Local conservative activist and Founder of the Houston Tea Party Felicia Cravens stepped up and filed a judicial misconduct complaint against Judge Mike Anderson Wednesday. Anderson, running against current Harris County D.A. Pat Lykos,appears to have used an official, taxpayer-funded county courtroom to film several partisan political campaign commercials.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I have a personal friendship with Felicia Cravens and I have publicly endorsed Pat Lykos for Harris County D.A.
Voters deserve immediate, transparent and substantive answers from Mike Anderson regarding the serious legal and ethical concerns raised by his actions.
• Use of a public area in a government building for private purposes requires at least 10 days advance written authorization from the county’s Facilities & Property Management Division, as well as payment of several fees to cover utility, janitorial and security expenses. Did Mike Anderson submit a written request, receive written authorization and pay the proper fees just as anyone else would have to—and if so, will he prove that fact by releasing the necessary records and receipts?
• If Mike Anderson didn’t receive authorization from FPMD to use the 262nd courtroom, who gave him permission to do so? Anyone? Who signed him and his entourage in to the building after-hours? Or does Anderson simply think the courthouse belongs to him, and its courtrooms are his private property to use as he see fit?
• On the evening or weekend Mike Anderson brought his cast and crew into the courthouse, were all individuals, boxes and bags screened through security and properly checked for weapons, as required—or were folks allowed to wander the building unsupervised, possibly leaving items to be recovered later?
• An average citizen, civic group or private business wanting to film an advertisement in a courtroom setting would have to pay a hefty fee to rent a production studio with a mock courtroom. Did Mike Anderson pay the county an equivalent amount for his use of the 262nd—or does he expect taxpayers to provide him with free studio space?
• If no equivalent rental fee was paid, his campaign received something of real value. Will Anderson be reporting this on his official campaign finance report as an in-kind contribution—and if so, what amount, and from whom?
• Most fundamentally—does Mike Anderson simply not understand or respect that the courthouse is a sanctuary in the service of justice, and politics should be kept out of its courtrooms?
This has easily been the nastiest campaign of the GOP primary and maybe Mike Anderson just operates this way. Anderson has made it clear to those listening to his speeches on the campaign trail that he longs for the days of the past - those of the good ole boy network in charge and business as usual.
Some in Harris County are demanding better of the old days - those of scandals and back slapping, wink-wink ways. Pat Lykos has been very effective in her leadership and that doesn't sit too well with the old guard. Not to mention that she's a woman, to boot.
Harris County deserves a real leader in the D.A.'s office. Pat Lykos is that leader.