Harris County GOP doesn't dispute facts in KPRC's reports on Rep. Jim Murphy

By Mario Diaz - Reporter

HOUSTON - The Harris County Republican Party is calling KPRC’s reporting on State Representative Jim Murphy a series of misleading partisan attacks.

The organization put out a press release Friday morning making the claim.

Channel 2 Investigates first broke the story two weeks ago, uncovering Murphy’s second taxpayer-funded job, revealing potential conflicts of interest and calls for an ethics investigation.

The release posted on social media accuses Investigator Mario Diaz of acting as a tool for left-wing organizations and of biased attacks on Republican officials. However, it does not dispute our findings. The release stems from our reporting on Representative Jim Murphy from west Houston.

Here are the facts Channel 2 Investigates has reported:

  • Murphy is an elected representative who also has a second taxpayer-funded job as General Manager of the Westchase District.
  • Murphy is paid more than $300,000 a year plus bonuses for securing taxpayer money for Westchase District projects.

Murphy confirmed this in an interview with Channel 2 Investigates.

READ: Channel 2 Investigates: At over $312,000 a year, who does this state representative represent?

The arrangement appears to violate state law prohibiting a lawmaker from holding another government position.

Although Murphy claims to be a contractor, not a Westchase employee, Channel 2 Investigates uncovered several factors as to why Murphy could be classified as an employee under state and federal rules.

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

All of these facts are enough to warrant a state ethics investigation, according to the Chair of the House General Investigating and Ethics Committee, Republican Representative Sarah Davis.

READ: 'We will absolutely look at it:' House Ethics Committee to probe Rep. Murphy

The Chair of the Senate Committee on Government Reform, Republican Senator Paul Bettencourt also has concerns about potential violations of lobbying laws and says he’ll take recommendations from the House Committee to the Senate.

These are two Republicans who say they have concerns about their fellow Republican colleague, Representative Jim Murphy.

This afternoon, KPRC News Director Dave Strickland issued the following statement in response to the Harris County Republican Party’s press release, “With this letter, the Harris County Republican Party apparently agrees with KPRC that the facts of the investigative story involving Representative Jim Murphy are not in dispute. KPRC stands 100 percent behind the story and Investigative Reporter Mario Diaz.”

Channel 2 Investigates will continue to dig deeper into this story. We also plan to be in Austin when Representative Davis and her committee hold a hearing into what we have uncovered. Davis told Channel 2 Investigates on Feb. 15, "We will absolutely look at it. I have no problem doing investigations."

The full response is below:

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