Amid increasing scrutiny regarding legislator ethics, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis profited from government bond work as a co-bond counsel through her law firm Newby Davis PLLC, according to San Antonio press.
Just last month, Newby Davis helped float a $201.5 million bond for the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and a $319 million bond for the Tarrant Regional Water District, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The two-person law firm has served as a co-bond counsel for 20 deals since 2010, resulting in $6.3 billion in refinancing cases, according to the local report. The profits made by Davis’ firm are unknown at this time.
According to the Express-News, concerns have been raised in relation to the Tarrant Regional Water District’s bond–Sandy Newby, the wife of Davis’ law partner Brian Newby, is the water district’s finance director.
Pointing to the fact that Davis’ partner is African American, water district spokesman Chad Lorance told the Express-News that Newby Davis was chosen to float the bond because the firm met the district’s minority goals.
DFW Airport, which is co-owned by the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, also cited Newby Davis’ status as a minority-woman owned firm as one reason for its selection. Spokesman David Magaña said in an email to the Express-News that the airport “looks for opportunities to use minority/women owned law firms when appropriate.”
Attorney General Greg Abbott’s campaign website asserted that it is “ethically problematic” for a legislator to profit from government bonds because they “find themselves with a personal incentive to increase local debt.”
Despite the apparent conflict of interest, Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Lauren Bean pointed out that what Davis did is not illegal. She said to the Express-News, “There is no law prohibiting legislators from serving as bond counsel for governmental bodies, so we have no authority to decline to approve bonds on that basis. If such a law were enacted in the future, it would be our office’s duty to ensure compliance with it.”
Other recipients of Wendy Davis’ legal services have caused the state senator to become the center of scrutiny lately. As Breitbart Texas previously reported, Wendy Davis personally defended a public entity that was sued for gender discrimination under the Ledbetter law. This is despite the fact that she continuously attempts to portray herself as a defender of women and equal pay.
On March 7, Davis released a list of public-sector clients to local media that Newby Davis has represented since 2010, according to the San Antonio paper. The firm previously represented Tarrant Regional Water when the entity was sued by a female employee for gender discrimination, according to employment litigation trackers. In December 2010, Tamara Villanueva did not receive a five percent raise, which she believed she was entitled to. She accused the water district of denying her the raise because of her gender.
“Senator Wendy Davis has now mastered the Texas two-step as she continues to launch attacks over equal pay while shielding her own record of defending gender discrimination,” Texans for Greg Abbott Communications Director Matt Hirsch said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas.
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