the electronic version of the series.)

Continue to use the archival code of "A" for these series:

Legislative appropriation requests (285) (Add note to Remarks column: "The archival requirement will be met by sending required copies to the Texas State Publications Depository Program, Texas State Library and Archives Commission (13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 3.4(3))."
Organization charts (89) (see Appraisal Decision for two options)
Meeting agenda and minutes (410)

Replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival code of "A" for these series:

General-purpose political committee contribution and expenditure reports (424 and 313)
Candidate-officeholder and specific-purpose political committee contribution and expenditure reports (429 and 317)
State officers personal financial statements (paper and microfilm) (426 and 315)
Speaker of the House reports (paper) (428)
Correspondence - administrative (407)

(For the paper versions of the first four series above, change the Remarks column to read "Paper transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 2 years after receipt, following scanning and verification.")

Add the archival code of "A" to the following series which currently have no Archival code:

Filer notebook lists (224)
Sworn complaint orders - non-confidential (432)
Training materials (29)

Add the following series to the retention schedule, with an archival code of "A":

Strategic Plan (Add note to the Remarks column: "The archival requirement will be met by sending required copies to the Texas State Publications Depository Program, Texas State Library and Archives Commission (13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 3.4(1)(C)).")

Divide the series called Ethics opinions (paper, 431) into two separate series, with the corresponding instructions:

Published ethics opinions should be given the archival code of "A" (Add note to the Remarks column: "The archival requirement will be met by sending required copies to the Texas State Publications Depository Program, Texas State Library and Archives Commission (13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 3.3).")
Ethics opinions requests [or files] should be given no archival code. This series should be given a Security code of "C," with an explanation in the Remarks column stating something like the following: "Names and addresses of persons asking for ethics advisory opinions are confidential, as specifically mandated by the Texas Government Code, Section 571.093. Therefore the Ethics Commission staff redacts names and addresses of those persons before they release the records to the public. By law, the person affected may file a written waiver of his or her confidentiality."

Change the archival review code of "R" to the archival exception code of "E" for the following series, and add note to Remarks column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

State officers personal financial statements (electronic) (315, or a new number to distinguish from microfilm)
State Lobby Reports (paper and microfilm/electronic) (427 and 406)
Speaker of the House Reports (electronic) (316)
Governor for a Day ceremony reports (paper) (433)
Reunion Day ceremony reports (paper) (434)
Representation before state agencies (274)
Lobbyist Social Security information form (423)
Legal opinions and advice (409)
Agency rules, policies, and procedures (332)
Customer surveys (330)
Speeches and papers (307)
Reports and studies (non-fiscal) (298)
Publication development files (302)
Building plans and specifications (385)

Add the following series to the retention schedule, with no Archival code:

Commission meetings - audio cassettes (see Appraisal Decision in record series review on Meeting agenda and minutes)

Remove the following series from the retention schedule:

Meetings-Supporting documentation (335)
Plans and planning records (346)
Governor for a Day ceremony reports (electronic) (397)
Reunion Day ceremony reports (electronic) (372)
Board of Pardons and Paroles (registration and summary reports) (microfilm) (312)
Sworn complains orders - non-confidential (electronic) (275)

The following records need to be transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, when (or if) they have fulfilled their retention period:

Meeting agenda [and minutes] (copies of all agenda, 1992-2000)
General-purpose political committee contribution and expenditure reports (paper originals, 1991-1997, after scanning and verification; plus copies of microfilm containing the reports dating 1989-1991)
Candidate-officeholder and specific-purpose political committee contribution and expenditure reports (paper originals, 1991-1997, after scanning and verification; plus copies of microfilm containing the reports dating 1989-1991)
State officers personal financial statements (paper originals, 1991-1997, after scanning and verification; plus copies of microfilm containing the reports dating 1976-1990)
Speaker of the House reports (paper originals, 1991-1997)
Correspondence - administrative (1992-1993)
Sworn complaint orders - non-confidential (paper originals, 2 years after scanning and verification; or change the retention period if no imaging is planned)
Training materials (one year after they are superseded)
Organization charts (when superseded, if that is the option the agency chooses)
Filer notebook lists (to remain at the agency now, but should be transferred in the future if the Ethics Commission ever decides to reduce the retention period, or to image them)

To fill a gap in the holdings of the Texas Documents Collection, a copy (or copies) of the Strategic Plan for 1997-2001 (published in 1996) should be sent to Coby Condrey, Texas State Publications Depository Program, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, telephone 463-5434.

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Record Series Reviews

Record Series Review
Series Title: Legislative Appropriation Requests

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: fractional

Agency holdings:
0.2 cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency for 6 years after September 1 of odd-numbered calendar years. Present holdings date 1993-1999 (for FY 1994 through FY 2001).

Description:
These records consist of legislative appropriations requests (LARs) from the Ethics Commission, dating 1993-1999 (for FY 1994 through FY 2001). The requests generally contain an administrator's statement of agency functions. The program objectives and/or strategies are listed, along with a description of each objective, a discussion of performance measures, statistics, efficiency measures, and expenses--expended, current, and projected, at different funding levels.

Purpose:
These records are created to request specific appropriations from the legislature and to provide justification for the amounts requested. Biennial budget requests are a mandatory requirement of the state budgetary process.

Agency Program:
The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Sections 571.001-571.177

Arrangement: Chronological

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records:
Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Budget Estimates have been published since fiscal years 1954 and 1955. This publication, a compilation of data for all state agencies, summarizes the fiscal information found in agency-submitted budgets or appropriation requests, but omits most of the narrative.

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Legislative Appropriation Requests
Series item number: 1.1.004
Agency item number: 285
Archival code: A
Retention: AC + 6

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Texas Documents Collection holdings:
Legislative Appropriation Requests for the following biennia: FY 1994 & 1995, FY 1996 & 1997, FY 1998 & 1999, and FY 2000 & 2001.

Gaps? None

Appraisal Decision:
Legislative appropriation requests (LARs) provide evidence of the agency's fiscal performance and needs. They are summary and yet thorough enough, making them archival records. The Texas Ethics Commission should continue to use "A" as the archival code for this series on the agency's records retention schedule. The Ethics Commission should amend the Remarks column by adding the following: "The archival requirement will be met by sending required copies to the Texas State Publications Depository Program, Texas State Library and Archives Commission (13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 3.4(3))."

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Organization Charts

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: fractional

Agency holdings:
Fractional cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency until superseded. Present holdings date 1999.

Description:
These records consist of a one-page organizational chart of the Texas Ethics Commission, dated 1999. Names of employees are not included, only their job titles. Organization charts have also been included in the agency's Strategic Plans, so far dating June 1992, August 1994, and June 1998.

Purpose:
The purpose of organization charts is to indicate agency staff organization in a graphic format.

Agency Program:
The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

The Ethics Commission is currently organized into five divisions: Enforcement, Disclosure Filings, Advisory Opinions and Education, Administration, and Computer Services. There are 33 FTE employees.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Sections 571.001-571.177

Arrangement: Not applicable; one item only.

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access?
Texas Ethics Commission: An Inventory of Ethics Commission Records at the Texas State Archives, 1979-2003, bulk 1992-1994, 46 cubic ft. Online at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30035/tsl-30035.html see series 2, Organizational charts, 2001-2003, fractional.

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records:
The organization charts are published in the agency Strategic Plan, so far dating June 1992, August 1994, and June 1998.

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Organization Charts
Series item number: 1.1.023
Agency item number: 89
Archival code: A
Retention: US

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission at the time of the appraisal.

As of June 2006: Organizational charts, 2001-2003, fractional. Online finding aid at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30035/tsl-30035.html (series 2)

Texas Document Collection holdings:
Organization charts are included in the Texas Ethics Commission's Strategic Plans for 1992-1998 (June 1992), 1995-1999 (August 1994), and 1998-2003 (June 1998).

Gaps?
It is unknown whether additional organization charts were created besides the three published in the Strategic Plans (dating 1992, 1994, and 1998), plus the current chart (dating 1999).

Appraisal Decision:
Organization charts provide a convenient way of tracking the evolution of an agency's structure over time. Organization charts are inherently archival. The Texas Ethics Commission should continue to use "A" as the archival code for these records. It then has two options to fulfil the archival requirement. One action is simply to transfer the organization chart to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission whenever that chart is superseded. Alternatively, the Ethics Commission may add the following note to the Remarks column of its records retention schedule for this series: "The archival requirement will be met by sending required copies of the Strategic Plan (which contains the organization chart) to the Texas State Publications Depository Program, Texas State Library and Archives Commission (13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 3.4(1)(C))."

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Meeting Agenda and Minutes

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: fractional

Agency holdings:
0.47 cubic ft. of paper records in the agency. Retained by the agency permanently. Present holdings date January 1992-January 2000.

Description:
These records consist of copies of minutes and agenda of meetings of the Texas Ethics Commission, dating 1992-2000. The summary minutes include the following: advisory opinion requests (AORs); commission comments, executive director comments, and comments from the public; discussion and action on proposed rules; briefings, discussion, and possible action on a variety of other items, including the budget, the strategic plan, the electronic database, interagency contracts, training programs for state employees and members of the legislature, an imaging system to replace the microfilming of records, requests to waive certain fines assessed for late filings of reports, etc. Although comments are usually summarized in these minutes, the briefings are not summarized. Also included in this series (but not transferred to the State Archives) are witness affidavit sheets of people who spoke to the commission.

Beginning with the March 7, 1992 meeting, each set of minutes is prefaced with this statement: "This meeting was tape recorded. These minutes are a summary record of the actions taken at the meeting. A detailed record of the discussions and statements made at this meeting is available by reviewing the audio tapes on file at the commission's office." According to the rules promulgated by the Ethics Commission, the tape recordings are considered "the official record of actions taken at the meeting." (1 Texas Administrative Code, Section 6.47). There are 174 audio cassettes recorded during meetings, December 1991-October 1999. The summary minutes are created from the audio cassettes of the meetings. No transcripts are produced. These audio cassettes are reviewed in a separate Record series review, Commission meetings - audio cassettes.

Beginning with the January 10, 1997 meeting, the Ethics Commission has mounted both its agenda and its minutes on the agency web site (although as of June 2006, only the minutes and agenda for meetings dated 2004-2006 are posted): (http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tec/meetings.htm)

Purpose:
Minutes are created to document in a summary fashion the official actions of the commission in its meetings. Agenda inform the public as to what will be discussed and/or decided at each commission meeting.

Agency Program:
The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

The Ethics Commission consists of eight members representing the general public, serving overlapping four-year terms. Four are appointed by the governor, two by the lieutenant governor, and two by the speaker of the house, all of them chosen from lists provided by senate and house caucuses representing political parties required by law to hold primary elections (currently the Democratic and Republican parties). They are non-salaried positions, and the members annually elect a chair. The Ethics Commission is subject to sunset review, but not to abolishment.

The Ethics Commission was preceded by a Public Servant Standards of Conduct Advisory Committee, created in 1981 to expire in 1983 (House Bill 3, 67th Legislature, Regular Session); and an 11-member State Ethics Advisory Commission (appropriation: Senate Bill 22, 68th Legislature, 1st Called Session, 1983).

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Sections 571.001-571.177 (especially Sections 571.025-571.027)
See also 1 Texas Administrative Code, Section 6.47

Arrangement: Chronological

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access?
Texas Ethics Commission: An Inventory of Ethics Commission Records at the Texas State Archives, 1979-2003, bulk 1992-1994, 46 cubic ft. Online at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30035/tsl-30035.html see series 1, Minutes and agenda, 1992-2003, 0.75 cubic ft.

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Meeting Agenda and Minutes
Series item number: 1.1.058
Agency item number: 410
Archival code: A
Retention: PM

Archival holdings:
Texas Ethics Commission, Minutes, January 1992-August 1999, 0.48 cubic ft.
(Minutes are routinely transferred, but not agenda, at the time of the appraisal).

As of June 2006: Minutes and agenda, 1992-2003, 0.75 cubic ft. Online finding aid at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30035/tsl-30035.html (series 1)

Gaps?
All agenda from all meetings, 1992-2000, are missing from the State Archives.
All minutes and agenda from predecessor agencies (Public Servant Standards of Conduct Advisory Committee, 1981-1983, and State Ethics Advisory Commission, 1983-1991) are missing from both the agency and the State Archives.

Appraisal Decision:
Meeting minutes provide what is probably the most important documentation of any agency's activities; those of the Ethics Commission are very succinct. Meeting agenda document what the public was told would be discussed at each meeting; they are very helpful as an aid to research in meeting minutes, serving somewhat as a table of contents. The Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission has determined that agenda and minutes are inherently archival. The Texas Ethics Commission should continue to use "A" as the archival code for these records. The existing statement in the Remarks column is correct and sufficient.

The Ethics Commission should make photocopies of meeting agenda for all of its meetings, and should transfer these to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission at its earliest convenience. Then for future meetings, both agenda and minutes need to be transferred together.

Because the existence of audio cassettes is not currently reflected in the agency's records retention schedule, the Ethics Commission should create a specific series for this record, with "Other" as the medium code. Although the Ethics Commission considers the audio cassettes the official record, audio cassettes are not a permanent medium.

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Commission Meetings - Audio Cassettes

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Contact: Margie Castellanos

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: fractional

Agency holdings:
174 audio cassettes. Retained by the agency permanently. Present holdings date December 1991-January 2000.

Description:
These records consist of audio cassette tapes of meetings of the Texas Ethics Commission, dating 1991-2000. Although I have not listened to any of the cassettes, it is possible to describe the meetings themselves, from the minutes. The summary minutes indicate the following business covered in the commission meetings: advisory opinion requests (AORs); commission comments, executive director comments, and comments from the public; discussion and action on proposed rules; briefings, discussion, and possible action on a variety of other items, including the budget, the strategic plan, the electronic database, interagency contracts, training programs for state employees and members of the legislature, an imaging system to replace the microfilming of records, requests to waive certain fines assessed for late filings of reports, etc. Although comments are usually summarized in the minutes, the briefings are not summarized.

Beginning with the March 7, 1992 meeting, each set of summary minutes is prefaced with this statement: "This meeting was tape recorded. These minutes are a summary record of the actions taken at the meeting. A detailed record of the discussions and statements made at this meeting is available by reviewing the audio tapes on file at the commission's office." According to the rules promulgated by the Ethics Commission, the tape recordings are considered "the official record of actions taken at the meeting." (1 Texas Administrative Code, Section 6.47). There are 174 audio cassettes recorded during meetings, December 1991-October 1999. The earlier cassettes are 120-minute ones, but the more recent are 90-minute cassettes of reasonably high quality. No transcripts are produced.

Beginning with the January 10, 1997 meeting, the Ethics Commission has mounted both its agenda and its minutes on the agency web site (although as of June 2006, only the minutes and agenda for meetings dated 2004-2006 are posted): (http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tec/meetings.htm)

Purpose:
Audio cassettes are created and maintained as the "official record" of commission meeting actions, and contain the full discussions and briefings. These audio cassettes are used to produce the summary minutes of commission meetings.

Agency Program:
The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

The Ethics Commission consists of eight members representing the general public, serving overlapping four-year terms. Four are appointed by the governor, two by the lieutenant governor, and two by the speaker of the house, all of them chosen from lists provided by senate and house caucuses representing political parties required by law to hold primary elections (currently the Democratic and Republican parties). They are non-salaried positions, and the members annually elect a chair. The Ethics Commission is subject to sunset review, but not to abolishment.

The Ethics Commission was preceded by a Public Servant Standards of Conduct Advisory Committee, created in 1981 to expire in 1983 (House Bill 3, 67th Legislature, Regular Session); and an 11-member State Ethics Advisory Commission (appropriation: Senate Bill 22, 68th Legislature, 1st Called Session, 1983).

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Sections 571.001-571.177 (especially Sections 571.025-571.027)
See also 1 Texas Administrative Code, Section 6.47

Arrangement: Chronological

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems:
To quote from the Texas State Records Retention Schedule (emphasis added): "CAUTION: Minutes of state agencies are permanent records. Audio and videotapes are not permanent media. State agencies may not retain audio or videotapes of the meetings of governing bodies in lieu of written minutes. The proceedings of all meetings of state boards, committees, commissions, and councils must be reduced to writing."

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Suggested series from state Records Retention Schedule:
Title: Commission Meetings - Audio Cassettes
Series item number: 1.1.060
Agency item number: to be assigned
Archival code: None
Retention: AC + 90 days [AC = official approval of written minutes of the meeting by the governing body of the agency]

Archival holdings:
None.

Gaps? None

Appraisal Decision:
Because the existence of audio cassettes of commission meetings is not currently reflected in the agency's records retention schedule, the Ethics Commission should create a specific series for this record, with "Other" as the medium code.

Two things complicate the appraisal of this series. First, the Ethics Commission currently considers the audio cassettes of their meetings to be the official record of those meetings. Secondly, the written minutes do not include even summary versions of the briefings accompanying most agenda items.

I asked Margie Castellanos, who takes care of the audio cassettes, and who also creates the minutes from those tapes and from the voting forms, how often people requested to listen to the cassettes. She has been with the Ethics Commission from the very beginning in 1992, and says only once has anyone ever asked to listen to the tapes. Margie is not aware of any supporting documentation, and says the briefings are oral. However, most of these agenda items are requests for advisory opinions, which are well documented by another series that this report is declaring to be archival, Ethics opinions.

Although the agency appears to consider the audio cassettes to be the official record of its meetings, and might be inclined to use a permanent (PM) retention period for this series, the commission is advised that audio cassettes are not a permanent medium, because of their fragility and tendency to degrade. The earliest cassettes were 120-minute ones (taped front and back), and are not very compatible with the playback equipment now being used. The Ethics Commission later changed to a higher-quality 90-minute tape. Nevertheless, no audio cassette can be considered permanent or of archival quality. Therefore the Ethics Commission should not give this "new" series (Commission meetings - audio cassettes) any archival code on its retention schedule.

Since audio cassettes are not a permanent medium, they should not be considered the permanent record copy of actions taken at the commission meetings. The Ethics Commission should therefore consider three alternatives, any of which would have an archival impact:

  • create verbatim transcripts from the audio cassettes, and transfer copies of those transcripts to the State Archives in addition to the minutes and agenda (ideally this action would include past meetings as well as future meetings); or
  • summarize the briefings in the minutes; or
  • transfer to the State Archives -- also in addition to the minutes and agenda -- written briefings, and any other written materials presented to the Commission to help them make their decisions. These types of materials would properly form a separate series, called Meetings - supporting documentation, which would have an archival code of "A" on the records retention schedule. The staff of the Ethics Commission currently feels that this series (Supporting documentation, which does appear on their records retention schedule) is actually empty of records and should be deleted.

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Record Series Review
Series Title: General-Purpose Political Committee Contribution and Expenditure Reports

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: 94.97 cubic ft. (this will change drastically downward with the new requirement for electronic filing)

Agency holdings:
The original paper copy is retained by the agency for 2 years after scanning onto optical disk and verification, then destroyed, according to the agency records retention schedule. However, none received by the Ethics Commission (since January 1992) have actually been destroyed yet. Reports prior to January 1, 1992 are on microfilm (with the master copy at the State Records Center and a duplicate use copy -- in cartridge form -- at the agency). Both this microfilm and the electronic version (after January 1, 1992) are retained permanently. Present holdings include 299 cubic ft. of paper (dating 1991-2000), 247 reels/cartridges of microfilm (dating 1974-1991), and 27 optical disks (dating 1996-2000). The optical disks contain other ethics reports as well.

Description:
These records consist of financial statements of campaign contributions and expenditures for general purpose political action committees (PACs), dating 1974-2000. The files contain statements and lists of contributions and expenditures, designations of campaign treasurer, designations of final statement or specific purpose of the committee, and related correspondence.

These reports currently include the following information:

  • the committee's full name and address,
  • the identity and date of the election for which the report is filed, if applicable;
  • the campaign treasurer's name, residence or business street address, and telephone number;
  • the full name, complete address, and principal occupation of each person from whom contributions in an aggregate amount of more than $50 were received, the date, and the amount;
  • full name and complete address of each person or entity to whom any expenditure in an aggregate amount of more than $50 were made, the date, the amount, and the purpose;
  • on loans exceeding an aggregate of $50, the following:

    • the amounts;
    • the dates made;
    • the interest rate;
    • the maturity date;
    • the type of collateral for the loans;
    • the full name and address of the person or financial institution making the loans;
    • the full name and address, principal occupation, and name of the employer of each guarantor of the loans;
    • the amount of the loans guaranteed by each guarantor; and
    • the aggregate principal amount of all outstanding loans as of the last day of the reporting period.
  • the total of all contributions received aggregating $50 or less;
  • the total of all expenditures made aggregating $50 or less;
  • the name of each identified candidate or measure or classification by party of candidates supported or opposed by the committee, indicating whether the committee supports or opposes each listed candidate, measure, or classification by party of candidates;
  • the name of each identified officeholder or classification by party of officeholders assisted by the committee;
  • on a separate page or pages of the report, the identification of any contribution from a corporation or labor organization made and accepted under Subchapter D, Chapter 253 of the Election Code.

A new law, effective after the March 2000 primary election, will require general-purpose political committees (unless they meet certain qualifications for exemption) to file reports of contributions and expenditures electronically rather than on paper. (Filing electronically is defined as by computer diskette, modem, or other means of electronic transfer, using computer software provided by the commission or computer software that meets commission specifications for a standard file format.) The content of the electronic reports will be no different from the paper reports, except that street addresses of contributors cannot be available via the Internet, only in the electronic version that is accessed in the offices of the Texas Ethics Commission.

The document produced by SDR Technologies describing the filing format used for electronically submitting disclosure and registration documents to the Texas Ethics Commission (i.e., containing the technical specifications) is available upon request. It is located in the appraisal files of the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and is titled "Texas PDSERF/Plus (.PDP) File Layouts."

Purpose:
Campaign contribution and expense statements of committees were created to ensure public accountability for the financial activities of political action committees, encouraging high ethical standards by means of public scrutiny of the appropriate records.

Agency Program:
This ethics filing was created by House Bill 4, 63rd Legislature, Regular Session, 1973. The Campaign Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1973 required the following things to be reported: full name and complete address of each person from whom contributions in an aggregate amount of more than $50 were received, the date, and the amount; full name and complete address of each person to whom any expenditure in an aggregate amount of more than $50 were made, the date, the amount, and the purpose; the occupations of such persons (for General Purpose Political Action Committees); full name and complete address of each person who assisted in obtaining credit or a loan of money; the total of all contributions received aggregating $50 or less; the total of all expenditures made aggregating $50 or less. (The $50 limit replaced a $10 limit established in 1973; prior to 1973, all contributions and expenditures were reportable by name and address.) Originally, guidelines established for general purpose committees allowed for funding to candidates that did not have to be reflected on their expense statements.

In 1987, a number of additional reporting requirements were added (by House Bill 1818, 70th Legislature, Regular Session); and in 1991, minor amendments (by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session) essentially completed the current requirements.

Reports on loans exceeding an aggregate of $50 now must include the following: the amounts; the dates made; the interest rate; the maturity date; the type of collateral for the loans; the full name and address of the person or financial institution making the loans; the full name and address, principal occupation, and name of the employer of each guarantor of the loans; the amount of the loans guaranteed by each guarantor; and the aggregate principal amount of all outstanding loans as of the last day of the reporting period.

In addition to the basic items listed above, each report by a general purpose committee must include: the committee's full name and address; the full name, residence or business street address, and telephone number of the committee's campaign treasurer; the identity and date of the election for which the report is filed, if applicable; the name of each identified candidate or measure or classification by party of candidates supported or opposed by the committee, indicating whether the committee supports or opposes each listed candidate, measure, or classification by party of candidates; the name of each identified officeholder or classification by party of officeholders assisted by the committee; and on a separate page or pages of the report, the identification of any contribution from a corporation or labor organization made and accepted under Subchapter D, Chapter 253.

A new law (House Bill 2611, 76th Legislature, Regular Session, 1999), effective after the March 2000 primary election, will require certain candidates, officeholders, and political committees to file reports of contributions and expenditures electronically. (Filing electronically is defined as by computer diskette, modem, or other means of electronic transfer, using computer software provided by the commission or computer software that meets commission specifications for a standard file format.) The requirement will apply to candidates for and holders of the following offices: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Comptroller, Agriculture Commissioner, Land Office Commissioner, Railroad Commissioner, Member of the Legislature, Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, Justice of a Court of Appeals, and Member of the State Board of Education. The electronic filing requirement will also apply to general-purpose political committees and to specific-purpose political committees connected with candidates for or holders of the offices listed above.

There is an exception to the electronic filing requirement for a candidate, officeholder, or committee that files an affidavit stating that neither the filer nor a person acting on the filer's behalf uses computer equipment to keep current records of political contributions, expenditures, or donors. There is also an exception for a candidate, officeholder, or committee (other than a candidate for or holder of a statewide office or a committee connected with a candidate for or holder of a statewide office) that does not accept or spend more than $20,000 in a calendar year.

This filing was originally administered by the Enforcement Division, then (in the early 1980s) by the Campaign and Ethics Section of the Elections Division, renamed the Disclosure Filings Section by 1984. In 1992, the Texas Ethics Commission began to function, and assumed the administration and enforcement of this filing.

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Election Code, Title 15, Chapters 251-254
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 571.061(a)(3)
1 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 20

Arrangement: Numerical

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access?
For records in the holdings of the Archives and Information Services Division, transferred from the Secretary of State's office:

Two alphabetical card indexes currently in Room 105 of the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building match the names of the committees with the number assigned, for the periods 1973-1974 and 1975-1977. In addition, the finding aids in the Archives Search Room contain a folder inventory for 1973-1979, and match PAC numbers to boxes for 1979-1989.

Texas Secretary of State, Elections Division, Disclosure Filings Section: An Inventory of Political action committee campaign contribution and expense statements, 1973-1983, 1985-1989, 193.2 cubic ft. (in two parts). Online at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30039/tsl-30039.html

Texas Ethics Commission: An Inventory of Ethics Commission Records at the Texas State Archives, 1979-2003, bulk 1992-1994, 46 cubic ft. Online at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30035/tsl-30035.html see series 4, Candidate-officeholder and specific-purpose political committee contribution and expenditure reports, 1979-1996, bulk 1992-1994, 45 cubic ft.

An alphabetical listing of PAC names and corresponding numbers is available at the Texas Ethics Commission's Public Viewing Room in the "Report file printout." It can also be accessed on the search screen of the public terminals in the Public Viewing Room; if an entry is marked "Scanned," a researcher can then pull up the imaged version of the report. Call 463-5800 for more information.

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and the following were found for this series and for related series:

State political committee contribution and expenditure reports, 1989-1991, 52 cubic ft. (hard copy destroyed after verification of microfilm) (approved FY 1996)
Federal Political Action Committee contribution and expenditure reports, 1971-1986, 178 microfilm reels; 1986-1989, 22 microfilm reels; and 1989-1990, 12 microfilm reels (non-essential and therefore a preservation duplicate is not required) (approved FY 1995)
Federal ethics filings, 1974-1986, 21 microfilm reels; and 1986-1988, 1 microfilm reel (non-essential and therefore a preservation duplicate is not required) (approved FY 1995)

Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were also checked for the Disclosure Filings Section/Enforcement Division of the Texas Secretary of State, and the following were found:

Political committee documents (except candidate committees), 1981-1983, 42 cubic ft. (microfilmed, masters in SRC vault; destruction of paper authorized January 4, 1989)
Chapter 14 Political Action Committees, 1983-1985, 51 cubic ft. (approved October 15, 1990)
Federal ethics filings (PACs), 1972-1974, 1985-1989, 67 cubic ft. (microfilmed) (approved December 3, 1986; November 3, 1987; October 14, 1988; January 4 and August 16, 1989).

Publications based on records:
Lists of late filers are published in the Texas Register.

Internet pages based on records:
Texas Ethics Commission-Contribution & Expenditure Reports (online)

(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/dfs/c&elists.htm)
The Ethics Commission does not enter individual contributions and expenditures into a database. The online lists (1996-2006) include the total contributions and expenditures reported by candidates, officeholders, and political committees. Reports from filers who choose to file electronically (by submitting a disk generated from Ethics Commission reporting software) are available online by using the database search engine (http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/cesearch.html).

Texas Ethics Commission-Delinquent Filers List (online)

(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/dfs/delinquent_filer_cohpac.htm)
This includes the names of filers from the Texas Ethics Commission who did not file reports, or failed to pay penalty fines for late reports in reference to the listed filing deadline. At the time of this appraisal, included in the list (revised November 30, 1999) were PACs who missed the following deadlines: Semiannual PAC Campaign Finance Reports, due January 15, 1999 and July 15, 1998; and Monthly PAC Report, due December 5, 1998.

Texas Ethics Commission-Political Action Committee (PAC) Lists (online)

(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/dfs/paclists.htm)
Sorted by PAC Name--This list includes all PACs that have a campaign treasurer appointment on file with the Texas Ethics Commission. Also sorted by acronym name.

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: General-Purpose Political Committee Contribution and Expenditure Reports (paper)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 424
Archival code: R
Retention: 2 years after receipt, following scanning and verification

Title: General-Purpose Political Committee Contribution and Expenditure Reports (electronic/microfilm)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 313
Archival code: R
Retention: PM

Archival holdings:
Texas Secretary of State, Elections Division, Disclosure Filings Section: Campaign contribution and expense statements (Political Action Committees), 1973-1989, 193.2 cubic ft. (includes both General and Specific PACs). Online finding aid at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30039/tsl-30039.html

As of June 2006: Texas Ethics Commission, Candidate-officeholder and specific-purpose political committee contribution and expenditure reports, 1979-1996, bulk 1992-1994, 45 cubic ft. Online finding aid at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30035/tsl-30035.html (series 4)

Texas Document Collection holdings:
"State agencies are not required to provide copies of a publication on electronic external storage devices if the state publications are made available by an Internet connection." (13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 3.2)

Gaps?
Paper copies of reports for 1989-1991 were destroyed, but they remain on microfilm at the agency.

Appraisal Decision:
Campaign contribution and expenditure reports of general-purpose political action committees document in considerable detail precisely what their title suggests. When I was in the Campaign and Ethics Section of the Secretary of State's Office (1981-1982), the current files (and occasionally the older files) got very heavy use. Those requesting to see these files included members of the press and other media, persons representing rival candidates for elective office, public interest groups such as Common Cause, and other interested members of the public. Unfortunately, the Ethics Commission has not compiled use statistics by type of filing; nevertheless, they do receive between 9,000 and 10,000 inquiries annually for information on file with the Ethics Commission. How many of these inquiries are for campaign reports cannot be determined without extensive research. However, Ethics Commission staff indicates that these campaign filings are the most frequently requested reports (a judgement that matches my earlier experience).

Although it is not an objective source, the following excerpt from an editorial in the Toledo Blade, dated October 3, 1998, titled "Snuffing out history," is of relevance:

People interested in seeing who has pulled the financial strings via political campaign contributions of politicians on their way up, say Michigan's Governor Engler and Ohio's Governor Voinovich, are out of luck. That's because campaign finance laws say that in Michigan campaign donation records in government possession must be dumped after five years. In Ohio, it's six years. For watchdog agencies such as Common Cause in Michigan, there's more to this kind of legislation than the cost of preserving and storing paper records. What appears really to be the issue is that politicians in the Legislature didn't want anyone going back to poke through campaign contribution lists and come up with something that might be embarrassing in the future. We have no doubt that similar motivations underlie Ohio's records law.

What it boils down to is a reprehensible erasing of history. As Karen Holcomb-Merrill, executive director of Common Cause in Michigan noted, "The money that you've accepted in the past is relevant."

The Michigan law, enacted in 1976, requires the state Bureau of Elections to destroy most campaign-finance records after five years. For officeholders with longer terms, such as judges, records are kept a year longer than the length of their terms. In Ohio the Secretary of State's office, and other sites where campaign contribution lists are filed, must by law keep them for six years. There is no requirement, as in Michigan, that they be destroyed. In Lucas County a spokesman said they were destroyed. Richard Porter, speaking for the Secretary of State's office, said none of these records had been destroyed in four years. Rather they were being warehoused via a private contractor and weren't available for public viewing.

The business of record maintenance and destruction, evolving as it did from business practices, is in need of review vis-a-vis public records. This wholesale planned destruction of campaign contribution forms, as an example, helps erase the history of this state and of prominent politicians whose biographers could use it. It is wrong that legislators allow this destruction to occur. It must be reversed, and reports important to communities, counties, and both states must be saved, somewhere, somehow.

While the opinions expressed in this editorial may be overstated, it is true that accountability has a long life. In addition, I believe these records to be an untapped mine for the analysis of campaign financing and its effects on elections. The fact that they are so voluminous is unfortunate from a storage standpoint, but not from a historical standpoint. Although the earlier (pre-Ethics Commission) records have been microfilmed, they were not done to ANSI standards, so the storage problem for that segment of these records is not alleviated.

I made a search of the web sites of other state archives, for comparison. The following state archives reported holdings of campaign filings: California, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. (Other states probably have holdings as well, but these were found with moderate effort on my part.) The date spans range from as early as 1894 to as recent as 1994. The volume of these records was usually relatively modest, although Pennsylvania reported 409 cubic ft.

I also sent out a survey to 20 state archives, asking for details on any appraisal decisions they had made on this type of filing. I received replies from 6 states, all of which considered this filing as archival. Three states gave me the most detailed feedback on their reasoning, and are worth quoting at length:

Mississippi: "Campaign finance reports are used regularly by patrons in our Search Room. In an appraisal statement written in 1993, these records were said to document election fund raising in Mississippi. We believe that usage of the records has justified our appraisal of them as records of long term value."

New York: "SARA staff appraised these records as having enduring research value. We found that they would be of great interest to historians and political scientists and would provide a basis for studying who supported certain types of candidates, the kinds of finances involved in campaigns and the political process and could lead to assessments of the role of finance and financial backers in politics. Please note that we do not make any distinction between 'general purpose' and 'specific purpose' PACs. All types of PACs are subject to the same reporting processes in New York and their records would be intermingled."

Minnesota: "The Government Records Appraisal Committee considered this issue at the same time as the previous question [on Economic interest statements, in 1986]. This decision was a bit more complicated because of two factors: the substantial bulk of these records and the fact that the salient features of the reports were summarized in published form. In spite of these two 'negative' factors, the committee decided to retain these records. They were considered basic campaign documents. No distinctions were made between the filings of PACs, individual candidates, or principal campaign committees. The committee felt that each was integral to the understanding of the political process, especially over time. Minnesota was, we believe, the first state to authorize a special board to oversee campaign finance and ethics (established 1974). As such, we felt this warranted additional documentation. Minnesota's reputation as a 'good government' state, whether deserved or not, also argued for retention. Finally, although the published reports did an adequate job of noting the 'gross' receipts and disbursements, it was concluded that they really did not give an adequate documentation of campaign finance. We have had an opportunity to review these decisions several times since 1986 and have chosen not to change the retention decisions."

Partly for their evidential value, but mainly for their informational value, these records are archival, and the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission should retain them. The Texas Ethics Commission should change the archival review code ("R") to archival ("A"), on both the paper version and the electronic/microfilm version.

Although the information in these records is archival, each medium must be considered separately because of the differences in their preservation needs.

Paper: Because the paper copies (agency item number 424) represent the preferred archival medium, all existing paper copies of these reports will be considered archival, and should be transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission when their retention period has expired. The Ethics Commission should change the Remarks column from "paper destroyed…" to "paper transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 2 years after receipt, following scanning and verification."

Microfilm: The microfilm copies (agency item number 313) of the older, pre-Ethics Commission reports were not done to ANSI standards, and would therefore not normally be considered archival. However, since the paper copies dating 1989-1991 have been destroyed, those microfilm reels containing reports from that time span should be copied (from the masters maintained at the State Records Center) and forwarded to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Electronic: Since it is the current consensus of the professional archival community that optical disks cannot be considered a permanent medium, the imaged version of this series (also agency item number 313) is not archival. However, since reports filed beginning in the year 2000 will be filed only as an electronic (neither paper nor imaged) version, those reports become by default archival. It will be the responsibility of the Ethics Commission to comply with 13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 6.97, on the Retention of Electronic Records, which is reproduced below:

(a) State agencies must establish policies and procedures to ensure that electronic records and any software, hardware, and/or documentation, including maintenance documentation, required to retrieve and read the electronic records are retained as long as the approved retention period for the electronic records.
(b) The retention procedures must include provisions for:

(1) scheduling the disposition of all electronic records, according to statutory requirements, as well as related software, documentation, and indexes; and
(2) establishing procedures for regular recopying, reformatting, and other necessary maintenance to ensure the retention and usability of electronic records until the expiration of their retention periods.

(c) State records having archival value and scheduled to be preserved at the State Archives must be transferred to the State Archives as the source document, or printed out on alkaline paper for computer generated information, or on microforms that meet the specifications in American National Standard for Imaging Media (Film)--Silver-Gelatin Type--Specifications for Stability (ANSI IT9.1-1992).

Please note: The State Archives hereby grants an exemption from subsection (c) of Section 6.97, so long as the requirements of subsections (a) and (b) are met. This exemption is made in light of three factors: the non-availability of the source documents in this special case, the burden that printing out these documents would involve, and the loss of a certain amount of searchability in a paper version compared with an electronic version.

The Ethics Commission is advised that 13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 6.97 is being revised. The proposed revision and the approved revision will be published in the Texas Register. As of this writing, the section replacing Section 6.97 reads:

Retention of Electronic State Records.
(a) A state agency must establish policies and procedures to:

(1) ensure that an electronic state record and any software, hardware, and/or documentation, including maintenance documentation, required to retrieve and read the electronic state record are retained as long as the approved retention period for the record; or
(2) provide for recopying, reformatting, and other necessary maintenance to ensure the availability and usability of an electronic state record until the expiration of its retention period.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), a state agency's records retention schedule submitted for certification or recertification after the effective date of these sections, must schedule by record series all electronic state records maintained by the agency, in accordance with the Government Code, Section 441.185, and Chapter 6, Subchapter A of this title (relating to Records Retention Schedule).
(c) An electronic state record must be individually accessible. System tapes used for data backup or disaster recovery, unless indexed for accessibility, may not be used to satisfy records retention requirements.
(d) and (e) deal with electronic mail systems.

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Candidate-Officeholder and Specific-Purpose Political Committee Contribution and Expenditure Reports

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: 79.75 cubic ft. (this will change drastically downward with the new requirement for electronic filing)

Agency holdings:
The original paper copy is retained by the agency for 2 years after scanning onto optical disk and verification, then destroyed, according to the agency records retention schedule. However, none received by the Ethics Commission (since January 1992) have actually been destroyed yet. Reports prior to January 1, 1992 are on microfilm (with the master copy at the State Records Center and a duplicate use copy -- in cartridge form -- at the agency). Both this microfilm and the electronic version (after January 1, 1992) are retained permanently. Present holdings include 222 cubic ft. of paper (dating 1991-2000), 129 reels/cartridges of microfilm (dating 1972-1991), and 27 optical disks (dating 1996-2000). The optical disks contain other ethics reports as well.

Description:
These records consist of campaign contribution and expense statements of candidates for (and officeholders of) state and district offices (and some voluntary filings of candidates for county and municipal offices), as well as for the specific-purpose committees created to support their campaigns. The records date 1972-2000. Types of records include lists of contributions and expenditures, designations of campaign treasurer, and correspondence. Included are accounts from primary, general, and special elections. In instances where a second primary was held, the two primaries were considered one election. Each candidate, campaign manager, or assistant campaign manager was required to keep a record of all funds received and disbursed. Time limits imposed on the filing of these records vary according to time period.

These reports currently include the following information:

  • the candidate's, or the officeholder's, or the committee's full name and address;
  • the office sought, and the identity and date of the election for which the report is filed;
  • the campaign treasurer's name, residence or business street address, and telephone number;
  • full name and complete address of each person from whom contributions in an aggregate amount of more than $50 were received, the date, and the amount;
  • full name and complete address of each person or entity to whom any expenditure in an aggregate amount of more than $50 were made, the date, the amount, and the purpose;
  • on loans exceeding an aggregate of $50, the following:

    • the amounts;
    • the dates made;
    • the interest rate;
    • the maturity date;
    • the type of collateral for the loans;
    • the full name and address of the person or financial institution making the loans;
    • the full name and address, principal occupation, and name of the employer of each guarantor of the loans;
    • the amount of the loans guaranteed by each guarantor; and
    • the aggregate principal amount of all outstanding loans as of the last day of the reporting period.
  • the total of all contributions received aggregating $50 or less;
  • the total of all expenditures made aggregating $50 or less;
  • for each political committee from which the candidate received notice under Section 254.128 or 254.161:

    • the committee's full name and address;
    • an indication of whether the committee is a general-purpose committee or a specific-purpose committee; and
    • the full name and address of the committee's campaign treasurer; and
  • on a separate page or pages of the report, the identification of any payment from political contributions made to a business in which the candidate or officeholder has a participating interest of more than 10 percent, holds a position on the governing body of the business, or serves as an officer of the business.

Additionally, each report by a campaign treasurer of a specific-purpose committee must include:

  • the name of each candidate and each measure supported or opposed by the committee, indicating for each whether the committee supports or opposes;
  • the name of each officeholder assisted by the committee; and
  • on a separate page or pages of the report, the identification of any contribution from a corporation or labor organization made and accepted under Subchapter D, Chapter 253 of the Election Code.

A new law, effective after the March 2000 primary election, will require certain candidates, officeholders, and political committees to file reports of contributions and expenditures electronically. (Filing electronically is defined as by computer diskette, modem, or other means of electronic transfer, using computer software provided by the commission or computer software that meets commission specifications for a standard file format.) The requirement will apply to candidates for and holders of the following offices: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Comptroller, Agriculture Commissioner, Land Office Commissioner, Railroad Commissioner, Member of the Legislature, Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, Justice of a Court of Appeals, and Member of the State Board of Education. The electronic filing requirement will also apply to general-purpose political committees and to specific-purpose political committees connected with candidates for or holders of the offices listed above. The content of the electronic reports will be no different from the paper reports, except that street addresses of contributors cannot be available via the Internet, only in the electronic version that is accessed in the offices of the Texas Ethics Commission.

The document produced by SDR Technologies describing the filing format used for electronically submitting disclosure and registration documents to the Texas Ethics Commission (i.e., containing the technical specifications) is available upon request. It is located in the appraisal files of the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and is titled "Texas PDSERF/Plus (.PDP) File Layouts."

Purpose:
These filings help to ensure public accountability for the campaigns of candidates, encouraging high ethical standards by means of public scrutiny of the appropriate records.

Agency Program:
In 1919 the 36th Legislature, Regular Session passed Senate Bill 120, "An Act to prevent the control of Primary Elections by the use of money, and to regulate and limit the expenditure of money to promote or defeat the candidacy of persons for nomination for office in primary elections." By this law (and all subsequent laws), candidates for state and district offices must file campaign contribution and expenditure statements with the Secretary of State; candidates for county office must file with the county clerk; and candidates for municipal office (and for other political subdivisions) must file with the clerk or secretary of the municipality or political subdivision. The passage of House Bill 6, 52nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1951, extended this reporting requirement to candidates in all elections, both primary and general. This law was revised by House Bill 4, 63rd Legislature, Regular Session, 1973, the "Campaign Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1973."

The Campaign Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1973 required the following things to be reported: full name and complete address of each person or entity from whom contributions in an aggregate amount of more than $50 were received, the date, and the amount; full name and complete address of each person to whom any expenditure in an aggregate amount of more than $50 were made, the date, the amount, and the purpose; full name and complete address of each person who assisted in obtaining credit or a loan of money; the total of all contributions received aggregating $50 or less; the total of all expenditures made aggregating $50 or less. (The $50 limit replaced a $10 limit established in 1973; prior to 1973, all contributions and expenditures were reportable by name and address.)

In 1987, a number of additional reporting requirements were added (by House Bill 1818, 70th Legislature, Regular Session); and in 1991, minor amendments (by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session) essentially completed the current requirements.

Reports on loans exceeding an aggregate of $50 now must include the following: the amounts; the dates made; the interest rate; the maturity date; the type of collateral for the loans; the full name and address of the person or financial institution making the loans; the full name and address, principal occupation, and name of the employer of each guarantor of the loans; the amount of the loans guaranteed by each guarantor; and the aggregate principal amount of all outstanding loans as of the last day of the reporting period.

In addition to the basic items listed above, each report by a candidate, an officeholder, or a specific-purpose committee must include: the candidate's/officeholder's/committee's full name and address, the office sought, and the identity and date of the election for which the report is filed; the campaign treasurer's name, residence or business street address, and telephone number; for each political committee from which the candidate received notice under Section 254.128 or 254.161: (A) the committee's full name and address; (B) an indication of whether the committee is a general-purpose committee or a specific-purpose committee; and (C) the full name and address of the committee's campaign treasurer; and on a separate page or pages of the report, the identification of any payment from political contributions made to a business in which the candidate or officeholder has a participating interest of more than 10 percent, holds a position on the governing body of the business, or serves as an officer of the business.

Additionally, each report by a campaign treasurer of a specific-purpose committee must include: the name of each candidate and each measure supported or opposed by the committee, indicating for each whether the committee supports or opposes; the name of each officeholder assisted by the committee; and on a separate page or pages of the report, the identification of any contribution from a corporation or labor organization made and accepted under Subchapter D, Chapter 253 of the Election Code.

These reports are to be open to public inspection for at least two years. A portion of House Bill 3207, 75th Legislature, Regular Session, 1997, is of particular interest for this filing: "Each time a person requests to inspect a report, the commission shall place in the file a statement of the person's name and address, whom the person represents, and the date of the request. The commission shall retain that statement in the file for one year after the date the requested report is filed. This subsection does not apply to a request to inspect a report by: (1) a member or employee of the commission acting on official business; or (2) an individual acting on the individual's own behalf." (V.C.T.A., Election Code, Section 254.040(b))

A new law (House Bill 2611, 76th Legislature, Regular Session, 1999), effective after the March 2000 primary election, will require certain candidates, officeholders, and political committees to file reports of contributions and expenditures electronically. (Filing electronically is defined as by computer diskette, modem, or other means of electronic transfer, using computer software provided by the commission or computer software that meets commission specifications for a standard file format.) The requirement will apply to candidates for and holders of the following offices: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Comptroller, Agriculture Commissioner, Land Office Commissioner, Railroad Commissioner, Member of the Legislature, Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, Justice of a Court of Appeals, and Member of the State Board of Education. The electronic filing requirement will also apply to general-purpose political committees and to specific-purpose political committees connected with candidates for or holders of the offices listed above.

There is an exception to the electronic filing requirement for a candidate, officeholder, or committee that files an affidavit stating that neither the filer nor a person acting on the filer's behalf uses computer equipment to keep current records of political contributions, expenditures, or donors. There is also an exception for a candidate, officeholder, or committee (other than a candidate for or holder of a statewide office or a committee connected with a candidate for or holder of a statewide office) that does not accept or spend more than $20,000 in a calendar year.

This filing was originally administered by the Enforcement Division, then (in the early 1980s) by the Campaign and Ethics Section of the Elections Division, renamed the Disclosure Filings Section by 1984. In 1992, the Texas Ethics Commission was created, and assumed the administration and enforcement of this filing.

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Election Code, Title 15, Chapters 251-254
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Sections 571.061
1 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 20

Arrangement: Alphabetical

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access?
For records in the holdings of the Archives and Information Services Division, transferred from the Secretary of State's office:

Alphabetical listings for each year are found in the finding aid for the period 1918-1947. An alphabetical card index currently in Room 105 of the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building identifies the number assigned to each candidate from 1948-1973, although this index apparently has many missing cards prior to the mid-1960s. Another card index covers the period 1975-1978, and the finding aid contains an alphabetical list of missing index cards, for candidates whose files are represented in our holdings. Finally, there are finding aids in the State Archives search room that match names of candidates to boxes for 1979-1989.

Texas Secretary of State, Elections Division, Disclosure Filings Section: An Inventory of Candidate campaign contribution and expense statements, 1918-1989, 253.39 cubic ft. Online at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30038/tsl-30038.html

Texas Ethics Commission: An Inventory of Ethics Commission Records at the Texas State Archives, 1979-2003, bulk 1992-1994, 46 cubic ft. Online at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30035/tsl-30035.html see series 4, Candidate-officeholder and specific-purpose political committee contribution and expenditure reports, 1979-1996, bulk 1992-1994, 45 cubic ft.

An alphabetical listing of PAC names and corresponding numbers is available at the Texas Ethics Commission's Public Viewing Room in the "Report file printout." It can also be accessed on the search screen of the public terminals in the Public Viewing Room; if an entry is marked "Scanned," a researcher can then pull up the imaged version of the report. Call 463-5800 for more information.

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and the following were found for this series and for related series:

Candidate-officeholder and committee contribution and expenditure reports, 1989-1991, 24 cubic ft. (hard copy destroyed after verification of microfilm) (approved FY 1994)
Federal candidate-officeholder and committee contribution and expenditure reports, 1972-1986, 22 microfilm reels; 1986-1989, 10 microfilm reels; and 1989-1990, 4 microfilm reels (non-essential and therefore a preservation duplicate is not required) (approved FY 1995)

Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were also checked for the Disclosure Filings Section/Enforcement Division of the Texas Secretary of State, and the following were found:

Chapter 14 Political Action Committees, 1983-1985, 51 cubic ft. (approved October 15, 1990)
Federal ethics filings (candidates), 1972-1989, 20 cubic ft. (microfilmed) (approved December 3, 1986; November 3, 1987; October 14, 1988; January 4 and August 16, 1989).

Publications based on records:
Lists of late filers are published in the Texas Register.

Internet pages based on records:
Texas Ethics Commission-Contribution & Expenditure Reports (online)

(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/dfs/c&elists.htm)
The Ethics Commission does not enter individual contributions and expenditures into a database. The online lists (1996-2006) include the total contributions and expenditures reported by candidates, officeholders, and political committees. Reports from filers who choose to file electronically (by submitting a disk generated from Ethics Commission reporting software) are available online by using the database search engine (http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/cesearch.html).

Texas Ethics Commission-Delinquent Filers List (online)

(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/dfs/delinquent_filer_cohpac.htm)
This includes the names of filers from the Texas Ethics Commission who did not file reports, or failed to pay penalty fines for late reports in reference to the listed filing deadline. At the time of this appraisal, included in the list (revised November 30, 1999) were PACs who missed the following deadlines: Semiannual PAC Campaign Finance Reports, due January 15, 1999 and July 15, 1998; and Monthly PAC Report, due December 5, 1998.

Texas Ethics Commission-Political Action Committee (PAC) Lists (online)

(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/dfs/paclists.htm)
Sorted by PAC Name--This list includes all PACs that have a campaign treasurer appointment on file with the Texas Ethics Commission. Also sorted by acronym name.

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Candidate-Officeholder & Specific-Purpose Political Committee Contribution & Expenditure Reports (paper)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 429
Archival code: R
Retention: 2 years after receipt, following scanning and verification

Title: Candidate-Officeholder & Specific-Purpose Political Committee Contribution & Expenditure Reports (electronic/microfilm)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 317
Archival code: R
Retention: PM

Archival holdings:
Texas Secretary of State, Elections Division, Disclosure Filings Section: Candidate campaign contribution and expense statements, 1918-1989, 253.39 cubic ft. Online finding aid at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30038/tsl-30038.html

Texas Secretary of State, Elections Division, Disclosure Filings Section: Campaign contribution and expense statements (Political Action Committees), 1973-1989, 193.2 cubic ft. (includes both General and Specific PACs). Online finding aid at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30039/tsl-30039.html

As of June 2006:
Texas Ethics Commission, Candidate-officeholder and specific-purpose political committee contribution and expenditure reports, 1979-1996, bulk 1992-1994, 45 cubic ft. Online finding aid at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30035/tsl-30035.html (series 4)

Texas Document Collection holdings:
"State agencies are not required to provide copies of a publication on electronic external storage devices if the state publications are made available by an Internet connection." (13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 3.2)

Gaps?
Paper copies of reports for 1989-1991 were destroyed, but they remain on microfilm at the agency.

Appraisal Decision:
Campaign contribution and expense statements of candidates and specific-purpose PACs document in considerable detail precisely what their title suggests. When I was in the Campaign and Ethics Section of the Secretary of State's Office (1981-1982), the current files (and occasionally the older files) got very heavy use. Those requesting to see these files included members of the press and other media, persons representing rival candidates for elective office, public interest groups such as Common Cause, and other interested members of the public. In the early 1980s Michael Dabrishius (who was Reference and Processing Archivist for the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission) made the following undated comment on accession number AC 1980/233: "These could serve as political ammunition, and are requested more frequently than I like for their current arrangement and description." Unfortunately, the Ethics Commission has not compiled use statistics by type of filing; nevertheless, they do receive between 9,000 and 10,000 inquiries annually for information on file with the Ethics Commission. How many of these inquiries are for campaign reports cannot be determined without extensive research. However, Ethics Commission staff indicates that campaign filings are the most frequently requested reports (a judgement that matches my earlier experience).

Although it is not an objective source, the following excerpt from an editorial in the Toledo Blade, dated October 3, 1998, titled "Snuffing out history," is of relevance:

People interested in seeing who has pulled the financial strings via political campaign contributions of politicians on their way up, say Michigan's Governor Engler and Ohio's Governor Voinovich, are out of luck. That's because campaign finance laws say that in Michigan campaign donation records in government possession must be dumped after five years. In Ohio, it's six years. For watchdog agencies such as Common Cause in Michigan, there's more to this kind of legislation than the cost of preserving and storing paper records. What appears really to be the issue is that politicians in the Legislature didn't want anyone going back to poke through campaign contribution lists and come up with something that might be embarrassing in the future. We have no doubt that similar motivations underlie Ohio's records law.

What it boils down to is a reprehensible erasing of history. As Karen Holcomb-Merrill, executive director of Common Cause in Michigan noted, "The money that you've accepted in the past is relevant."

The Michigan law, enacted in 1976, requires the state Bureau of Elections to destroy most campaign-finance records after five years. For officeholders with longer terms, such as judges, records are kept a year longer than the length of their terms. In Ohio the Secretary of State's office, and other sites where campaign contribution lists are filed, must by law keep them for six years. There is no requirement, as in Michigan, that they be destroyed. In Lucas County a spokesman said they were destroyed. Richard Porter, speaking for the Secretary of State's office, said none of these records had been destroyed in four years. Rather they were being warehoused via a private contractor and weren't available for public viewing.

The business of record maintenance and destruction, evolving as it did from business practices, is in need of review vis-a-vis public records. This wholesale planned destruction of campaign contribution forms, as an example, helps erase the history of this state and of prominent politicians whose biographers could use it. It is wrong that legislators allow this destruction to occur. It must be reversed, and reports important to communities, counties, and both states must be saved, somewhere, somehow.

While the above opinions may be overstated, it is true that accountability has a long life. In November 1998, Donaly Brice fielded a reference question that requested statistics on contributions to the Bill Clements-Mark White gubernatorial race of 1982. And recently there has been researcher interest in the campaign contributions for Ben Barnes and George H. Bush in the early 1970s.

In addition, I believe these records to be an untapped mine for the analysis of campaign financing and its effects on elections. The fact that they are so voluminous is unfortunate from a storage standpoint, but not from a historical standpoint. Although most of the earlier records have been microfilmed, they were not done to ANSI standards, so the storage problem for that segment of these records is not alleviated.

I made a search of the web sites of other state archives, for comparison. The following state archives reported holdings of campaign filings: California, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. (Other states probably have holdings as well, but these were found with moderate effort on my part.) The date spans range from as early as 1894 to as recent as 1994. The volume of these records was usually relatively modest, although Pennsylvania reported 409 cubic ft.

I also sent out a survey to 20 state archives, asking for details on any appraisal decisions they had made on this type of filing. I received replies from 6 states, all of which considered this filing as archival. Three states gave me the most detailed feedback on their reasoning, and are worth quoting at length:

Mississippi: "Campaign finance reports are used regularly by patrons in our Search Room. In an appraisal statement written in 1993, these records were said to document election fund raising in Mississippi. We believe that usage of the records has justified our appraisal of them as records of long term value."

New York: "SARA staff appraised these records as having enduring research value. We found that they would be of great interest to historians and political scientists and would provide a basis for studying who supported certain types of candidates, the kinds of finances involved in campaigns and the political process and could lead to assessments of the role of finance and financial backers in politics. Please note that we do not make any distinction between 'general purpose' and 'specific purpose' PACs. All types of PACs are subject to the same reporting processes in New York and their records would be intermingled."

Minnesota: "The Government Records Appraisal Committee considered this issue at the same time as the previous question [on Economic interest statements, in 1986]. This decision was a bit more complicated because of two factors: the substantial bulk of these records and the fact that the salient features of the reports were summarized in published form. In spite of these two 'negative' factors, the committee decided to retain these records. They were considered basic campaign documents. No distinctions were made between the filings of PACs, individual candidates, or principal campaign committees. The committee felt that each was integral to the understanding of the political process, especially over time. Minnesota was, we believe, the first state to authorize a special board to oversee campaign finance and ethics (established 1974). As such, we felt this warranted additional documentation. Minnesota's reputation as a 'good government' state, whether deserved or not, also argued for retention. Finally, although the published reports did an adequate job of noting the 'gross' receipts and disbursements, it was concluded that they really did not give an adequate documentation of campaign finance. We have had an opportunity to review these decisions several times since 1986 and have chosen not to change the retention decisions."

Partly for their evidential value, but mainly for their informational value, these records are archival, and the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission should retain them. The Texas Ethics Commission should change the archival review code ("R") to archival ("A"), on both the paper version and the electronic/microfilm version.

Although the information in these records is archival, each medium must be considered separately because of the differences in their preservation needs.

Paper: Because the paper copies (agency item number 429) represent the preferred archival medium, all existing paper copies of these reports will be considered archival, and should be transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission when their retention period has expired. The Ethics Commission should change the Remarks column from "paper destroyed…" to "paper transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 2 years after receipt, following scanning and verification."

Microfilm: The microfilm copies (agency item number 317) of the older, pre-Ethics Commission reports were not done to ANSI standards, and would therefore not normally be considered archival. However, since the paper copies dating 1989-1991 have been destroyed, those microfilm reels containing reports from that time span should be copied (from the masters maintained at the State Records Center) and forwarded to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Electronic: Since it is the current consensus of the professional archival community that optical disks cannot be considered a permanent medium, the imaged version of this series (also agency item number 317) is not archival. However, since reports filed beginning in the year 2000 will be filed only as an electronic (neither paper nor imaged) version, those reports become by default archival. It will be the responsibility of the Ethics Commission to comply with 13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 6.97, on the Retention of Electronic Records, which is reproduced below:

(a) State agencies must establish policies and procedures to ensure that electronic records and any software, hardware, and/or documentation, including maintenance documentation, required to retrieve and read the electronic records are retained as long as the approved retention period for the electronic records.
(b) The retention procedures must include provisions for:

(1) scheduling the disposition of all electronic records, according to statutory requirements, as well as related software, documentation, and indexes; and
(2) establishing procedures for regular recopying, reformatting, and other necessary maintenance to ensure the retention and usability of electronic records until the expiration of their retention periods.

(c) State records having archival value and scheduled to be preserved at the State Archives must be transferred to the State Archives as the source document, or printed out on alkaline paper for computer generated information, or on microforms that meet the specifications in American National Standard for Imaging Media (Film)--Silver-Gelatin Type--Specifications for Stability (ANSI IT9.1-1992).

Please note: The State Archives hereby grants an exemption from subsection (c) of Section 6.97, so long as the requirements of subsections (a) and (b) are met. This exemption is made in light of three factors: the non-availability of the source documents in this special case, the burden that printing out these documents would involve, and the loss of a certain amount of searchability in a paper version compared with an electronic version.

The Ethics Commission is advised that 13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 6.97 is being revised. The proposed revision and the approved revision will be published in the Texas Register. As of this writing, the section replacing Section 6.97 reads:

Retention of Electronic State Records.
(a) A state agency must establish policies and procedures to:

(3) ensure that an electronic state record and any software, hardware, and/or documentation, including maintenance documentation, required to retrieve and read the electronic state record are retained as long as the approved retention period for the record; or
(4) provide for recopying, reformatting, and other necessary maintenance to ensure the availability and usability of an electronic state record until the expiration of its retention period.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), a state agency's records retention schedule submitted for certification or recertification after the effective date of these sections, must schedule by record series all electronic state records maintained by the agency, in accordance with the Government Code, Section 441.185, and Chapter 6, Subchapter A of this title (relating to Records Retention Schedule).
(c) An electronic state record must be individually accessible. System tapes used for data backup or disaster recovery, unless indexed for accessibility, may not be used to satisfy records retention requirements.
(d) and (e) deal with electronic mail systems.

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Record Series Review
Series Title: State Officers Personal Financial Statements

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: 10 cubic ft.

Agency holdings:
The original paper copy is retained by the agency for 2 years after scanning onto optical disk and verification, then destroyed, according to the agency records retention schedule. However, none received by the Ethics Commission (since January 1992) have actually been destroyed yet. Reports prior to January 1, 1992 are on microfilm (with the master copy at the State Records Center and a duplicate use copy -- in cartridge form -- at the agency). Both this microfilm and the electronic version (after January 1, 1992) are retained permanently. Present holdings include 110 cubic ft. of paper (dating 1991-1999), 151 reels/cartridges of microfilm (dating 1973-1991), and 27 optical disks (dating 1996-1999). The optical disks contain other ethics reports as well.

Description:
These records consist of financial disclosure statements of the following: state officers (i.e., elected officers at the state or district level, appointed officers, salaried appointed officers, appointed officers of major state agencies, and executive heads of state agencies), candidates for elective office, and party chairmen. The records date 1973-1999. Files report the financial activities of the individual, and of his spouse and dependent children (if the individual had actual control over that financial activity during the preceding calendar year). Financial activities include the following types of assets and liabilities:
1) a list of all sources of occupational income, identified by employer, or if self-employed, by the nature of the occupation;
2) identification by name and the category of the number of shares of stock of any business entity held or acquired, and if sold, the category of the amount of net gain or loss realized from the sale;
3) a list of all bonds, notes, and other commercial paper held or acquired, and if sold, the category of the amount of net gain or loss realized from the sale;
4) identification of each source and the category of the amount of income in excess of $500 derived from each source from interest, dividends, royalties, and rents;
5) identification of each guarantor of a loan and identification of each person or financial institution to whom a personal note or notes or lease agreement for a total financial liability in excess of $1,000 existed at any time during the year, and the category of the amount of the liability;
6) identification by description of all beneficial interests in real property and business entities held or acquired, and if sold, the category of the amount of the net gain or loss realized from the sale;
7) identification of a person or other organization from which the individual or the individual's spouse or dependent children received a gift of anything of value in excess of $250 and a description of each gift, except: a gift received from an individual related to the individual at any time within the second degree by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Subchapter A, Chapter 573 of the Texas Government Code; a political contribution that was reported as required by law; and an expenditure required to be reported by a person required to be registered under Government Code, Chapter 305;
8) identification of the source and the category of the amount of all income received as beneficiary of a trust and identification of each asset, if known to the beneficiary, from which income was received by the beneficiary in excess of $500;
9) identification by description and the category of the amount of all assets and liabilities of a corporation or partnership in which 50 percent or more of the outstanding ownership was held, acquired, or sold;
10) a list of all boards of directors of which the individual is a member and executive positions that the individual holds in corporations, firms, partnerships, or proprietorships, stating the name of each corporation, firm, partnership, or proprietorship and the position held;
11) identification of any person providing transportation, meals, or lodging expenses permitted under Penal Code, Section 36.07(b), and the amount of those expenses, other than expenditures required to be reported under Government Code, Chapter 305; and
12) any partnership, joint venture, or other business association, excluding a publicly held corporation, in which both the state officer and a lobbyist registered under Government Code, Chapter 305 have an interest.

V.C.T.A., Government Code, Section 572.032(b) is of particular interest for this filing: "During the one-year period following the filing of a financial statement, each time a person requests to see the financial statement, excluding the commission or a commission employee acting on official business, the commission shall place in the file a statement of the person's name and address, whom the person represents, and the date of the request. The commission shall retain that statement in the file for one year after the date the requested financial statement is filed."

Purpose:
Personal financial statements were created to comply with state ethics legislation providing for the disclosure of financial assets and possible conflicts of interest of elected, salaried, or appointed officers and executive heads of state agencies, and candidates for elected office. These filings help to ensure public accountability from state officers, encouraging high ethical standards by means of public scrutiny of the appropriate records.

Agency Program:
A code of ethics for state officers and employees was created in 1957 by House Bill 3, 55th Legislature, Regular Session. This legislation set forth standards of conduct for state officers and employees regarding possible conflicts of interest between their private interests and official duties. An individual having controlling interest in a business entity under state regulation was required to file an affidavit with the Secretary of State disclosing such interest. A stock fraud scandal involving several state officials, including the Speaker of the House, was uncovered in 1971, leading to a demand for tougher and more comprehensive ethics legislation. During the 1971 legislative session the 62nd Legislature passed a new ethics law, House Bill 203, which called for more comprehensive financial disclosures and for the filing of these statements by all elected and appointed state officials, and any state or legislative employees whose salary exceeded $11,000. Few disclosure filings were made under this law as it was declared unconstitutional by the Texas Attorney General in January 1972. The 63rd Legislature reworked the ethics legislation and passed House Bill 1 in 1973. Under the terms of this legislation annual financial statements are required to be filed by elected officers and candidates, salaried appointed officers, appointed officers of major state agencies, and executive heads of state agencies. These financial disclosures include a listing of assets and liabilities, of all boards of directors that the person serves on, and executive positions held in corporations. These statements also include financial disclosures for the official's spouse and any dependent children over which he has actual control.

When the Ethics Commission was created in 1991, the law removed the requirement that appointed officers not required to file these personal financial statements must file an affidavit with the Secretary of State if they have, acquire, or divest themselves of substantial interest in a business entity subject to state regulation or a business entity conducting business with any state agency.

As with earlier ethics legislation this law sets forth a standards-of-conduct code for state officers and employees. The law requires these files to be open to public inspection for two years. The law also states that the financial statement may be destroyed after the second anniversary of the date the individual ceases to be a state officer, and that on notification from the former state officer the statement must be destroyed.

The requirement that each file contain the names and addresses of everyone who requested to see the personal financial statement for one year after filing was added by Senate Bill 248, 73rd Legislature, Regular Session, 1993.

This filing was originally administered by the Enforcement Division, then (in the early 1980s) by the Campaign and Ethics Section of the Elections Division, renamed the Disclosure Filings Section by 1984. In 1992, the Texas Ethics Commission was created, and assumed the administration and enforcement of this filing. Currently approximately 3,300 public officials are required to file reports with the Ethics Commission.

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 572 (Sections 572.001-572.058)
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 571.061
1 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 40

Arrangement: Alphabetical by last name of filer, and then in reverse chronological order.

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access?
The list of filers (for Personal Financial Statements, Campaign Finance Reports, and Lobby Reports) can be accessed on the search screen of the public terminals in the Public Viewing Room; if an entry is marked "Scanned," a researcher can then pull up the imaged version of the report. Call 463-5800 for more information.

Texas Secretary of State, Elections Division, Disclosure Filings Section: An Inventory of State officers personal financial statements, 1957-1976, bulk , 36 cubic ft. Online at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30069/tsl-30069.html

Problems:
The law states that the financial statement may be destroyed after the second anniversary of the date the individual ceases to be a state officer, and that on notification from the former state officer the statement must be destroyed. According to the Ethics Commission, this latter situation has occurred three times while they have been in existence (1991-1999), and each file was returned to the requestor rather than being destroyed.

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and the following was found for this series:

State officers personal financial statements and affidavits, 1989, 19 cubic ft. (hard copy destroyed after verification of microfilm) (approved FY 1994)

Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were also checked for the Disclosure Filings Section/Enforcement Division of the Texas Secretary of State, and the following were found:

Personal financial statements for candidates/state officials (House Bill 1 filings), 1973-1974, 1976, 1981-1985, 93 cubic ft. (microfilmed, masters in SRC vault; destruction of paper copies authorized January 4, 1989; October 15, 1990; and October 4, 1991)
Disclosure of regulated business interests affidavits, 1974-1983, 7 cubic ft. (approved October 15, 1990)

Publications based on records:
Lists of late filers are published in the Texas Register.

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: State Officers Personal Financial Statements (paper)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 426
Archival code: R
Retention: 2 years after receipt, following scanning and verification

Title: State Officers Personal Financial Statements (electronic/microfilm)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 315
Archival code: R
Retention: PM

Archival holdings:
Texas Secretary of State, Elections Division, Disclosure Filings Section, State officers personal financial statements, 1957-1976, bulk , 36 cubic ft. Online finding aid at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30069/tsl-30069.html

These records consist of financial disclosure statements or affidavits of elected officers (including candidates), salaried officers, appointed officers, and executive heads of state agencies. The files are dated 1957-1975. Two separate accessions cover different years (1957-1973 and 1973-1975) and used different filing arrangements.

The majority of the files in the first accession contain Code of Ethics affidavits disclosing controlling interests in business entities as required under the 1957 law, and date from 1957-1971. Information provided in these affidavits includes name, name of business entity, principal office or place of business, and relationship or interest owned. The later files in this accession, 1971-1973, largely contain information as required under the 1971 and 1973 laws, such as financial statements of assets and liabilities of the officer, his spouse, and dependent children, also listing boards of directors served on and corporate executive positions held. Some files may contain copies of tax returns in lieu of or in addition to these other statements.

The second accession of records consists of financial disclosure statements and affidavits, 1973-1975. Files contain financial statements of assets and liabilities of the officer, his spouse, and dependent children, also listing boards of directors served on and corporate executive positions held, or affidavits detailing interest in businesses regulated by state agencies or doing business with state agencies. Some files may contain copies of tax returns in lieu of or in addition to these other statements.

Gaps?
Paper copies of financial statements and affidavits for 1976-1990 are missing, and destruction requests have been located for almost half of those years. However, they remain on microfilm at the agency.

Appraisal Decision:
First of all, let me say that I have struggled to be particularly objective about this series, because this is the filing that I administered when I was in the Campaign and Ethics Section of the Secretary of State's Office, 1981-1982. At the time, there was significant use of current files by researchers, who included members of the press and other media, persons representing rival candidates for elective office, public interest groups such as Common Cause, and other interested members of the public. Unfortunately, the Ethics Commission has not compiled use statistics by type of filing; nevertheless, they do receive between 9,000 and 10,000 inquiries annually for information on file with the Ethics Commission. How many of these inquiries are for the personal financial statement cannot be determined without extensive research. However, Ethics Commission staff indicates that this filing, although not as frequently requested as the campaign reports, is nevertheless more popular that the lobby reports.

The paper copies of the pre-Ethics Commission personal financial statements have repeatedly been authorized for destruction (with the exception of the current State Archives holdings of 1957-1975), with the justification that they had been microfilmed (although that microfilm was not done to ANSI standards). Consequently, the paper copies from 1976-1990 no longer exist.

I completed an in-house appraisal report in December 1998 on the records of the Secretary of State in the holdings of the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. My initial feeling was that, both for their informational value about the financial status of state officials and candidates, and for their documentation of this important function of the office, these records were archival, and that the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission should retain them.

At that time two archivists were undecided/unconvinced about the archival value of this series. The main concern was with the possible lack of integrity of the files, since former officeholders may demand destruction of their files. The decision of the appraisal committee was to wait until we appraised the records of the Ethics Commission to make a final determination on this series.

The legal staff of the Ethics Commission reports that there have been three requests to destroy or return the personal financial statement since the Commission began operations in 1992. The Ethics Commission has been imaging these reports since 1996, and lists the microfilm and the electronic (imaged) copy as PM and "R". Presumably most of the requests for destruction will occur within the time period during which these reports are still in the custody of the Ethics Commission. It therefore should not be a major burden to the State Archives, nor even much of a problem.

At any rate, these files are one way (a relatively convenient way) of analyzing the financial status of state officers and candidates for state office. In terms of accountability (to point out conflicts of interest), their value fades with time. But I think their informational value is considerable. They give details (albeit broad categories rather than actual figures) concerning a dozen types of wealth and/or power. An added research advantage is the prospect of changes to that financial situation over time, since it is an annual filing. Charles Beard, in his landmark study An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (1913), drastically altered our view of the Founding Fathers by concentrating on their socio-economic backgrounds, concluding that the U.S. Constitution was a conservative document because these men were protecting their bases of power and influence. Whereupon other historians began to have a field day, fighting tooth and nail for or against the "Beard Thesis." Granted, Texas public officials are not exactly in the same category as the Founding Fathers. But any kind of group study of Texas state politicians and bureaucrats would profit from research in these personal financial statements. The data for any one individual may not seem all that significant (although a biographer of any of the more prominent among them might disagree), but changes over time could be very helpful. And above all, it is the aggregate information that is most convenient, and most significant.

I made a search of the web sites of other state archives, for comparison. The following state archives reported holdings of comparable filings (which were usually called either "financial disclosure statements" or "conflict of interest reports"): Colorado, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota. (Other states may have holdings as well, but these were found with moderate effort on my part.) Date spans are 1973-1998. Volumes (when reported) vary considerably, with the most voluminous being Ohio (159 cubic ft.) and Pennsylvania (109 cubic ft.). Texas has a total of 146 cubic ft. (36 cubic ft. in the State Archives, 110 cubic ft. in the Ethics Commission), and an annual accumulation of 10 cubic ft.

I also sent out a survey to 20 state archives, asking for details on any appraisal decisions they had made on this type of filing. I received replies from 6 states, 4 of which provided useful feedback as to their appraisal decisions. Three voted in favor of archival retention, and one (New York) voted against. Their reasoning is worth quoting:

Minnesota: "The Government Records Appraisal Committee considered the retention of these records in 1986 and decided that they should be retained as part of the State Archives. No real appraisal document exists. At that time, the committee's decision was based on the fact that a candidate's potential conflict of economic interest should be known, both at the time of election or appointment and for the benefit of historians in the future. This follows the concern of the Legislature in establishing mandatory disclosure."

Mississippi: "We have made no formal evaluation of the 'statements of economic interest;' however, we would like to see the schedule changed to send at least the microfilm to the Archives. We believe that the 'Statements of economic interest' are as valuable as the campaign finance reports. However, we do not know when the schedule might change."

Maryland: "Retention schedules for the State Ethics Commission … contain provisions for retaining permanently, eventually at the State Archives, personal financial reports for elected and appointed officials" because they "furnish biographical information on government officials.… Not retained permanently are personal financial reports from government employees who are part of the merit system (not elected or appointed) and are required to file because of their positions or their grade level."

New York: "Although no formal appraisal was done, SARA staff did examine these records in 1994 for potential long-term value. We verified that the records are not of permanent research value. Our sense was that no research objective is served by preserving personal financial data on more than 18,000 State employees who file annually. It was also our sense that it would not be appropriate to select for preservation those statements filed by key State officials, any more than it would be appropriate to preserve State income tax filings or State retirement system financial records for those same individuals."

The appraisal committee found none of the above arguments terribly compelling, either for or against. We do, however, agree with Minnesota's last two sentences concerning long-term accountability. And we do not agree with the reasoning behind New York's veto: these filings cannot be compared to either income tax or retirement system files, if for no other reason than that financial disclosure statements are public records and the other two are not.

To further complicate matters, the appraisal committee suggested that I also check on the federal filing of personal financial disclosure statements. These are covered by United States Code Annotated, Title 5, Appendix 4 (Ethics in Government Act of 1978). These reports are comparable to the Texas state filing in content, and are required of virtually every federal officer and employee (including candidates and nominees), in all three branches of government. Section 105(d) mandates that these reports be made available to the public in the offices receiving the reports (one office for the executive branch, one for the judiciary, one for the House, and one for the Senate) for 6 years after receipt. Then the report "shall be destroyed unless needed in an ongoing investigation." For nominees not confirmed by the Senate, and for candidates for the Presidency, Vice Presidency, or Congress, the reports are destroyed after one year. Therefore there is no possibility of their being considered archival by the National Archives without changing the law requiring that filing.

After all these considerations, the appraisal committee has decided to declare this record archival for now, and to reappraise it sometime down the road (perhaps in 5 to 10 years). The Texas Ethics Commission should change the archival review code ("R") to archival ("A"), on both the paper version and the microfilm version.

Although the information in these records is archival, each medium must be considered separately because of the differences in their preservation needs.

Paper: Because the paper copies (agency item number 426) represent the preferred archival medium, all existing (as well as future) paper copies of these reports will be considered archival, and should be transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission when their retention period has expired. The Ethics Commission should change the Remarks column from "paper destroyed…" to "paper transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 2 years after receipt, following scanning and verification.")

Microfilm: The microfilm copies (agency item number 315) of the older, pre-Ethics Commission reports were not done to ANSI standards, and would therefore not normally be considered archival. However, since the paper copies dating 1976-1990 have been destroyed, those microfilm reels containing reports from that time span should be copied (from the masters maintained at the State Records Center) and forwarded to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Electronic: Since it is the current consensus of the professional archival community that optical disks cannot be considered a permanent medium, the imaged version of this series (also agency item number 315) is not archival. To avoid confusion, since these two media (microfilm and electronic) have been lumped together on the records retention schedule but now have different archival values, the Ethics Commission should create a separate series for the electronic (imaged) version. They should then give this new series (the electronic one) the archival exemption code of "E," and should add the following statement to the Remarks Column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

It will be the responsibility of the Ethics Commission to comply with 13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 6.97, on the Retention of Electronic Records, which is reproduced below:

(a) State agencies must establish policies and procedures to ensure that electronic records and any software, hardware, and/or documentation, including maintenance documentation, required to retrieve and read the electronic records are retained as long as the approved retention period for the electronic records.
(b) The retention procedures must include provisions for:

(1) scheduling the disposition of all electronic records, according to statutory requirements, as well as related software, documentation, and indexes; and
(2) establishing procedures for regular recopying, reformatting, and other necessary maintenance to ensure the retention and usability of electronic records until the expiration of their retention periods.

(c) State records having archival value and scheduled to be preserved at the State Archives must be transferred to the State Archives as the source document, or printed out on alkaline paper for computer generated information, or on microforms that meet the specifications in American National Standard for Imaging Media (Film)--Silver-Gelatin Type--Specifications for Stability (ANSI IT9.1-1992).

The Ethics Commission is advised that 13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 6.97 is being revised. The proposed revision and the approved revision will be published in the Texas Register. As of this writing, the section replacing Section 6.97 reads:

Retention of Electronic State Records.
(a) A state agency must establish policies and procedures to:

(5) ensure that an electronic state record and any software, hardware, and/or documentation, including maintenance documentation, required to retrieve and read the electronic state record are retained as long as the approved retention period for the record; or
(6) provide for recopying, reformatting, and other necessary maintenance to ensure the availability and usability of an electronic state record until the expiration of its retention period.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), a state agency's records retention schedule submitted for certification or recertification after the effective date of these sections, must schedule by record series all electronic state records maintained by the agency, in accordance with the Government Code, Section 441.185, and Chapter 6, Subchapter A of this title (relating to Records Retention Schedule).
(c) An electronic state record must be individually accessible. System tapes used for data backup or disaster recovery, unless indexed for accessibility, may not be used to satisfy records retention requirements.
(d) and (e) deal with electronic mail systems.

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Record Series Review
Series Title: State Lobby Reports

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: 12.93 cubic ft.

Agency holdings:
The original paper copy is retained by the agency for 2 years after scanning onto optical disk and verification, then destroyed, according to the agency records retention schedule. However, none received by the Ethics Commission (since January 1992) have actually been destroyed yet. Reports prior to January 1, 1992 are on microfilm (with the master copy at the State Records Center and a duplicate use copy -- in cartridge form -- at the agency). Both this microfilm and the electronic version (after January 1, 1992) are retained permanently. Present holdings include 151 cubic ft. of paper (dating 1991-2000), 149 reels/cartridges of microfilm (dating 1974-1991), and 27 optical disks (dating 1996-2000). The optical disks contain other ethics reports as well.

Description:
These records consist of lobbyist registration and activity reports, dating 1974-2000. The lobbyist registration and registration renewal form gives the following: registrant's name, residence address, normal business, business address, business telephone number, name and address of employer(s), subject matters of the lobbyist's activity, and (in current reports) type of compensation (paid, earned, or prospective) and amount of compensation or reimbursement (expressed as a range rather than the exact amount). If the lobbyist is employed by members of a group other than a corporation, the form gives the number of members in the group, the full names of persons in the group who set policy, the method of setting policy, and a list of persons contributing more than $250 a year. If the lobbyist is employed by a corporation whose shares are not publicly traded, the form gives the number of shareholders, the name and address of each officer or member of the board of directors, and the name of each person owning at least 10% of the shares.

The lobbyist activity reports (either monthly or quarterly) give the following: name and address of the registrant, name and address of employer(s), expenditures by the registrant and by others on behalf of the registrant, and subject matters. The expenditures were originally broken down into three categories: entertainment; gifts, awards, and/or loans; and broadcast, print advertisements, direct mailings, and other mass media communications. Currently expenditures must be reported in the following additional categories as well: transportation and lodging; food and beverages; and expenditures made for the attendance of members of the legislative or executive branch at political fund-raisers or charity events.

A related series is Lobbyist Social Security Information Form (agency item number 423), which is also reviewed in this appraisal report.

Purpose:
Lobbyist activity reports are created to ensure public accountability for the activities and finances of lobbyists (persons who are retained by groups or persons to influence legislation), encouraging high ethical standards by means of public scrutiny of the appropriate records. To quote the introduction to the portion of the Government Code requiring registration of lobbyists (Section 305.001): "The operation of responsible democratic government requires that the people be afforded the fullest opportunity to petition their government for the redress of grievances and to express freely their opinions on legislation, pending executive actions, and current issues to individual members of the legislature, legislative committees, state agencies, and members of the executive branch. To preserve and maintain the integrity of the legislative and administrative processes, it is necessary to disclose publicly and regularly the identity, expenditures, and activities of certain persons who, by direct communication with government officers, engage in efforts to persuade members of the legislative or executive branch to take specific actions."

Agency Program:
This ethics filing was created in 1973 by House Bill 2, 63rd Legislature, Regular Session. It required every person who is employed or retained to influence legislation as a lobbyist to register with the Secretary of State, giving the following items of information: full name and address, business and business address, name and address of each person who made a contribution to the lobbyist, name and address of each person by whom the lobbyist is employed or retained to influence legislation, a specific description of matters on which the lobbyist expects to communicate directly with members of the legislative or executive branch to influence legislation, the number of members in any group represented by the lobbyist, and a full description of the methods by which the lobbyist develops and makes decisions about positions on policy. In 1992, the Texas Ethics Commission was created, and assumed the administration and enforcement of this filing. The law requires these reports to be open to public inspection; the law also requires the office responsible for maintaining this filing to purge its files after five years, thus ensuring that only active lobbyists are on file. Lobbyists must register or renew their registration annually. Currently approximately 1,600 lobbyists are registered with the Ethics Commission.

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 305 (Sections 305.001-305.036, especially 305.006-305.011)
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 571.061
1 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 34

Arrangement: Alphabetical

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access?
The list of filers (for Lobby Reports, Personal Financial Statements, and Campaign Finance Reports) can be accessed on the search screen of the public terminals in the Public Viewing Room; if an entry is marked "Scanned," a researcher can then pull up the imaged version of the report. Call 463-5800 for more information.

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and the following was found for this series:

State lobbyist activity reports, 1990-1991, 20 cubic ft. (hard copy destroyed after verification of microfilm) (approved FY 1996)

Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were also checked for the Texas Secretary of State, and the following were found:

Lobby filings, 1974-1987, 64 cubic ft. (approved October 15, 1990; and October 4, 1991)
Lobbyists, terminated and deceased, 1974-1984, 34 cubic ft. (microfilmed) (approved April 22, 1986; and October 15, 1990)

Publications based on records:
List of registered lobbyists by lobby subject matter.
List of registered lobbyists with employers/clients, sorted by lobbyist name.
List of employers/clients with lobbyists, sorted by employers/client name.
Lists of late filers are published in the Texas Register.

Internet pages based on records:
Texas Ethics Commission-Lobby Lists and Reports (online), 1998-2006

(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/dfs/loblists.htm)
You can view all lobby activity reports for a particular lobbyist by selecting the filer's name (2005-2006). Reports will be sorted chronologically in descending order, and are in PDF format. Lobby lists are available for 1998-2006, with or without client information.

Texas Ethics Commission-List of Late Filers (online)

(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/dfs/delinquent_filer_lobby.htm)
This includes the names of filers from the Texas Ethics Commission who did not file reports, or failed to pay penalty fines for late reports in reference to the listed filing deadline. Included in the current list (revised June 7, 2006) are those lobbyists who missed the following deadlines: Monthly or Annual Lobby Activity Reports, due January 2005 through January 2006.

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: State Lobby Reports (paper)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 427
Archival code: R
Retention: 2 years after receipt, following scanning and verification

Title: State Lobby Reports (electronic/microfilm)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 406
Archival code: R
Retention: PM

Archival holdings:
Texas Secretary of State, Elections Division, Disclosure Filings Section:
Lobbyist activity reports, 1987-1989, 16 cubic ft.

The Archives' appraisal of the records of the Texas Ethics Commission concludes that these records can be destroyed.

Texas Document Collection holdings:
List of registered lobbyists by lobby subject matter, 1997.
List of registered lobbyists with employers/clients, sorted by lobbyist name, 1997.
List of employers/clients with lobbyists, sorted by employers/client name, 1997.
Clients of employers of a registered lobbyist, 1993.

"State agencies are not required to provide copies of a publication on electronic external storage devices if the state publications are made available by an Internet connection." (13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 3.2)

Gaps?
Paper copies of lobby reports for 1974-1987 and 1990-1991 were destroyed, but they remain on microfilm at the agency.

Appraisal Decision:
Lobbyist registration and activity reports document a significant political phenomenon, the organized attempt to influence legislation. Accountability may be even more of an issue in these records, since candidates come and go, but legislation often stays around for years.

Unfortunately, the Ethics Commission has not compiled use statistics by type of filing; nevertheless, they do receive between 9,000 and 10,000 inquiries annually for information on file with the Ethics Commission. How many of these inquiries are for the lobby reports cannot be determined without extensive research. However, Ethics Commission staff indicates that this filing is not as frequently requested as the campaign reports or the personal financial statements, although it is more popular than the Federal ethics reports.

These records have a bit of appraisal history already. A memo by Chris LaPlante to the accession file, dated November 25, 1991, noted the following: "Carolyn Foster and I reviewed the records and determined that they were of marginal value. However, given the strong attention to ethics in state government in recent years, that the records should be retained. We also agree that the agency [the Secretary of State] should be requested in the future to film according to ANSI standards for archival records. In the meantime, we would retain the hard copy and also check into seeing if the existing reels could be duplicated onto archival quality film.... The Disclosure Filings Section was going to be transferred to the newly created Texas Ethics Commission in a few weeks."

I completed an in-house appraisal report in December 1998 on the records of the Secretary of State in the holdings of the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Our holdings of lobby reports consist only of those from 1987-1989. My initial feeling was that, both for their informational value, and for the evidence they provided of the nature of lobbyist activities at this point in time (a kind of historical snapshot or sampling), these records were archival.

Two archivists were not convinced that these were archival. Among the arguments against keeping these files was the existence of published lists of lobbyists. But these published lists begin only in 1991. Besides, a mere list can document only the registration of lobbyists, not their financial activities.

Another objection was the legal requirement for purging the files, which some of the appraisal committee believed might compromise the integrity of these records. From the beginning the law has required purging -- but not necessarily destruction -- every five years to avoid confusion as to who is acting as a lobbyist; yet the Ethics Commission has imaged them since 1996 and lists the microfilm and the electronic copy as permanent (PM) and for archival review ("R"). Furthermore, the current lobby files (dating back to 1991) have apparently not been purged.

The decision of the appraisal committee in December 1998 was to wait until we appraised the records of the Ethics Commission to make a final determination on this series.

The paper copies of the pre-Ethics Commission lobby reports have repeatedly been authorized for destruction (with the exception of the current State Archives holdings of 1987-1989), with the justification that they had been microfilmed (although that microfilm was not done to ANSI standards).

It is now our opinion that the small future research value of this series does not justify the costly storage and maintenance of the paper copies, especially given their bulk. Whatever limited historical use these records have, can be met by researchers consulting the microfilmed, imaged, and database versions maintained permanently by the Ethics Commission. The Ethics Commission will be responsible for maintaining the microfilm/electronic version of this series so long as they consider it having a permanent retention period.

The Texas Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival exemption code of "E" for both the paper version and the microfilm/electronic version of this series, and should add the following statement to the Remarks Column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

If the Ethics Commission continues to use a permanent (PM) retention period for the electronic version of this series, it should be advised that it is the current consensus of the professional archival community that optical disks cannot be considered a permanent medium. However, the details of the lobby reports are also maintained in a searchable and cumulative database dating back to 1992. It is the responsibility of the Ethics Commission to comply with 13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 6.97, on the Retention of Electronic Records, which is reproduced below:

(a) State agencies must establish policies and procedures to ensure that electronic records and any software, hardware, and/or documentation, including maintenance documentation, required to retrieve and read the electronic records are retained as long as the approved retention period for the electronic records.
(b) The retention procedures must include provisions for:

(1) scheduling the disposition of all electronic records, according to statutory requirements, as well as related software, documentation, and indexes; and
(2) establishing procedures for regular recopying, reformatting, and other necessary maintenance to ensure the retention and usability of electronic records until the expiration of their retention periods.

(c) State records having archival value and scheduled to be preserved at the State Archives must be transferred to the State Archives as the source document, or printed out on alkaline paper for computer generated information, or on microforms that meet the specifications in American National Standard for Imaging Media (Film)--Silver-Gelatin Type--Specifications for Stability (ANSI IT9.1-1992).

The Ethics Commission is advised that 13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 6.97 is being revised. The proposed revision and the approved revision will be published in the Texas Register. As of this writing, the section replacing Section 6.97 reads:

Retention of Electronic State Records.
(a) A state agency must establish policies and procedures to:

(7) ensure that an electronic state record and any software, hardware, and/or documentation, including maintenance documentation, required to retrieve and read the electronic state record are retained as long as the approved retention period for the record; or
(8) provide for recopying, reformatting, and other necessary maintenance to ensure the availability and usability of an electronic state record until the expiration of its retention period.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), a state agency's records retention schedule submitted for certification or recertification after the effective date of these sections, must schedule by record series all electronic state records maintained by the agency, in accordance with the Government Code, Section 441.185, and Chapter 6, Subchapter A of this title (relating to Records Retention Schedule).
(c) An electronic state record must be individually accessible. System tapes used for data backup or disaster recovery, unless indexed for accessibility, may not be used to satisfy records retention requirements.
(d) and (e) deal with electronic mail systems.

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Speaker of the House Reports

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: 0.2 cubic ft.

Agency holdings:
The original paper copy is retained by the agency for 2 years after scanning onto optical disk and verification, then destroyed, according to the agency records retention schedule. However, none received by the Ethics Commission (since January 1992) have actually been destroyed yet. The electronic version is retained permanently. Present holdings include 0.5 cubic ft. of paper (dating 1991-1999), and 27 optical disks (dating 1996-1999). The optical disks contain other ethics reports as well.

Description:
These records consist of statements of campaign finances together with related correspondence for races for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, dating 1991-1999. These records detail the candidate's entrance into or withdrawal from the race; designation of a campaign treasurer; campaign expenditures and contributions of money, goods or services. Each report must contain the following: the date and amount of each contribution of money; the date and value of each contribution of services; the complete name and address of each contributor; the complete name and address of the lender and each person other than the speaker candidate who is responsible on the note, the date and amount of the note, the intended source of funds to repay the note, and any payments already made on the note and the source of the payments; the complete name and address of each person to whom a payment of more than $10 was made, and the purpose of each expenditure.

Purpose:
A stock fraud scandal was uncovered in 1971, involving several state officials, including the Speaker of the House, leading to a demand for tougher and more comprehensive ethics legislation. Speaker's race campaign finance statements are created to ensure public accountability for the race for Speaker of the House, encouraging high ethical standards by means of public scrutiny of the appropriate records.

Agency Program:
One of the first tasks facing each new Texas House of Representatives is the election of one of its members as a Speaker of the House, to preside over the House.

This ethics filing was created by House Bill 8, 63rd Legislature, Regular Session, 1973. It required every candidate for the office of Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives to file with the Secretary of State a statement of contributions, loans, and expenditures for that race. In 1992, the Texas Ethics Commission was created, and assumed the administration and enforcement of this filing. These reports are to be open to public inspection for two years, after which the law allows them to be destroyed unless a court of competent jurisdiction has ordered their further preservation.

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 302
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 571.061
1 Texas Administrative Code, Sections 28.1-28.9

Arrangement: Alphabetical

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Speaker of the House Reports (paper)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 428
Archival code: R
Retention: 2 years after receipt, following scanning and verification

Title: Speaker of the House Reports (electronic)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 316
Archival code: R
Retention: PM

Archival holdings:
Texas Secretary of State, Elections Division, Disclosure Filings Section: Speaker's race, campaign finance statements, 1971-1985, 1 cubic ft.

Gaps? 1986-1990
The missing reports represent two elections (1987 and 1989), in which Gib Lewis was reelected to the position of Speaker of the Texas House.

Appraisal Decision:
These records document the contributions and expenditures associated with the race for Texas Speaker of the House, an office that has been repeatedly implicated in scandals for the past three decades. I believe them to be a significant source for the analysis of campaign financing and its effects on this specific type of election. They do not suffer from the problem of volume that we find in the two series of campaign contribution and expense statements (of candidates, and of political action committees). They have not been microfilmed, but they have been imaged. Mainly for their informational value, these records are archival, and the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission should retain them.

The Texas Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival code of "A" for the paper copies (agency item number 428). The Remarks column should be amended to eliminate the word "destroyed;" it should instead read "Paper transferred to the State Archives 2 years after receipt, following scanning and verification." The Ethics Commission should then transfer to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission all paper records in this series that have fulfilled their retention period.

Since it is the current consensus of the professional archival community that optical disks cannot be considered a permanent medium, the electronic version of this series (agency item number 316) is not archival. Therefore the Texas Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival exemption code of "E" for the electronic version of this series, and should add the following statement to the Remarks Column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Governor for a Day Ceremony Reports

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: fractional

Agency holdings:
The original paper copy is retained by the agency for 1 year after scanning onto optical disk and verification, then destroyed, according to the agency records retention schedule. However, none received by the Ethics Commission have actually been destroyed yet, nor have any been imaged. The electronic version (if created) is retained permanently. Present holdings include 0.2 cubic ft. of paper (dating 1995-1997).

Description:
This series consists of financial reports, both final and supplemental, with accompanying correspondence, detailing all contributions received and expenditures paid in conjunction with Governor for a Day ceremonies. They date 1995-1997. Each report contains the following information:

  • (beginning 1987) a cover sheet giving the name, business address and telephone number of the designated chairman, the date of the ceremony and the date of the report, and totals of contributions and expenditures over $50 and under $50;
  • for all contributions exceeding $50, the name and address of each contributor, the amount of the contribution, and (beginning 1987) the market value of any in-kind contribution (dates of contributions are given in 1985); and
  • for all expenditures exceeding $50, the name and address of each payee or creditor, the purpose, and the amount of the expenditure (dates of expenditures are given in 1985).

Purpose:
Governor for a Day reports are created to account for all contributions and expenditures relating to the Governor for a Day ceremony, held during the tenure of a state senator serving as president pro tempore, to honor the senator and to recognize the senator's services to the state.

Agency Program:
In 1983, Senate Bill 1245 (68th Legislature, Regular Session) provided for the Governor for a Day ceremony, to honor the state senator holding the position of president pro tempore, for their service to the state of Texas. The person so honored is required to designate a chairman responsible for conducting the Governor for a Day ceremony, prior to the collection of any contributions or the expenditure of any funds for that purpose. The original law required a final financial report of these contributions and expenditures to be filed with the Secretary of State not later than the 60th day after the ceremony, and a supplemental report to be filed not later than the 30th day after any outstanding debt is retired. In 1997, Senate Bill 1334 (75th Legislature, Regular Session) transferred the responsibility for maintaining this filing from the Secretary of State to the Ethics Commission, including the transfer of all reports still held by the Secretary of State.

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 303.005

Arrangement: Chronological

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Governor for a Day Ceremony Reports (paper)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 433
Archival code: R
Retention: 1 year after receipt, following scanning and verification

Title: Governor for a Day Ceremony Reports (electronic)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 397
Archival code: R
Retention: PM

Archival holdings:
Texas Secretary of State, Statutory Filings Division, Statutory Documents Section: Governor for a Day reports, 1985, 1987-1994, 0.24 cubic ft.
The Archives' appraisal of the records of the Texas Ethics Commission concludes that these records can be destroyed.

Gaps?
Apparently no reports were filed in 1986 or in 1998-1999.

Appraisal Decision:
Governor for a Day reports serve to maintain accountability for the financing of a purely ceremonial function whose records are of little enduring value. The accountability reasonably expires at the end of the agency's retention period, which is one year. The informational value of these records is minimal. Therefore these records are not archival; the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission will de-accession its current holdings. The Texas Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival exemption code of "E," and should add the following statement to the Remarks Column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

Since these reports have not been imaged, the electronic version (agency item number 397) should probably be removed from the retention schedule.

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Reunion Day Ceremony Reports

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: fractional

Agency holdings:
The original paper copy is retained by the agency for 1 year after scanning onto optical disk and verification, then destroyed, according to the agency records retention schedule. However, none received by the Ethics Commission have actually been destroyed yet, nor have any been imaged. The electronic version (if created) is retained permanently. Present holdings include 0.2 cubic ft. of paper (dating 1995-1999).

Description:
These records consists of financial reports, both final and supplemental, with accompanying correspondence, detailing all contributions received and expenditures paid in conjunction with Speaker's Reunion Day (formerly called Speaker's Day) ceremonies. They date 1995-1999. Each report contains the following information:

  • a cover sheet giving the name, business address and telephone number of the designated chairman, the date of the ceremony and the date of the report, and totals of contributions and expenditures over $50 and under $50;
  • for all contributions exceeding $50, the name and address of each contributor, the amount of the contribution, and the market value of any in-kind contribution; and
  • for all expenditures exceeding $50, the name and address of each payee or creditor, the purpose, and the amount of the expenditure.

Purpose:
Speaker's Reunion Day (previously called Speaker's Day) ceremony reports are created to account for all contributions and expenditures relating to the Speaker's Reunion Day ceremony. The Speaker's Day ceremony was originally held during the tenure of a Speaker of the House of Representatives to honor the speaker and to recognize the speaker's services to the state. Now the Speaker's Reunion Day ceremony is held to honor a former member of the House of Representatives, for his or her services to the state.

Agency Program:
In 1983, Senate Bill 1245 (68th Legislature, Regular Session) provided for the Speaker's Day ceremony, to honor the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives for service to the state of Texas. In 1995, House Bill 1527 (74th Legislature, Regular Session) changed the honoree from the current speaker to a former member of the House of Representatives, and renamed the ceremony Speaker's Reunion Day. The person so honored is required to designate a chairman responsible for conducting the Speaker's Day ceremony, prior to the collection of any contributions or the expenditure of any funds for that purpose. The original law required a final financial report of these contributions and expenditures to be filed with the Secretary of State not later than the 60th day after the ceremony, and a supplemental report to be filed not later than the 30th day after any outstanding debt is retired. In 1997, Senate Bill 1334 (75th Legislature, Regular Session) transferred the responsibility for maintaining this filing from the Secretary of State to the Ethics Commission, including the transfer of all reports still held by the Secretary of State.

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 303.005

Arrangement: Chronological

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Reunion Day Ceremony Reports (paper)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 434
Archival code: R
Retention: 1 year after receipt, following scanning and verification

Title: Reunion Day Ceremony Reports (electronic)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 372
Archival code: R
Retention: PM

Archival holdings:
Texas Secretary of State, Statutory Filings Division, Statutory Documents Section: Speaker's Day reports, 1985, 1987-1993, 0.24 cubic ft.
The Archives' appraisal of the records of the Texas Ethics Commission concludes that these records can be destroyed.

Gaps?
Apparently no reports were filed in 1986 or in 1994.

Appraisal Decision:
Speaker's Reunion Day (or Speaker's Day) reports serve to maintain accountability for the financing of a purely ceremonial function whose records are of little enduring value. The accountability reasonably expires at the end of the agency's retention period, which is one year. The informational value of these records is minimal. Therefore these records are not archival; the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission will de-accession its current holdings. The Texas Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival exemption code of "E," and should add the following statement to the Remarks Column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

Since these reports have not been imaged, the electronic version (agency item number 372) should probably be removed from the retention schedule.

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Representation Before State Agencies

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: 24 cubic ft.

Agency holdings:
20 cubic ft. in the agency, plus an additional 72 cubic ft. at the State Records Center. Retained by the agency for 3 months, then an additional 3 ¾ years in the State Records Center, for a total of 4 years (according to the agency's records retention schedule). However, present holdings date 1991-1997, and 1999 (1991-1997 at the State Records Center, March-October 1999 at the agency).

Description:
These records consist of quarterly reports filed by state agencies with the Ethics Commission, listing individuals who appear before or personally contact those state agencies "on behalf of an individual, firm, partnership, corporation, or association about a matter before that agency." They date 1991-1997 and 1999. These reports contain the names and addresses of both the individual registered and the person or entity who is being represented, plus "a statement on whether the registrant has received or expects to receive any money, thing of value, or financial benefit for the appearance or contact."

Purpose:
These reports are created by state agencies, and indexed and maintained for four years by the Ethics Commission, as required by law. The purpose of this filing is similar to that requiring the registration of lobbyists: to keep open to public scrutiny the personal contacts made by persons acting as agents or representatives for other persons and entities concerning matters within a state agency's jurisdiction. Public scrutiny of the appropriate records encourages high ethical standards and discourages influence-peddling.

Agency Program:
In 1957, House Bill 4 (55th Legislature, 1st Called Session) required all state agencies to report to the Secretary of State all individuals who appeared before them. In 1997, Senate Bill 1333 (75th Legislature, Regular Session) transferred the responsibility for receiving and indexing this filing from the Secretary of State to the Ethics Commission. For the purposes of this law, "individual" is defined as "a member of the legislature, any other state officer, and a state employee." The law requires that "an individual who appears before a state agency or contacts in person an officer or employee of a state agency on behalf of an individual, firm, partnership, corporation, or association about a matter before that agency shall register with the state agency: (1) the name and address of the registrant; (2) the name and address of the person on whose behalf the appearance or contact is made; and (3) a statement on whether the registrant has received or expects to receive any money, thing of value, or financial benefit for the appearance or contact." Each state agency is in turn required to file a report of these contacts with the Texas Ethics Commission, on a quarterly basis. "The Texas Ethics Commission shall index each report and keep the report on file for four years after the date the report is filed." The 1997 law transferred not only the duties of this filing, but also the reports for the preceding four years, from the Secretary of State to the Ethics Commission.

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Sections 2004.002 and 2004.004; also Section 572.052 and 572.054

Arrangement: Numerical, by numbers assigned by the Secretary of State

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access?
The Ethics Commission has an index matching the number to the specific agency's filings.

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were also checked for the Statutory Documents Section of the Texas Secretary of State, and the following were found:

Registrations/representations before state agencies, 1973-1988, 26 cubic ft. (approved October 10, 1986; November 6, 1989; October 15, 1990; and September 30, 1992)

Publications based on records: None

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Representation Before State Agencies
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 274
Archival code: R
Retention: 3 mo. + 3 ¾ = 4

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Gaps?
1957-1990 and 1998. The earlier reports have apparently been disposed of, following the retention period prescribed by the law.

Appraisal Decision:
Maintaining quarterly reports of persons who appear before state agencies is a significant function of the Ethics Commission, and contributes to the primary purpose of encouraging the highest ethical standards in state government. The four years established by law is a sufficient retention period for this accountability. The long-term informational value of those lists is, however, minimal, especially considering their large volume. The minutes of state agency board meetings usually contain the names of significant attendees and participants. The Ethics Commission has opted not to image these reports. The State Archivist repeatedly approved the destruction of these reports (15 years' worth) when they were maintained by the Secretary of State, who also did not microfilm them. For all of these reasons, this series is not archival. The Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival exemption code of "E," and should add the following statement to the Remarks Column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Lobbyist Social Security Information Form

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: 1 cubic ft.

Agency holdings:
2 cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency for 2 years after receipt, then destroyed. Present holdings date 1998-1999.

Description:
These records consist of lobbyist Social Security information forms, which match the names and addresses of persons registered as lobbyists in the state of Texas with their Social Security numbers. They date 1998-1999.

A related series, reviewed earlier in this appraisal report, is State Lobby Reports (agency item numbers 427 and 406).

Purpose:
These files are created and maintained separately by the Ethics Commission to comply with the provision in the Texas Family Code for the suspension of licenses for failure to pay child support or comply with subpoenas.

Agency Program:
Chapter 232 of the Texas Family Code was added in 1995 (House Bill 433 and House Bill 1863, 74th Legislature, Regular Session) to provide for the suspension of licenses of individuals who fail to pay child support. The Texas Ethics Commission was specifically listed as one of a large number of regulatory agencies affected by the act, which stated that a child support agency (a Title IV-D agency) or an obligee may file a petition to suspend a license of such a person. The law further provided that Title IV-D agencies "may request from each licensing authority the name, address, social security number, licensing renewal date, and other identifying information for each individual who holds, applies for, or renews a license issued by the authority." By implication, persons who register as lobbyists with the Texas Ethics Commission fall into the category of licensees.

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Family Code, Chapter 232 (especially Section 232.015)

Arrangement: Alphabetical

Access Constraints:
This series is confidential under the provisions of V.T.C.A., Family Code, Section 231.302(electronic): "Except as provided by Subsection (d), a social security number provided under this section is confidential and may be disclosed only for the purposes of responding to a request for information from an agency operating under the provisions of Part A or D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sections 601 et seq. and 651 et seq)."

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies:
A tape copy of the data is sent to the Attorney General's Office.

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Lobbyist Social Security Information Form
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 423
Archival code: R
Retention: 2

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Gaps? 1995-1997

Appraisal Decision:
This series of lobbyist Social Security information forms is created and maintained to serve a very specific legal purpose, to aid the Attorney General in the prosecution of "deadbeat" parents. It serves no function peculiar to the Ethics Commission. The information in this series is confidential at any rate. It is not archival. The Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival exemption code of "E," and should add the following statement to the Remarks Column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Correspondence - Administrative

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: fractional

Agency holdings:
0.5 cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency for 3 years, plus an additional 3 years at the State Records Center, according to the agency records retention schedule. None are currently at the State Records Center, however. Present holdings date 1992-1999.

Description:
These records consist of incoming and outgoing correspondence, both paper and electronic, pertaining to the formulation, planning, implementation, interpretation, modification or redefinition of the programs, services, or projects of the Texas Ethics Commission and the administrative regulations, policies, and procedures that govern them. They date 1992-1999. Correspondents consist of persons required to file documents with the Texas Ethics Commission. Typical examples of the content of this correspondence include the following: explanations that the filers used the wrong forms, letters explaining future filing requirements, letters concerning the legal basis of requirements for filing, etc.

Purpose:
Administrative correspondence is created during the course of normal business of the Ethics Commission, and is retained to document communications related to that business.

Agency Program:
The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 571

Arrangement: By program/project, and chronological within each program/project.

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and the following was found for a related series:

General correspondence, 1987-1988, 1 cubic ft. (approved FY 1992)

Publications based on records: None

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Correspondence - Administrative
Series item number: 1.1.007
Agency item number: 407
Archival code: R
Retention: 3 + 3 = 6

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Gaps? None

Appraisal Decision:
An agency's administrative correspondence is usually archival, unless the significant agency functions covered by this correspondence are documented elsewhere in archival records. The examples provided by the staff of the Ethics Commission seem to be more in the nature of general correspondence (which is never archival). However, they do maintain a separate series titled General correspondence, plus legal correspondence (also a separate series). Furthermore, the volume of administrative correspondence is rather small. Therefore we will declare it archival, with the possibility of reappraisal after it is transferred to the State Archives. The Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival code of "A." The Ethics Commission should then transfer to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission all paper records in this series that have fulfilled their retention period of six years (i.e., 1992-1993), and should continue to do so in the future at regular intervals (perhaps annually).

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Legal Opinions and Advice

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: 3 cubic ft.

Agency holdings:
31 cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency so long as administratively valuable. Present holdings date 1992-1999.

Description:
These records consist of the incoming and outgoing correspondence of the Legal Department of the Texas Ethics Commission, with persons under the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission, requesting and giving legal opinions and advice. They date 1992-1999. Typically, the requestor asks questions such as when a campaign finance report is due, whether it is permissible to give or receive a particular gift, what the requirements are for political advertising, whether a particular type of employment violates the revolving door law, etc. Frequently, the legal staff's response will also refer the requestor to a commission publication.

A related record series is Ethics opinions (agency item numbers 431/319), which has a separate Record Series Review in this appraisal report.

Purpose:
This series is created and maintained to assist the Ethics Commission in the administration and enforcement of the various laws under its jurisdiction, and to inform the filers as well as the general public concerning the requirements of these laws.

Agency Program:
The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 571

Arrangement: Chronological by year, then alphabetical by last name of correspondent.

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Legal Opinions and Advice
Series item number: 1.1.014
Agency item number: 409
Archival code: R
Retention: AV

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Gaps? None

Appraisal Decision:
Legal opinions and advice (as distinct from Ethics opinions) involve questions that have clear answers in the law, and can mostly be answered by consulting the various Ethics Commission publications. (This assessment is provided by general counsel Karen Lundquist, executive director Tom Harrison, and director of advisory opinions Sarah Woelk, who were consulted on this series.) Significant legal issues are generally the subject of ethics opinions, which is a separate records series; and this appraisal report has determined that published ethics opinions are archival. None of the examples provided by the staff of the Ethics Commission lead me to believe that this correspondence is of enduring historical value. Therefore the series Legal opinions and advice is not archival. The Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival exemption code of "E," and should add the following statement to the Remarks Column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Agency Rules, Policies, and Procedures

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: 0.2 cubic ft.

Agency holdings:
0.2 cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency for 3 years after being superseded. Present holdings date 1992-1999.

Description:
These records consist of publications that contain the rules and regulations adopted by the Texas Ethics Commission, explaining the procedures and enforcement capabilities of the Ethics Commission. They date 1992-1999.

Purpose:
These records are created partly as a result of the rulemaking process. The rules and regulations are proposed and adopted by the Ethics Commission according to the requirements of the Texas Administrative Procedures Act.

These records are created to inform the affected parties concerning the practices and procedures followed by the Ethics Commission and its employees, to ensure full compliance with the laws administered and enforced by the commission.

Agency Program:
The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor. The commission has the authority to adopt rules and regulations to enable it to fulfil its legislative mandates.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 571 (especially Section 571.062)

See also the Texas Administrative Procedure Act (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 2001)

Arrangement: Chronological, by most current publication

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records:
Texas Ethics Commission Rules (published in the Texas Register, the Texas Administrative Code, and as separate publications).

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Agency Rules, Policies, and Procedures
Series item number: 1.1.025
Agency item number: 332
Archival code: R
Retention: US + 3

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Texas Document Collection holdings:
Texas Ethics Commission rules, 1998
Texas Ethics Commission rules, 1995 -- also subdivided into:

Chapter 6, Organization and administration
Chapter 8, Advisory opinions
Chapter 10, Ethics training programs
Chapter 12, Sworn complaints
Chapter 18, General rules concerning reports
Chapter 20, Reporting political contributions and expenditures
Chapter 22, Restrictions on contributions and expenditures
Chapter 24, Restrictions on contributions and expenditures applicable to corporations and labor organizations
Chapter 26, Political and legislative advertising
Chapter 28, Reports by a candidate for Speaker of the House of Representatives
Chapter 50, Legislative salaries & per diem

Appendix to lobby guide: rules and statutes, 1994
Rules adopted November 18, 1993 : commission rules
Rules affecting local filing authorities : Texas Ethics Commission rules adopted November 18, 1993

Gaps? None

Appraisal Decision:
Agency rules, policies, and procedures are obviously important and should be permanently documented. However, the Texas Register section of the Office of the Secretary of State permanently maintains the original public inspection files of all state agency rules (Agency Item Number 50.60 on the records retention schedule of the Secretary of State). These rules (both proposed and adopted) are also published in the Texas Register, and adopted rules are published in the Texas Administrative Code. In addition the Ethics Commission has published its own rules, often divided into small units concerning specific issues. There is no need to designate this series archival, since the Secretary of State copy is a permanent record and because the rules are published in numerous formats, both print and on-line. The Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival exemption code of "E," and should add the following statement to the Remarks Column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Customer Surveys

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: 0.25 cubic ft.

Agency holdings:
1 cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency so long as administratively valuable. Present holdings date 1996 and 1998.

Description:
These records consist of surveys returned by the clients of the Ethics Commission rating the agency's performance, submitted every two years. So far these date 1996 and 1998. The clients include both filers and "payors" (researchers paying for copies of reports). The 1998 survey had 5 questions.

Purpose:
Customer surveys are created to evaluate agency performance on its services, for the purpose of improving those services.

Agency Program:
The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 571

Arrangement: None

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and the following was found for related series:

Reports, studies, and surveys - raw data, 1984-1987, 9 cubic ft. (approved FY 1994)

Publications based on records:
An analysis of the survey results is inserted in the agency's Strategic Plan.

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Customer Surveys
Series item number: 1.1.038
Agency item number: 330
Archival code: R
Retention: AV

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Texas Document Collection holdings:
Texas Ethics Commission, Strategic Plans, 1996 and 1998

Gaps?
Customer surveys began in 1996, and are conducted only every two years.

Appraisal Decision:
Conducting surveys of user satisfaction is a frequent practice of state agencies, and hopefully leads to better performance. However, the raw data is definitely not archival. Those survey results have in fact been published in the agency's Strategic Plan, an archival series. The Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival exemption code of "E," and should add the following statement to the Remarks Column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Speeches and Papers

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Contact: Sarah Woelk, Director of Advisory Opinions

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: fractional

Agency holdings:
0.1 cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency for 2 years, according to the agency's records retention schedule. Present holdings date 1993-1995, however.

Description:
These records consist of conference papers delivered by Texas Ethics Commission staff members to the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL), a national organization, dating 1993-1995. Currently this series contains three papers delivered by Legal Counsel Karen Lundquist and Director of Advisory Opinions Sarah Woelk, on the topics of lobby law, gift restrictions, and revolving door and privatization in Texas.

Although the Remarks column of the Ethics Commission's records retention schedule explains these records as "original notes or text of speeches delivered in conjunction with agency work," it was determined during appraisal that most of the speeches are actually given in training sessions, and are therefore included in the Record Series Review for Training materials (agency item number 29).

Purpose:
The records are created to inform interested persons in professional conferences of the legal work on ethics issues accomplished in Texas, and to elicit comments and discussion concerning those issues in a free exchange of ideas and experiences nation-wide.

Agency Program:
The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Sections 571.001-571.177

Arrangement: Chronological

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records:
The Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) makes (or used to make) these papers available upon request.

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Speeches and papers
Series item number: 1.1.040
Agency item number: 307
Archival code: R
Retention: 2

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Gaps? None

Appraisal Decision:
The conference papers being reviewed in this series concern issues which are documented in other archival series produced by the Texas Ethics Commission, particularly Published ethics opinions, and possibly also Correspondence - administrative and Training materials. The papers are also apparently available from the national association that was their venue, the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL). Although all of the proceedings of these national conferences would be of interest in placing the work of the Texas Ethics Commission in perspective, the conference papers in this series concern only Texas, and are therefore to some extent redundant. Keeping them permanently in the holdings of the Texas State Archives would be merely for convenience sake. For all of these reasons, these records are not archival. The Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival exemption code of "E," and should add the following statement to the Remarks Column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Reports and Studies (Non-Fiscal)

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: fractional

Agency holdings:
0.5 cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency for 3 years, according to the agency's records retention schedule. However, present holdings date 1995-1999.

Description:
These records consist of a risk management file on the annual loss summary reports, dating September 1, 1995-August 31, 1999. Risk management is intended to reduce the agency's property and liability losses, including workers' compensation losses.

Purpose:
These records are created to document the direct administrative cost of the agency, ultimately to reduce the agency's property and liability losses, including workers' compensation losses.

Agency Program:
Risk management in Texas state agencies is now coordinated by the State Office of Risk Management, created in 1997. (V.C.T.A., Labor Code, Chapter 412)

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 571

Arrangement: Chronological

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies:
The Risk Management Annual Report on Administrative Cost FY 96 is currently on file at the State Office of Risk Management (SORM).

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and the following was found for related series:

Reports, studies, and surveys - raw data, 1984-1987, 9 cubic ft. (approved FY 1994)

Publications based on records:
State Office of Risk Management, Biennial Report to the 76th Legislature, Appendix E: Loss Summary by Agency and By Type for Fiscal Years 1996-1997 (no longer available online as of June 2006).

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Reports and Studies (Non-Fiscal)
Series item number: 1.1.067
Agency item number: 298
Archival code: R
Retention: 3

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Texas Document Collection holdings:
None

Gaps? None

Appraisal Decision:
Risk management is a common practice among both public and private organizations, so much so that a separate state agency was created in 1997 to coordinate the risk management programs of Texas state agencies. Summaries of annual losses are published. Any documentation of this issue should be addressed in the records of the State Office of Risk Management, not at the individual agency level. This series is therefore not archival. The Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival exemption code of "E," and should add the following statement to the Remarks Column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Publication Development Files

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? Yes
Replaced by: Not applicable

Ongoing record series? No

Agency holdings:
1 cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency so long as administratively valuable. Present holdings date 1993-1995.

Description:
These records consist of copies of the Texas Ethics Commission newsletter, 1993-1995, which is no longer published.

Purpose:
This series was created to assist the commission in the accomplishment of its legislative mandates. The newsletter provided updates and explanations of the laws within the commission's jurisdiction.

Agency Program:
The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Sections 571.062

Arrangement: Chronological

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records:
Texas Ethics Commission Newsletter, 1993-1995

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Publication Development Files
Series item number: 1.3.002
Agency item number: 302
Archival code: R
Retention: AV

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Texas Documents Collection holdings:
None of the agency's newsletters are found in the Texas Documents Collection.

Gaps? None; the newsletter has not been published since 1995.

Appraisal Decision:
The series "Publication development files" has been designated for archival review on the Texas State Records Retention Schedule to prevent the loss of any significant original art work and/or photographs. The series as described by the Ethics Commission does not contain such material.

The publication for which it was designated, an agency newsletter, is no longer published. Documentation of the issues dealt with in the newsletter are assuredly found in the rules, the ethics advisory opinions, the minutes, and perhaps other series which are either archival or are widely disseminated as publications.

For both of these reasons, this series is not archival. The Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival exemption code of "E," and should add the following statement to the Remarks Column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Building Plans and Specifications

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: fractional; none since 1996

Agency holdings:
3 cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency for the life of the asset. Present holdings date 1996.

Description:
These records consist of copies of building plans and specifications of the 10th floor of the Sam Houston State Office Building in Austin, Texas. They date 1996.

Purpose:
These records are maintained to assist the Ethics Commission staff in arranging furniture and equipment.

Agency Program:
The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 571

Arrangement: Not applicable

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies:
The General Services Commission retains the record copy of these records. The records retention schedule of the General Services Commission lists the following record series, requiring archival review ("R"):

SS-26 (LA) Building plans and specifications.

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Building Plans and Specifications
Series item number: 5.2.003
Agency item number: 385
Archival code: R
Retention: LA

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Gaps? None; building plans have not changed since 1996.

Appraisal Decision:
These building plans and specifications of the 10th floor of the Sam Houston State Office Building are not the record copies, which are held by the General Services Commission. They are therefore not archival. The Ethics Commission should replace the archival review code of "R" with the archival exemption code of "E," and should add the following statement to the Remarks Column: "Archival review code removed subsequent to appraisal by the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, May 3, 2000."

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Strategic Plans

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: fractional

Agency holdings:
Fractional cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency for 6 years, beginning September 1 of odd-numbered calendar years. Present holdings date 1992-1998.

Description:
These records consist of all of the Strategic Plans produced so far by the Texas Ethics Commission, dating 1992-1998. Strategic plans are long-range planning tools prepared biennially by the agency in which the goals and objectives of the agency are presented along with performance measures for each. Plans contain a mission statement, a statement of philosophy, an external/internal assessment of the agency, and the goals of the agency. Each goal contains objectives, outcome measures, strategies, output measures, efficiency measures, and explanatory measures for measuring and achieving that goal. Also present in the strategic plans are customer surveys with results, and the agency organizational chart.

Purpose:
Strategic plans are created as long-range planning tools prepared by the agency, setting forth goals and objectives of the agency over a multi-year period. Strategic plans are prepared in accordance with V.T.C.A., Government Code, Sections 2054.095 and 2056.002.

Agency Program:
The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

The Ethics Commission is currently organized into five divisions: Enforcement, Disclosure Filings, Advisory Opinions and Education, Administration, and Computer Services. There are 33 FTE employees.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 571

Arrangement: Chronological

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Suggested series from state Records Retention Schedule:
Title: Strategic Plans
Series item number: 1.1.055
Agency item number: to be assigned
Archival code: A
Retention: AC + 6

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Texas Documents Collection holdings:
Strategic Plans covering the following periods: 1992-1998 (published in 1992), 1995-1999 (published in 1994), and 1998-2003 (published in 1998).

Gaps?
The Texas Documents Collection is missing the Strategic Plan for 1997-2001 (published in 1996).

Appraisal Decision:
Strategic plans document the long-range planning activities of the agency and are considered archival. The Ethics Commission should add this record series to their records retention schedule, with an archival code of "A," and should include the following note in the Remarks column: "The archival requirement will be met by sending required copies to the Texas State Publications Depository Program, Texas State Library and Archives Commission (13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 3.4(1)(C))."

Since the Texas Documents Collection is apparently missing the Strategic Plan for 1997-2001 (published in 1996), the Texas Ethics Commission should forward a copy of that particular report to fill the gap. Questions concerning where to send it, and how many copies, should be addressed to Coby Condrey, Texas State Publications Depository Program, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, telephone 463-5434.

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Filer Notebook Lists

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? Yes
Replaced by: Not applicable

Ongoing record series? No

Agency holdings:
8 cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency permanently. Present holdings date 1984-1992.

Description:
These records consist of notebooks listing all ethics reports submitted by current and previous filers, 1984-1992. The information in the notebooks includes name of filer (or name of Political Action Committee), account number, office held, type of document, due date of document, file date of document, recorded date of document, and comments.

Purpose:
These filer notebook lists were created to assist in determining whether a filer did indeed file their reports during the time period 1984-1992, prior to the functioning of the Ethics Commission.

Agency Program:
The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 571

Arrangement: Alphabetical and numerical (cross-referenced)

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? Not applicable

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Filer notebook lists
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 224
Archival code: None
Retention: PM

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Gaps?
This series does not document any ethics filings prior to 1984, or after 1992 (when the Ethics Commission began its work).

Appraisal Decision:
This record series serves as an important index to almost a decade of ethics filings, most of which have not been transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. It also serves as proof of these filings. Since some of these filings have been determined to be archival, this series of filer notebook lists is also archival. The Ethics Commission should add the archival code of "A" to this series. So long as they remain accessible to the public at the Ethics Commission, and with a retention period of permanent (PM), there is no need to make copies for the State Archives. But should the Ethics Commission ever decide to reduce the retention period, or should they ever be imaged, then the paper originals should be transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Board of Pardons and Paroles (Registration and Summary Reports)

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? Yes; this function was assumed by the Pardon and Paroles Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Replaced by: Not applicable

Ongoing record series? No

Agency holdings:
7 cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency until microfilmed, then destroyed and microfilm is retained permanently, according to the agency records retention schedule. However, these reports have not been microfilmed. Present holdings date 1993-1995.

Description:
These records consist of registration and representation summary forms filed with the Texas Ethics Commission between 1993 and 1995 by persons who represented prison inmates for compensation. Those registration forms include the following information: the full name and address of the registrant (who must be an attorney licensed in Texas), his normal business, business telephone number, and business address. The forms also include the full name of any former member or employee of the Board of Pardons and Paroles or of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, or any former employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, with whom the registrant is associated, employs or is employed by, or maintains a contractural relationship to provide services. Finally, the forms include the full name and institutional identification number of each inmate the registrant represented in the previous calendar year; and the amount of compensation the person received for representing each inmate.

Purpose:
These records were created to comply with now-repealed Article 42.18, Section 11 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which required that the registration and representation forms be filed with the Ethics Commission. The purpose of the registration was to place public scrutiny on all associations (especially financial associations) maintained between attorneys representing prisoners and persons associated with the Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Department of Criminal Justice, thus encouraging high ethical standards.

Note: As of January 1, 1996, the Ethics Commission no longer has any responsibility concerning these registration and summary reports. The documents are currently filed with the Pardons and Paroles Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Agency Program:
In 1993, Senate Bill 532, 73rd Legislature, Regular Session began to require attorneys representing Texas prison inmates for compensation to register with the Texas Ethics Commission. In 1995, Senate Bill 452, 74th Legislature, Regular Session replaced the Ethics Commission with the Division of Pardons and Paroles of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as the entity receiving this filing. Then in 1997, Senate Bill 898, 75th Legislature, Regular Session repealed Article 42.18 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, and replaced its provisions with Sections 508.081-508.086 of the Texas Government Code.

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 571
V.T.C.A., Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 42.18, Section 11 (repealed, replaced by:)
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 508.085

Arrangement: Alphabetical

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies:
Now filed with the Pardons and Paroles Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. However, this series does not appear on the one page devoted to this Division's records in the most recent recertification of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's records retention schedule. Perhaps it is somewhere else in that schedule? Laura Saegert searched the retention schedule and could not determine where it belonged either.

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Board of Pardons and Paroles (registration and summary reports) (paper)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 435
Archival code: None
Retention: AC (after microfiliming)

Title: Board of Pardons and Paroles (registration and summary reports) (microfilm)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 312
Archival code: None
Retention: PM

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Gaps? None

Appraisal Decision:
Board of Pardons and Paroles registration and summary reports should arguably have been transferred to the Pardons and Paroles Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in 1995, when that office assumed the responsibilities for this filing. The legislation was silent on this matter, however; nor did it specify a retention period. As an obsolete series of the Ethics Commission, the informational value of these records is diminished by their being so limited in time (covering only the first three years of the filing). They have not been microfilmed by or for the Ethics Commission. The informational value is minimal in any case. Documentation of which attorneys represented which inmates is probably located in the inmates' files. The relationships of these attorneys to employees of the Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Department of Criminal Justice, and the amounts of compensation received, have short-term importance for public accountability, but carry no long-term historical value. Therefore these are not archival records. Since there was no archival review code of "R" on this series to begin with, there is no need for the Texas Ethics Commission to change the archival column. Also, since these reports have not been microfilmed, the microfilm version (agency item number 312) should probably be removed from the retention schedule.

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Ethics Opinions

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: 1 cubic ft.

Agency holdings:
22 cubic ft. in the agency, plus 5 floppy disks (backups). Paper copies retained by the agency until scanned and verified, then destroyed, and the electronic version maintained permanently, according to the agency's records retention schedule. None of the paper copies have been destroyed, however. The records have been entered into the agency's database, but they are not scanned onto optical disks. Present holdings date 1992-2000.

Description:
These records consist of over 400 legal ethics advisory opinions issued by the Texas Ethics Commission, 1992-2000, plus the requests for opinions themselves, and all related documentation. These written opinions concern any of the ethics laws enforced by the commission.

A related record series is Legal opinions and advice (agency item number 409), which has a separate Record Series Review in this appraisal report.

Purpose:
These records are created to comply with Sections 571.091 and 571.095 of the Texas Government Code, which requires the Ethics Commission to prepare written opinions, number and categorize each opinion issued, and annually compile a summary of the opinions.

Agency Program:
From the beginning of its existence, one of the fundamental duties of the Texas Ethics Commission has been to issue ethics advisory opinions. If a person subject to one of the ethics laws requests (in writing) an opinion on any of those laws "in regard to a specified existing or hypothetical factual situation," the Ethics Commission is required to issue such a written opinion. The name of the person requesting the opinion is confidential. The Ethics Commission may also issue a written advisory opinion on its own initiative. Furthermore, "the commission shall number and categorize each advisory opinion issued and annually shall compile a summary of its opinions in a single reference document."

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

The Ethics Commission was preceded by a Public Servant Standards of Conduct Advisory Committee, created in 1981 to expire in 1983 (House Bill 3, 67th Legislature, Regular Session); and an 11-member State Ethics Advisory Commission (House Bill 2154, 68th Legislature, Regular Session, 1983), which issued ethics advisory opinions. In addition, the House Ethics Committee (of the Texas Legislature) was authorized to issue ethics advisory opinions, some of which were summarized in the Texas Register in 1983 and 1984.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Sections 571.091 and 571.093-571.095
1 Texas Administrative Code, Section 8.19

Arrangement: Numerical, which is also chronological

Access Constraints:
Names and addresses of persons asking for ethics advisory opinions are confidential, as specifically mandated by the enabling legislation (V.C.T.A., Government Code, Section 571.093). Therefore the Ethics Commission staff redacts names and addresses of those persons before they release the records to the public; the original, unredacted records are kept internally. By law, the person affected may file a written waiver of his or her confidentiality.

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access?
Indexes to Ethics Advisory Opinions, 1992, 1993, 1992-1994 (cumulative), 1995, 1996, 1992-1997 (cumulative).
Also online: Searchable Database of Ethics Advisory Opinions, 1992-2006 (1-470): (http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/legal/AT-eaosquery.html)

Texas Ethics Commission: An Inventory of Ethics Commission Records at the Texas State Archives, 1979-2003, bulk 1992-1994, 46 cubic ft. Online at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30035/tsl-30035.html see series 3, Texas State Ethics Advisory Commission opinions, 1984, 1986, bulk 1984, fractional

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records:
Ethics Advisory Opinions, Number 1 thru 426, 1992-2000.
Indexes to Ethics Advisory Opinions, 1992, 1993, 1992-1994 (cumulative), 1995, 1996, 1992-1997 (cumulative).

Summaries of Ethics Advisory Opinion Requests (AORs) as well as Ethics Advisory Opinions (EAOs) are also published in the Texas Register. For pre-Ethics Commission opinion requests and opinions, please note the following:

The Texas Register published summaries of the following Advisory Opinion Requests (in 1983, 1984, and 1986):

House Ethics Committee:

AOR-68-1 thru 5 (in 1983) and
AOR 68-6 thru 7 (in 1984);

State Ethics Advisory Commission:

AOR-1983-1 (in 1983)
AOR-1984-1 thru 29, 35 thru 37, and 39 thru 40 (in 1984)
AOR-1986-1 and 2 (in 1986)

The Texas Register published summaries of the following Advisory Opinions (all in 1984):

House Ethics Committee: AO-68-2, and 4 thru 7
State Ethics Advisory Commission: AO-1983-1 and 2, and 6 thru 27

Internet pages based on records:
A searchable database:

(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/legal/AT-eaosquery.html)

Ethics Commission Advisory Opinions, 1992-2000 (1 thru 470).
(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/legal/opn1.html) thru
(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/legal/opn10.htm)
and
(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/opinions/002.html) thru
(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/opinions/050.html)

State Ethics Advisory Commission Opinions, 1984 (1984-1 thru 1984-27):
(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/legal/seac.html)

Cumulative Digest of Ethics Advisory Opinions, 1992-2006 (1-470):
(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/legal/digest_a.html)
(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/legal/digest_b.html)
(http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/legal/digest_c.html)

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Ethics opinions (paper)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 431
Archival code: None
Retention: AC (after scanning and verification)

Title: Ethics opinions (electronic)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 319
Archival code: None
Retention: PM

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission at time of appraisal.

As of June 2006:
Texas Ethics Commission, Texas State Ethics Advisory Commission opinions, 1984, 1986, bulk 1984, fractional. Online finding aid at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30035/tsl-30035.html (series 3)

Texas Documents Collection holdings:
State Ethics Advisory Commission Opinions, 1984 (1984-15 thru 24, 26, and 27)
State Ethics Advisory Commission Opinions, 1986 (1986-1 and 2)
Ethics Advisory Opinions, Number 1 thru 413, 1992-1999.
Indexes to Ethics Advisory Opinions, 1992, 1993, 1992-1994 (cumulative), 1995, 1996, 1992-1997 (cumulative).

Gaps?
State Ethics Advisory Commission Opinions:

AO-1983-1 thru 2, and 6 thru 27
AO-1984-1 thru 14 and 25)

State Ethics Advisory Commission Requests for Opinions:

AOR-1983-1
AOR-1984-1 thru 14, 35 thru 37, and 39 thru 40

House Ethics Committee Opinions: AO-68-2, and 4 thru 7 (in 1984)
House Ethics Committee Requests for Opinions: AOR-68-1 thru 7 (in 1983-1984)

Appraisal Decision:
Issuing Ethics Advisory Opinions, as well as indexing those opinions, represent two of the most important functions of the Texas Ethics Commission. These opinions have been published in full, from 1984 (opinions of the State Ethics Advisory Commission), and from 1992-2000, both in print publication form and on-line. Those published opinions do not include the full requests for the opinions, which probably accounts for the difference in bulk between the records (with all necessary folders, 22 cubic ft.) and the final publications (a couple of cubic ft.). However, the publication suffices to document this function. (This is especially so because the requests would have to be redacted before being released.) Karen Lundquist (general counsel), Tom Harrison (executive director), and Sarah Woelk (director of advisory opinions) were consulted on this, and all concur with my assessment.

Therefore, although the full series is not archival, the opinions themselves are archival. The Ethics Commission should break this series into two series to account for the difference in the archival code, as well as the difference in the security code. Perhaps the first series can be renamed "Ethics opinions files," or perhaps "Ethics opinions requests." The Ethics Commission should not give any archival code to this series, either the paper version (431) or the electronic version (319). The security code should be changed to "C" (for confidential), with an explanation in the Remarks column citing the appropriate law, as in the "Access Constraints" field above.

The second series, which is archival, could be called "Published ethics opinions." The Ethics Commission should add the archival code of "A" to the paper version of this series (to be assigned a unique agency item number). It should then include the following statement in the Remarks column: "The archival requirement will be met by sending required copies of ethics opinions to the Texas State Publications Depository Program, Texas State Library and Archives Commission (13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 3.3)." The security code for this new series, of course, should remain "O" (for open).

Concerning the electronic version of this series (agency item number 319), it will be the responsibility of the Ethics Commission to comply with 13 Texas Administrative Code, Section 6.97, on the Retention of Electronic Records. The paper opinions are considered archival, but not the electronic database, however useful. Since there was no archival review code of "R" on this series to begin with, there is no need for the Texas Ethics Commission to change the archival column.

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Sworn Complaint Orders - Non-Confidential

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: 1.5 cubic ft.

Agency holdings:
11 cubic ft. in the agency. Paper copies are scanned and verified, and retained by the agency 2 years after commission determination, then destroyed, and the optical disks are maintained permanently, according to the agency's records retention schedule. None of the reports are imaged at this time, however, and therefore none of the paper copies have been destroyed. Present holdings date 1992-1999.

Description:
These records consist of orders issued by the Ethics Commission after it considers a sworn complaint and finds that a violation of ethics laws occurred that is more than technical or minor ("de minimis"). They date March 1992-October 1999. The records being appraised in this report are only these non-confidential sworn complaint orders.

A related series would be Complaint records (agency item number 398), which are confidential (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 571.140). Those records include "proceedings at a preliminary review or informal hearing performed by the commission, a sworn complaint, and documents and any additional evidence relating to the processing, preliminary review, informal hearing, or resolution of a sworn complaint or motion." Because of their confidentiality, the Complaint records themselves are not being reviewed for archival value.

Purpose:
To comply with Section 571.135 of the Government Code, which requires the Ethics Commission to keep information about each complaint filed with the commission.

Agency Program:
Senate Bill 248, 73rd Legislature, Regular Session, 1993 requires the Ethics Commission to "keep an information file about each sworn or other complaint filed with the commission," and to notify the complainant and the respondent (if any) in writing at stated intervals concerning the status of a complaint. If, after a preliminary review, an informal hearing, and a formal hearing, the commission rules that a violation of ethics laws has been proven, then "the commission by motion shall issue: a final decision stating the resolution of the formal hearing; and a written report stating in detail the commission's findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation of criminal referral or imposition of a civil penalty, if any."

Concerning the confidentiality of complaint records, the law states that "proceedings at a preliminary review or informal hearing performed by the commission, a sworn complaint, and documents and any additional evidence relating to the processing, preliminary review, informal hearing, or resolution of a sworn complaint or motion are confidential and may not be disclosed unless entered into the record of a formal hearing or a judicial proceeding, except that a document or statement that was previously public information remains public information. (b) An order issued by the commission after the completion of a preliminary review or an informal hearing determining that a violation other than a technical or de minimis violation has occurred is not confidential."

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Sections 571.121-571.140 (especially Sections 571.135 and 571.140)

Arrangement: Chronological

Access Constraints:
None; by definition, no confidential documents are included in this series.

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records: None

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Sworn complaint orders - non-confidential (paper)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 432
Archival code: None
Retention: AC + 2 years (after commission determination, following scanning and verification)

Title: Sworn complaint orders - non-confidential (electronic)
Series item number: 1.1
Agency item number: 275
Archival code: None
Retention: PM

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Gaps? None

Appraisal Decision:
Non-confidential sworn complaint orders document the important issue of enforcement of state ethics laws. Since the series itself filters out any complaints that are merely technical or minor, what are left are almost by definition significant. The minutes of the commission do not seem to adequately document complaints. This series is, for all these reasons, archival. These records have not yet been imaged. The Ethics Commission should add the archival code of "A" to that series representing the paper originals (agency item number 432). When they are imaged, the paper originals should then be transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission at the end of the retention period (two years after commission determination, following scanning and verification). If the commission has no plan to image these records, then the retention period should be revised.

Since these records have not been imaged, the electronic version (agency item number 275) should probably be removed from the retention schedule.

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Record Series Review
Series Title: Training Materials

Agency: Texas Ethics Commission

Contact: Sarah Woelk, Director of Advisory Opinions

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes
Annual accumulation: 1 cubic ft.

Agency holdings:
11.5 cubic ft. in the agency. Retained by the agency for one year after they are superseded, according to the agency's records retention schedule. Present holdings date 1992-1999, however.

Description:
These records consist of manuals and materials developed by the Texas Ethics Commission for training, dating 1992-1999. The kinds of training materials include handouts, brochures, and presentation notes. Ethics Commission staff members prepare between 5 and 17 separate educational materials each year, in order to make between 45 and 100 educational presentations each year.

Sarah Woelk, Director of Advisory Opinions, does a lot of the speaking/training at other state agencies, for which she makes "telegram-style" notes for herself. She also often produces customized handouts for training sessions, usually drafted specifically for the purpose of educating the group of state officers or employees that she is talking to. In addition, the staff produces a number of brochures that provide information about the laws under the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission. They use those brochures as training materials, and also send them out to anyone asking for information.

There is also a plan for producing a video to help in training for the mandatory electronic filing of campaign reports.

A related series is Speeches and papers (Item number 307), which is coded for archival review ("R") and is appraised in a separate Records Series Review in this report.

Purpose:
The records are created to provide a program of ethics training as required by law, to state employees and to members of the state legislature.

Agency Program:
Senate Bill 248, 73rd Legislature, Regular Session, 1993, requires that the Texas Ethics Commission provide ethics training to two groups: members and members-elect of the legislature (that training must be conducted by January of each odd-numbered year, prior to the start of the legislative session), and state employees (training which is coordinated with the state agencies). Ethics Commission staff members prepare between 5 and 17 separate educational materials each year, in order to make between 45 and 100 educational presentations each year. This provides training to an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 persons annually (a cumulative total of 150,000 public employees).

Training sessions are scheduled to begin in May 2000 around the state, to help train filers in the mandatory electronic filing of campaign reports. There is also a plan for producing video to help in that training.

The Texas Ethics Commission was created by a constitutional amendment which the voters approved in November 1991 (Article III, Section 24a); it was established by Senate Bill 1, 72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and began operations in January 1992. It has the following powers: to pursue sworn complaints alleging violations of state ethics laws; to penalize violations of state ethics laws; to sponsor ethics training and informational programs, and to explain compliance guidelines; to issue advisory opinions, which apply ethics laws to specific situations of fact; to require regulatory agencies of the executive branch to develop rules for the commission's approval that limit the acceptance of benefits from regulated entities; to recommend salary levels for members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor, which are submitted to the voters at the next general election; to set the per diem paid to legislators and to the lieutenant governor.

The laws and regulations that the commission enforces include those concerning the following: political contributions and expenditures and political advertising; lobbyist activities; financial disclosure and conduct of state officers and employees; the contributions and expenditures for the race for speaker of the house; the contributions to Governor-for-a-Day and Speaker's Reunion Day ceremonies; representation before state agencies by legislators or former agency board members; and financial statements of judges of statutory county courts or statutory probate courts who elect to file with the Ethics Commission in lieu of the county clerk. Beginning January 1, 1993, the law was amended to require that all reports be computerized and cross-referenced, and subject to online public access.

Prior to the creation of the Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State's office administered the filings required by these ethics laws. The advisory opinions which the commission issues concern these laws as well as laws governing bribery, corrupt influence, and abuse of office.

Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24a
V.T.C.A., Government Code, Sections 571.071
1 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 10

Arrangement: Chronological

Access Constraints: None

Use Constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for, or an aid to access? None

Problems: None

Known related records in other agencies: None

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked for the Texas Ethics Commission, and none were found for this series or for equivalent or related series.

Publications based on records:
Training manuals are included in this series of records.

Series data from agency schedule:
Title: Training materials
Series item number: 1.1.043
Agency item number: 29
Archival code: None
Retention: US + 1

Archival holdings:
None at the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Gaps? None

Appraisal Decision:
Manuals and training materials, including presentation notes, handouts, and brochures, contain practically the only documentation of this important function of the Ethics Commission. More than in most other state agencies, training is an integral part of this agency's mission and mandate. Therefore these records are archival. The Ethics Commission should add the archival code of "A" to this series. After being transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division (one year after being superseded), materials in this series may be subject to further, internal appraisal by the assigned Archivist(s).

Page last modified: August 31, 2011