Jailed Smith Co. constable has outstanding fine from Texas Ethics Commission

Attorney General’s office took action after Curtis Traylor-Harris never paid delinquent fine over failure to report election campaign financing
Curtis Traylor-Harris appears in court on Thursday, July 14, regarding Oppression and Abuse of...
Curtis Traylor-Harris appears in court on Thursday, July 14, regarding Oppression and Abuse of Capacity case.(Blake Holland/KLTV)
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 4:16 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - An open records request shows suspended Pct. 1 Smith Co. Constable Curtis Trailer-Harris, who is jailed facing charges of Oppression and Abuse of Official Capacity, also owes the Texas Ethics Commission a $2,500 fine that’s been delinquent for nearly three years.

State law requires candidates for public office to file reports disclosing campaign financing, donations and expenditures, as well as declaring a campaign treasurer.

In 2018, Curtis Traylor-Harris ran for and lost in a race for a Dallas County constable position.

An order from the Texas Ethics Commission shows a complaint was filed against Traylor-Harris in February 2019 concerning Traylor-Harris’ failure to file semiannual campaign finance reports in that race to the Dallas County Clerk.

The order shows that Traylor-Harris acknowledged receiving notices of the complaint, as well as notices on the hearing for the matter. However, the Texas Ethics Commission reports Traylor-Harris failed to show up to a June 2019 hearing held by the Commission in Austin. This resulted in the commission finding there was credible evidence of violations in that hearing. They imposed a $1,500 penalty. The fine was increased to $2,500 after it wasn’t paid within 30 days. At that point, the matter was referred to the Office of Attorney General for collections.

Among other findings, the order by the TEC shows Traylor-Harris filed his required semiannual reports more than a year late. Required 30-day and 8-day pre-election reports were filed months after the election had already ended and Traylor-Harris had already lost. Within the late reports, the TEC found campaign expenditures were reported with dates from outside of the reporting period, and amounts of expenditures weren’t listed. The final required semiannual report showed Traylor- Harris disclosed $3,040.14 had been refunded in ten expenditures. However, the expenditures were disclosed in the wrong reporting period. The Commission requested corrected reports. Those were never filed.

In short, the Texas Ethics Commission took formal action over the mismanagement and failure to keep an accurate and transparent account on campaign contributions and spending, as required by law.

In November of 2019, The Office of Attorney General sent Traylor-Harris notice that the fines had been sent to them for collections. The letter threatened legal action by the state, including possibly filing suit. A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office says, to the present date, Traylor-Harris has not paid the fine. Their office has not filed suit or taken legal action in the matter either.

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