Access scheme leads to indictment

By Daniel Greer | 15 hours ago

Friday morning longtime Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price was indicted and arrested for bribery and conspiracy. The indictment also named his political consultant Kathy Nealy.

Also named in the indictment, which accuses Price of masterminding a conspiracy to help companies win county contracts in exchange for cash, are Price’s assistant, Dapheny Fain, and Christian Lloyd Campbell.

Nealy’s part in the conspiracy, according to the indictment, was to obtain lobbying and consulting agreements with businesses that wanted to work for the county. Nealy’s proximity to and influence on Price netted clients insider information and Price working for or against measures up for deliberation. Money Nealy collected is alleged to have turned up in Price’s bank account.

A similar set up amongst some Austin lobbyists, consultants and lawmakers has been rumored to exist for some time.

Today’s indictment stems from business conducted since 2001. In that same time period, according to the Texas Ethics Commission, Nealy and her consulting practice Kathy Nealy & Associates have done work for the Dallas County Democratic Party, Texas Democratic Party, New American PAC and Texas Values in Action Coalition.

Additionally, Gladys E. Hodge is shown as paying Nealy in 2010. Gladys E., better known as former Rep. Terri Hodge, was convicted of tax fraud in a Dallas City Hall corruption case that same year. She was sentenced to a year in prison for her crime.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldana stated that “the vast majority of public officials are honest and maintain high ethical standards.” That sentiment, while eloquent, is likely to be met with skepticism by a public increasingly confronted with the corruption of elected officials, lobbyists and consultants.

Currently members of Congress are allowed to enrich themselves by trading on inside information acquired during the course of their service.