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State Rep.'s Role At Westchase District Draws Ethics Criticism

Westchase Marker
Westchase District marker

Texas state Rep. Jim Murphy is facing questions over his involvement in both the Texas Legislature and Westchase District. State law says "no member of the Legislature may hold any other office or position of profit, except as a notary public."

Employment contracts uncovered by KPRC 2 between Murphy and the Westchase District, a governmental agency and political subdivision of the state, show Murphy earning a fixed fee of over $26K/month. The contract also lists him as a "consultant" even though the website for the Westchase District says he is the general manager.

At a Bisnow event in 2016, Murphy spoke on behalf of the Westchase District as its general manager. At the time he was representing state District 133 in Harris County. 

Murphy told KPRC he is getting paid $312K/year and receiving bonuses paid with taxes collected by Westchase.

Texas State Rep. Jim Murphy
Texas state Rep. Jim Murphy

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt and Rep. Sarah Davis have called for an investigation into potential ethics violations by this arrangement. Davis, who chairs the House General Investigating and Ethics Committee, said she wants to hear Murphy explain his contracts with the Westchase District. 

"If somebody has a contract like this and they are going to meetings and they are going on the phone, that has to be lobbying any way that I understand it," Bettencourt told KPRC. Bettencourt is the chair of the Senate Committee on Government Reform.

Bisnow reached out to Murphy, but had not received comment by publication time.