In a move that proves even those who sit upon the highest court in our state are not “above” the law, the Texas Ethics Commission on Thursday fined Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht $29,000 for accepting illegal political contributions.
In 2006, Justice Hecht received a discount for personal legal services performed by the firm of Jackson Walker. The representation involved a dispute with the Judicial Conduct Commission. The firm’s invoice for such matter totaled more than $400,000.00. However, Justice Hecht only reported paying the firm $342,000.00. The Justice and his legal team claimed the discrepancy was pro bono time given to the Justice because of the “important” First Amendment issues involved in the matter.
In July of 2007, Texas Watch, an organization dedicated to defending our civil justice system against the growing corporate immunity agenda being pushed by a handful of powerful special interests, filed a complaint against Justice Hecht regarding the discount, which was in excess of the judicial limits and not reported by Justice Hecht.
After nearly an hour of deliberation, the commission determined that there was “credible evidence” of an Election Code violation and announced the fine.
Hecht is reportedly disappointed and will consider appealing the commission’s administrative penalty to state district court.
It’s probably safe to assume that he will pay his own legal fees this time.
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