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February 23, 2012      5:12 PM

SIMMONS PAC TREASURER CONCEDES ETHICS VIOLATION AS PAC HELPING 18 LEGISLATORS HAD ONLY ONE CONTRIBUTOR

Law requires ten contributors for a PAC

EDITOR'S NOTE: This post has been modified from the original to reflect further comment from PAC treasurer William Lindquist.

A state level political action committee that until now had been funded entirely by prominent GOP donor Harold Simmons is saying this afternoon that it violated state ethics rules and is working to get back in full compliance.

The statement from the WCS Texas Solution PAC came after the campaign finance watchdog Texans for Public Justice announced this morning that it was filing a complaint against the PAC with the Texas Ethics Commission. (Click here for the press release announcing the complaint and here for the complaint itself)

According to ethics commission filings, the PAC has received a single donation -- $100,100 from Simmons on Sept. 21. Simmons owns Waste Control Specialists, the hazardous waste disposal facility west of Andrews on the Texas-New Mexico border that is currently receiving low-level radioactive waste from Texas and other states.

The problem, TPJ said, is that a PAC must have at least 10 donors before it can contribute to political campaigns. After the Simmons donation, the PAC distributed $65,000 to 18 state lawmakers – highlighted by $10,000 each to two state Senators – Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) and Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) – and to state Rep. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) who is running for a Senate seat.

By John Reynolds