Judge Overturns Ruling Against Former Lawmaker

A Tarrant County judge has ruled that former state Rep. Toby Goodman didn't violate campaign laws when he used campaign donations to rent homes bought by his wife near Austin.

The Dallas Morning News reports State District Judge Randy Catterton overturned a 2008 Texas Ethics Commission ruling.

The judge found last week that Goodman didn't pay more than market value for the rent, which is allowed by Texas law.

The commission had fined Goodman $10,000, alleging that while living in Austin during legislative sessions he used campaign money toward purchases of Austin real estate by paying his wife rent on property.

State law prohibits the use of campaign funds for personal use, including the purchase of property.

Goodman, an Arlington Republican, lost to Democrat Paula Hightower Pierson in 2006 and said he believes the complaint filed against him hurt his re-election bid.

He appealed the commission's ruling, saying he wanted vindication.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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