Does Kim Ogg want to cut the Texas Charity Law?
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has had a chance to send a message to charities who hide their financial records. Will she stand by and let hem get away with their secrecy?
A special prosecutor is declining to let a grand jury decide whether Houston’s Sacred Cow, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, should be charged with a crime for hiding the records of their financial investments and the money they pay to companies that are linked to HLSR board members.
Texas law makes it crime for a charity to refuse to show financial records to a member of the public who asks to see them – except apparently in Harris County.
Special prosecutor Adam Muldrow claims he can find no previous criminal trials for violations the charity law.
“Since I have been investigating charities for decades, I know why Muldrow can’t find any previous trials. 99% of charities comply with the law when they’re reminded what it is,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
Dolcefino even offered to testify before a grand jury.
But folks, the real culprit here is Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.
Dolcefino Consulting filed criminal complaint against the Rodeo after they refused to share key financial records. The case was referred to a special prosecutor after Ogg cited a conflict of interest. Dolcefino Consulting has done media work for Ogg in the past. During Ogg’s campaign she promised to take complaints about government and charity transparency directly to the people – grand juries – to let them decide.
“Maybe Ms. Ogg is scared of the big bad Rodeo, or maybe she doesn’t care if charities hide their spending of donated money,” says Dolcefino.
A test of the District Attorney’s commitment to charity rules could come in the next few weeks. The embattled ambulance charity, Cypress Creek EMS, faces criminal trial for the hiding of payroll records – records that would document how taxpayer dollars are being spent.
The case was filed when Devon Anderson was the District Attorney. CCEMS ignored Anderson’s demand that the records be released. Ogg was in office for nearly a year before deciding to appoint a special prosecutor.
“If prosecutors don’t make an example out of charities like CCEMS and the Rodeo, more unscrupulous charities will know that it is open season on unsuspecting Houstonians,” says Dolcefino.
CCEMS has literally spend hundreds of thousands of donated dollars retaliating against Dolcefino Consulting for our requests to see what the law says are public records.
“Ogg has done nothing,” says Dolcefino, “Instead of fighting the millions of wasted tax dollars that could have been used to buy medical supplies for ambulances, she hasn’t raised a finger to help.”
Transparency laws matter…Ms. Ogg… we are watching.