Running for public office in Texas (except for federal office) requires a candidate to submit a request for appointment of campaign treasurer by a judicial candidate (JCTA form) to the appropriate filing authority before becoming a candidate. This is even if the candidate does not plan to accept campaign contributions or make campaign expenses. The Commission's Campaign Finance Guide for Political Committees outlines the general rules applicable to all political committees. Candidates, officials, and political committees must obtain certain documentation related to contributions from a political committee in another state.
This includes the submission of an appointment as campaign treasurer, which does not constitute a candidacy or an announcement of candidacy for the purposes of the automatic waiver provisions of Article XVI, Section 65, or Article XI, Section 11, of the Texas Constitution. Non-judicial officials who become candidates for the judiciary and decide to submit a campaign finance report that includes both the activity of the candidate and that of the office holder must indicate the amount attributed to non-judicial contributions and the amount attributed to judicial contributions. The Texas House of Representatives recently voted to force Harris County to remove its top election official and give state officials more authority in that country's elections. Political committees that accepted a political contribution from (or (as described above) during the two years immediately before the lobbyist made or authorized the spending must adhere to certain regulations.
Incumbent judges and candidates for judicial office who wish to hold office throughout the state are required to submit reports in connection with a special session of the legislature if they accept political contributions during that period.
Legal Challenges in Harris CountyMany legal disputes have arisen in Harris County regarding voting rights. Article 253.161 of the Electoral Code prohibits, in some circumstances, a judicial or non-judicial candidate, an office holder, or a committee for a specific purpose from using political contributions to make a political contribution to another candidate, official, or political committee. If a candidate or officeholder deposits personal funds into an account in which political contributions are deposited, as allowed by section 253.0351 (c) of the Electoral Code, the amount deposited must be declared as a loan and the repayments to the candidate or office holder cannot exceed the amount declared as a loan.
The payment made by a candidate, holder of an office or political committee for a specific purpose that supports a candidate or office holder, derived from political contributions to a company in which the candidate or holder of the position has a stake of more than ten percent, a position in the company's governing body, or a position as a company official cannot exceed the amount necessary to reimburse the company for the actual expenses incurred by the company.