Ethics lawyer says State Rep. Jim Murphy 'takes the cake' regarding conflict of interest

HOUSTON – Ethics questions are growing tonight, surrounding State Rep. Jim Murphy.

Wednesday night, Channel 2 Investigates revealed Murphy (R-Houston), holds two paying government positions, even earning bonuses for securing state funds with one of them.

One job is in the Legislature, the other, he admits, pays a yearly salary of over $312,000 for running the Westchase District in West Houston.

"If the goal of these contracts is to get favors out of Austin by hiring a state (representative), they seem to be an effective mechanism for figuring out how to wire the system in an unethical way,” says Cris Feldman, a Houston attorney and government ethics expert with vast experience working around Texas politics.

"Corruption in Austin is fish in a barrel," Feldman says.

So how has Murphy managed to fly under the ethics radar for more than a decade?

In 2005, then-Attorney General Greg Abbott stated in an opinion that an independent contractor for a municipal management district is not prohibited from serving as a member of the Legislature.

They have to be a contractor, not an employee.

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