Sunday, October 21, 2018

Lock Her Up? DA Who Imposed Harsh Sentence For Illegal Voting Has Some Explaining Of Her Own To Do

Sharen Wilson,  the Tarrant County district attorney who pressed for the harsh eight year sentence on a permanent U.S. resident for illegal voting, is not doing a very good job of "protecting the integrity of the election" when it comes to her own campaign practices.

In Texas, district attorneys have to run for office every four years. According to an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Ms. Wilson used her office to solicit campaign donations for  a Republican fundraiser. When a special prosecutor was assigned to investigate the issue, Ms. Wilson simply apologized and claimed that she did not realize that she was violating the law. The charges against her were then quietly dismissed.

Rosa Ortega, a permanent U.S. resident and mother of four, was not so lucky. Like District Attorney Sharen Wilson, Ms. Ortega unknowingly violated campaign finance law. Unlike District Attorney Sharen Wilson, however, the charges against Ms. Ortega were not quietly dismissed.

The charges against Ms. Ortega stemmed from her (unknowingly) voting illegally in the 2012 and 2014 elections. According to a New York Times article about the case, it was not until Ms. Ortega contacted the Tarrant County election officials after her ballot was rejected in 2015 that she realized that she may have violated the law. In her conversation with the election officials, Ms. Ortega complained that Dallas County had no issue with the fact that she is a permanent U.S. as opposed to being a U.S. citizen. These are clearly not the actions of a person who intends to break the law.

Nonetheless, DA Sharen Wilson saw to it that charges were filed against her and pressed for the maximum sentence in the name of "protecting the integrity of the election" . Ultimately, Rosa Ortega was sentenced to eight years in prison; in addition, she is facing certain deportation when her sentence is over.

As for DA Wilson's "mistake," Maureen Shelton, the special prosecutor who was assigned to investigate the matter, cited "insufficient evidence of criminal intent" as the reason for dismissing the charges. Apparently, Maureen Shelton and the other people responsible for investigating the matter did not bother to look at DA Wilson's campaign finance reports. If they had, they would have found that DA Wilson has been accepting campaign donations from employees of the Tarrant County DA's office long after she took office in 2015. As the chart below shows, DA Wilson has been accepting campaign donations from employees since at least as early as 2016 when she began gearing up for re-election. With at least one local blog describing DA Wilson as a "horrible boss", one can't help but wonder if any of the people in the table shown below felt pressured to donate money to Wilson' re-election campaign.

Source: Texas Ethics Commission   
View/Download Copy of Report



DateLastNameFirstNameOccupationFirmAmount
10/11/2016BrowderRobert D.LawyerTarrant County DA700
09/30/2016CallaghanLisaLawyerTarrant County DA250
09/29/2016CarrizalJoseInvestigatorTarrant County DA250
09/28/2016ClaytonArtLawyerTarrant County DA250
09/30/2016DeenerAshleaLawyerTarrant County DA100
10/11/2016DettmerRobinLawyerTarrant County DA100
09/30/2016DiamondAnnLawyerTarrant County DA100
09/20/2016FickesGaryCommissioner Tarrant County 500
09/30/2016FletcherShannon D. ManagementTarrant County DA100
10/11/2016FriemelRussLawyerTarrant County DA100
09/30/2016GilpinTimLawyerTarrant County DA150
09/28/2016HudsonDavidLawyerTarrant County DA200
09/30/2016HusemanRobertLawyerTarrant County DA200
09/30/2016HusemanRonaldLawyerTarrant County DA250
09/26/2016JohnsonJ.D.Commissioner Tarrant County500
09/26/2016Peerwani M.DNizamMedical ExaminerTarrant County500
09/30/2016PerrymanDerrelynnLawyerTarrant County DA100
09/30/2016PonderChristopherLawyerTarrant County DA100
09/30/2016PriceDannyLawyerTarrant County DA500
09/30/2016PurselleyMartin LawyerTarrant County DA100
09/26/2016RichardsDavidLawyerTarrant County DA1000
09/09/2016RodmanLanceSheriff's DeputyTarrant County700
09/30/2016RolfeJordanLawyerTarrant County DA100
09/30/2016ShawRileyLawyerTarrant County DA100
09/30/2016StimpsonTyLawyerTarrant County DA100
09/28/2016ThompsonLarryLawyerTarrant County DA100
09/09/2016ThornhillMarkInvestigatorTarrant County DA100
10/11/2016ValverdeAlfredoLawyerTarrant County DA200
09/30/2016VassarBillLawyerTarrant County DA100
09/30/2016WesleyKimberlyLawyerTarrant County DA100
09/30/2016WhitleyGlenCounty JudgeTarrant County100
09/30/2016WilliamsKhayanLawyerTarrant County DA100
09/30/2016WindsorDebraLawyerTarrant County DA250


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