Questionable Hirings Follow Texas Ag Commissioner Miller

Newly elected Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller created a $180,000-a-year job in his office for a political consultant who had previously donated $40,000 worth of services to the Republican during his campaign.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that a second political consultant donated $76,000 worth of services before his wife was appointed to another position created by Miller, also with a $180,000 salary.

The first consultant, Walt Roberts, was named Miller's assistant agriculture commissioner for legislative affairs and external relations. The newspaper previously reported that he appears to have lobbied without registering.

Kellie Housewright-Smith, wife of the second consultant, Todd Smith, was dismissed after less than four months for improperly contacting state officials and missing work.

Miller says the donation of campaign services had nothing to do with the hires.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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