So says South Texas Scandal, a blog that describes its mission as follows: With a notorious past of political corruption, South Texas has made a lot of progress in recent years to clean up its act. But there remain some Patrones who continue to cling to the old discredited ways. This site is about them in hopes they will change their ways — or go away. In Kino’s case, “go away” seems more likely than “change their ways.” The McAllen Monitor reported earlier this week that Flores is the focus of several federal and state probes. Austin attorney Roy Minton, who is quite the busy man these days with Flores and lieutenant governor David Dewhurst attracting scrutiny, acknowledged to the Monitor that he was aware that the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s office had subpoenaed Flores’ travel records and that “at least one FBI agent had been looking into Flores’ background.” (The quoted language is from the Monitor’s story, not from Minton.) The travel records could help prosecutors determine whether Flores paid fair market value for air travel on a major supporter’s private jet. Failure to report free or discounted travel is a violation of state ethics laws. In addition, Travis County prosecutors have sought and received documents connected to a murder that took place on his ranch in September. All reports of this incident have indicated that Flores is not a suspect. District Attorney Ronnie Earle’s approach to some cases involving ethics violations — most prominently, that of former speaker Gib Lewis — has been to offer the public official who is under fire the choice of resign your seat or face prosecution. Normally, the troubles of an individual legislator would not have much impact on the course of Texas politics. But Flores’s situation has arisen in the context of a speaker’s race. Today, November 13, is exactly two months prior to the formal vote on Tom Craddick’s future. Flores is one of a dwindling number of Craddick D’s. It is by no means certain that he will be around to take the oath of office on January 13. If he isn’t, his son might be. The blog noted “the sudden return from Tampa to South Texas of [Flores’s] son, Buddy, who had been working for Florida Power & Light, courtesy of a cushy job arranged for him by Texas lawmaker Phil King, chairman of the powerful Regulated Industries Committee and a lawyer for the Florida power company.” Not a pretty picture. Note to readers 1. Representative King e-mailed me to say that he has never represented Florida Power & Light. 2. In a comment, a reader posted that “South Texas Scandal” is the work of Kelly Fero and Rene Ramirez, of Senator Hinojosa’s staff. Mr. Ramirez called me to say that he did not own or write for “South Texas Scandal” or any other blog.
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