Large fine for Comm. Eversole's campaign

HOUSTON The fine is the result of a 13 Undercover hidden camera investigation from the fall of 2007. It exposed the commissioner's questionable work habits and use of campaign funds. It's a political body blow from the state.

The hidden camera video was clear. Jerry Eversole spent very little time in his office. His workout was often the only official item on his calendar.

"That was a heavily damaging story. The visuals and sound tracks made it a must-see piece of video," said KTRK Political Analyst Dr. Richard Murray. "Whatever possibility of running for public office pretty much ended when those stories ran."

It was Eversole's campaign spending of $750,000 in 18 months that triggered the ethics investigation

"This is about the worst example I have ever seen for misuse of campaign funds for lifestyle and personal use," said ethics watchdog Fred Lewis.

About nineteen months ago, 13 Undercover detailed some of the questionable spending.

There are hundreds of restaurant receipts, 109 trips to Java Java Café and Starbucks. On some days, Eversole stopped there three times. He spent $10,000 on coffee.

Don't forget those frequent visits to golf stores which Eversole called part of his public relations.

Under the settlement with the Texas Ethics Commission, Eversole has already paid his campaign back more than $41,000. The Ethics Commission also fined the Eversole campaign $75,000 for its past reporting practices. That is a huge fine.

In a statement, Eversole's campaign denied misusing campaign funds but the commissioner said this, "I have accepted responsibility for the past errors and used it as an opportunity to revamp our campaign finance disclosure practices. i am pleased to have put this tec inquiry behind me, and am ready to move forward."

However, a federal corruption investigation still looms.

"His next major bout is what happens if rumored federal indictment that's been hanging out there for months and months and months," said Dr. Murray.

It's not just campaign spending that has the feds investigating. Design work done on the commissioner's house and exposed by 13 Undercover is also under scrutiny.

A federal grand jury has already subpoenaed witnesses in the Eversole case and our political analyst thinks Eversole may resign before his term his up. This is obviously a story that continues to develop.

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