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Ethics complaints latest salvo in battle for state senate seat



The battle over state Senate District 25 ratcheted up another notch this week as incumbent state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, filed ethics complaints against his opponent, former railroad commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, and her husband, Will Jones.

The two complaints, one for each of the Joneses, allege that Elizabeth Ames Jones should have disclosed her husband’s lobbying activities on her personal financial statements when she served on the railroad commission, and that Will Jones failed to disclose his lobbying business.

Wentworth also contends that the couple’s jobs were closely tied and mutually beneficial. A press release from the Wentworth campaign refers to Will Jones as the “secret fourth commissioner of the Texas Railroad Commission.”

Tedd Olsen, a consultant for the Jones campaign, responded in the San Antonio Express-News, saying, “This is an outrageous and desperate act by a man whose career is littered with ethics investigations and illegal lobbying,” a reference to a decade-old investigation conducted by the Travis County district attorney when Wentworth was accused of illegal lobbying activity. The investigation did not result in charges.

The back-and-forth between Wentworth and Jones has been heated from the get-go. In recent ads, Wentworth has depicted Jones as a puppet controlled by special interests, and Jones has responded with a tough ad featuring Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed saying Wentworth is “exactly what’s wrong with politics today.”

Donna Campbell, an emergency room physician, is also vying for the seat, though she has not raised as much money as other two contenders.

This story was originally published in The Texas Tribune. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.