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Texas S.C. Justice Faces Ethics Inquiry for 25% Discount from Firm

Posted Dec 3, 2008 4:53 PM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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A public hearing is set for tomorrow to examine an allegation that Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht accepted an illegal contribution from a law firm.

Texas Watch filed the complaint with the state ethics commission. The advocacy group alleges Hecht failed to report as an in-kind political contribution the lowered fees for personal representation he received from Jackson Walker, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Hecht has denied any wrongdoing.

The ordeal for Hecht began in 2005 when he openly supported President Bush's short-lived nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court. The judicial commission admonished Hecht for promoting Miers under the theory that he was breaking an ethics rule by endorsing an individual for public office. But Hecht retained Jackson Walker to appeal and in 2006 won a reversal of the admonishment.

At issue in this hearing is the 25 percent discount the firm gave Hecht, purportedly because the case involved a key public issue, freedom of speech. Hecht did report that he paid the firm $342,416 out of his political fund, the Chronicle reports.


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