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Rep.Johnson, Eric

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Rep. Eric Johnson to File Anti-Corruption Bill in Wake of Latest Dallas Bribery Scandal  print page

by: Rep. Johnson, Eric
03/04/2019

AUSTIN, TEXAS –State Rep. Eric Johnson said Monday he will file legislation this week to eradicate corruption surrounding the awarding of affordable housing tax credits.

Rep. Johnson, who sits on the House Urban Affairs Committee, announced his proposal just days after a former Dallas City Councilwoman pleaded guilty for accepting bribes from a real estate developer in exchange for her support of an affordable housing project. She was the latest elected official from Dallas found to have used their power over affordable housing programs for personal enrichment.

When developers are seeking affordable housing tax credits, support from elected officials is part of the criteria used to evaluate those proposals. Under Rep. Johnson's bill, backing from elected officials would no longer factor into the evaluation and scoring process.

"Too many elected officials have abused their role in this process and abandoned their commitment to their constituents," said Rep. Johnson, Dallas. "These stories have become far too familiar, and I'm tired of reacting to the crimes. We need to prevent the crimes."

Rep. Johnson plans to file the bill by Friday, which is the last day for filing bills in this year's legislative session. While the bill will eliminate the use of elected official support letters in the scoring process, the bill will continue to include support from community organizations and neighborhood associations as part of the scoring process.

"The affordable housing tax credit program has become the mother's milk of political corruption in Dallas," Rep. Johnson said. “We need affordable housing in Dallas, but this approval process has to change.”

Rep. Johnson has worked with members of both political parties to fight corruption since he was first elected to the Texas House nine years ago. In fact, his predecessor in House District 100 went to prison for tax evasion related to bribes she received in connection with the awarding of affordable housing tax credits. Rep. Johnson also led the push to bar state legislators convicted of crimes related to public corruption from receiving taxpayer funded pensions.

"The people of Dallas need a tougher law to address this issue,” Rep. Johnson said. “The Legislature can act immediately since we are in session for the next three months. I am going to work in a bipartisan fashion with my colleagues on the Urban Affairs Committee to pass this bill and shut down this particular form of corruption. This is the right thing to do for Dallas and for the State of Texas. "

Rep. Johnson announced his proposal at a Monday press conference in Austin. He was joined by Rep. Angie Chen Button, Richardson, who chairs the House Urban Affairs Committee.

“I look forward to working with Chairwoman Button on this issue and I’m grateful for her leadership,” Rep. Johnson said. “Fighting corruption is not a partisan issue, and I’m confident we’ll be able to build consensus around meaningful and lasting reforms.”

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