All felony charges against Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) have been dismissed, and Dukes and the state have resolved the misdemeanor cases out of court, leading to their dismissal. District Judge Brad Urrutia signed all dismissals, ending the more than yearlong criminal case against Dukes.
“It has been a long battle, but one in which I never doubted the outcome,” Dukes said in a Facebook post. “I am grateful to have been fully exonerated.”
Travis Co. District Attorney Margaret Moore said in a statement that the state could not pursue the charges because the House Business Office does not enforce the rule requiring travel to the Capitol to receive per diems. All 13 felony counts were based on Dukes’s claiming per diems on days in which she had not appeared to travel to the Capitol.
The misdemeanor charges were dismissed after Dukes made restitution to the state, paid an Ethics Commission fine and restored more than $5K she had converted into personal use back to her campaign account.
Dukes, who is seeking re-election, still faces a number of primary challengers, several of whom have been campaigning since she initially said she would resign in September 2016. As of this evening, Sheryl Cole, Ana Cortez and Chito Vela confirmed they would continue to seek the Democratic nomination for HD46.
Meanwhile, the House Committee on Administration was directed by Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) to “review internal policies and guidelines relating to expenditures from House funds for salaries, operations and travel and per diem.” The study request was included among more than 230 interim charges released by the Speaker’s office today.
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