Ethics Commission fines Democrat $11,000 for failing to file reports
The Texas Ethics Commission has referred three delinquent filing fines totaling $11,000 against gay Democratic Party legislative candidate Jack Borden to the Texas attorney general’s office for collection, but the candidate said Wednesday he expects the state agency to drop the legal action.
“We filled out everything today and the ethics committee is 100 percent satisfied,” Borden said after a meeting at the state agency’s office in Austin.
“They’re going to send everything over to the attorney general’s office What they are saying is that I won’t owe any kind of fines whatsoever.”
The commission’s officials helped him fill out all of the reports, he said.
Borden, who is on the Nov. 7 ballot running for the Texas House of Representative’s District 108 seat, failed to file the semiannual report for candidates and officeholders due Jan. 17, the 30-day pre-election report due Feb. 6 and the 8-day pre-election report due Feb. 27, according to the Texas Ethics Commission’s delinquent filer list dated Oct. 3.
Borden said during a telephone interview on Wednesday he was in Austin at the Texas Ethics Commission to discuss the fines and take care of the paperwork.
“I didn’t file the right campaign reports because I didn’t go out and raise money,” said Borden, who will be running against the incumbent, Republican candidate Dan Branch. “That’s what I have to do is to show the paperwork and explain what I’ve done and what I haven’t done.”
Borden said he had raised $3,500 and spent it on campaign expenses prior to the primary election on March 7.
In a second telephone interview, Borden said a personal matter had distracted him when the reports were due.
“I screwed up,” Borden said. “I didn’t tell anybody in the community.
Something happened right after the election. I just didn’t do anything.”
Darlene Ewing, chairwoman of the Dallas County Democratic Party, said the failure to file the reports shows a lack of responsibility and attention to detail, but it would be unlikely to affect Borden’s chances of winning the race or the Democratic Party ticket in Dallas.
Ewing said most voters have at some point bounced checks and filed Internal Revenue Service reports late.
“Do I think the voters care?” Ewing said. “No. Voters are realistic people. If you were stealing money or you didn’t file your report because you got a $100,000 contribution from the Ku Klux Klan and you didn’t want anybody to know, that probably would make a difference to them.”
Borden won the Democratic Party primary race for the District 108 seat after it was revealed his opponent, Tom Malin, had once worked as a male escort.
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas endorsed Malin for the race, then rescinded the endorsement after Malin’s past was reported in the media. The gay political organization did not endorse Borden after rescinding Malin’s endorsement.
Borden said that despite his long association with Stonewall Democrats of Dallas he no longer a member. Stonewall won’t even talk to me,” Borden said.
Borden said a top Stonewall Democrats of Dallas official, Shannon Bailey, recruited Malin to run against him in the primary.
Bailey, president of Texas Stonewall Democrats and a longtime member of the Dallas chapter, denied that he recruited someone to vote against Borden, and he said that Borden cut off relations with the chapter because he failed to get the endorsement.
“He said that he wanted to be removed from the membership roster and wanted a refund,” Bailey said. “Unfortunately, his dues weren’t current at the time.”
Bailey said he had never heard of Malin before learning that the candidate had called the Dallas County Democratic Party office to talk about running for the office.
“I did discourage Jack from running,” Bailey said. “It is an unwinnable district for a Democrat in terms of the way the lines are drawn.”
Bailey said he also has encouraged Borden not to run for any office but to instead help others get elected.
“I think Jack could make a great activist, and I have told him this,” Bailey said.
Borden has run for elected office in Dallas County multiples times, but he has never been elected.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, October 13, 2006.