You asked, we answered. We were recently contacted by a reader wanting to know who leads the institution responsible for regulating campaign finance in Texas.
The Texas Ethics Commission (TEC), an influential body that provides “guidance on various public ethics laws” in Texas, is a powerful entity in Texas state politics. Established in 1991, the TEC is responsible for overseeing campaign finance reports and establishing lawmakers’ pay, among their other duties. Eight government-appointed commissioners serve terms on the TEC. Four are appointed by the Governor, and two commissioners are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House, respectively. Legislators cannot be selected for service.
Despite their prominent role in campaign finance regulation, many Texans remain unfamiliar with the commissioners. Chosen by appointment rather than election, their names and responsibilities are less widely publicized.
These are the Texas Ethics Commissioners, including who appointed them and their terms of service:
|Commissioner||Position||Party Affiliation||Appointed By||Date Appointed||Term Ending Date (as listed by the TEC)|
|Mary K. Kennedy||Chairwoman||Democrat||Greg Abbott||October 2016||November 2023|
|Randall H. Erben||Vice Chairman||Republican||Joe Straus||December 2017||November 2021|
|Chad M. Craycraft||Commissioner||Republican||Greg Abbott||October 2016||November 2023|
|Chris Flood||Commissioner||Democrat||Dan Patrick||February 2017||November 2019|
|Patrick W. Mizell||Commissioner||Republican||Greg Abbott||April 2018||November 2021|
|Richard S. Scmidt||Commissioner||Republican||Greg Abbott||May 2018||November 2021|
|Joseph O. Slovacek||Commissioner||Republican||Dan Patrick||December 2017||November 2021|
|Steven D. Wolens||Commissioner||Democratic||Joe Straus||September 2016||November 2019|
Interestingly, while these positions were all appointed by Republicans, three of the eight seats are currently held by Democrats. Of the eight commissioners currently appointed, four are coming up on their end of term this November. Notably, two commissioners have terms that are listed as expired in 2019 and are still serving on the TEC. Governor Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and new House Speaker Dade Phelan can appoint new commissioners.
All data that Transparency USA uses to provide clarity about the money in Texas politics comes directly from reports that Texas candidates, PACs, and lobbyists are required to file with the Texas Ethics Commission. Here’s how we display that data to make it easily accessible.
For more about the TEC, including a detailed biography of the commissioners, visit the TEC website.