Rick Agosto Responds to Ethics Issue

Texas State Board of Education member Rick Agosto, D-San Antonio, sent the following e-mail to us today. His message references two posts on TFN Insider from September 29, 2009 (here and here). Mr. Agosto’s e-mail to us follows in full.

Last year, the Texas Freedom Network published an Article on September 29th questioning my ethics as a State Board of Education member.

The editorial was based on a false report from the Morning News accusing me of accepting gifts from AEW Capital Management, which I did not, in fact, accept. And, despite my pointing out that fellow Board members and Permanent School Fund staff had leaked inaccurate information to the press for political gain, the Texas Freedom Network published this harmful editorial based on untrue allegations.

I am submitting this letter to clear my name.

The Texas Ethics Commission investigated this matter, I am pleased to report that the Commission has found “…insufficient evidence of a violation…” in these matters. Visit my website to see the full report by the Texas Ethics Commission. (See here.)

I’m highlighting the Commission’s finding, not merely because it clears my name, but because it is important that my fellow Texans know how seriously I take my fiduciary obligation to the state’s children. I want to reassure voters that I have adhered to the state’s code of ethics at all times.

As president and CEO of Aureus Partners, a financial marketing firm for institutional investing, I understand the role of a fiduciary and the importance of fulfilling that obligation. Board members are required to submit rigorous reports and detailed records of their financial activity to help ensure that they meet those obligations. However, as we saw in my case, there are discrepancies in reporting rules, which can provide ammunition to those seeking to tarnish reputations for political gain.

One problem that I and other observers have noted is an ethics policy that requires elected officials to report one thing, and vendors to report another. Another is inconsistent reporting periods: Today, a firm seeking to be appointed to manage the Fund’s assets must disclose all contacts with board members for the six months before submitting a response to a request for a proposal, while board members may have contact until the response is actually submitted.

I believe the Board should commit itself to fixing the ethics policy and reconciling inconsistent rules. We should all report the same things.

Going forward, it is my sincere hope that all members of the State Board of Education, regardless of party affiliation, will strive to do what is best for the children. The highly-charged political environment in which we find ourselves today unfortunately often leads to political attacks and smear campaigns. Such politically-motivated misbehavior neither serves nor sets a good example for the school children of Texas, whose futures are entrusted to us.

Sincerely,

Rick Agosto
District 3 Trustee of State Board of Education

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3 Comments

  1. Mr.Parker
    Posted October 22, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    The reason Mr.Agosto will not be seeking reelection in 2010 is because their is probably cause to believe that he does have credibility issues…I’m sure he knows that certain facts and proof such as pictures and other facts will prove that his ethics do not add up…He knows this, and he will not run for re-election because he knows these facts would’ve been exposed and reported to news agencies….which would hinder his bid for reelection and cause embarrassment for himself and his family….To bad..I wanted him to seek re-election…Don’t think about running for public office again Rick…It will come out then I promise…

  2. Charles
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Rick. I will not be as harsh as Doc Bill and will kindly congratulate you on being cleared by the Texas Ethics Commission.

    However, in a gentle way, I must say that Doc Bill is right about your performance on the Texas SBOE. By audio or video, I attended all of the 2009-2010 Texas SBOE meetings. While in attendance, I kept asking myself, “Where is Rick Agosto?” Isn’t he a Democrat? He hardly ever says anything in these meetings, and he just sometimes inexplicably disappears during a meeting.” That is not representation of the citizens in your district Rick. A brass paper weight or stone frog door stop can do what you do—just sit there and not say or do anything.

    You cannot be “all things to all people” or “just neutral-bland-nothing.” You need to take a stand. If you think the fruitcake faction on the Texas SBOE is right, then you need to stand with them and speak out for them. If you think they are wrong, you have an obligation to voice opposition to their agenda. If you are torn up inside and conflicted, then you probably need to just pack up and go home.

    I have no idea whether “Agosto” is a Hispanic name. My area of the country has very few Hispanic people in it, so I would not know. However, it is clear to me that the fruitcake faction on the Texas SBOE has no affection for minority groups of any kind—including yours. That has been abundantly proven by their activities over the past two years. If anything they are anti-minority, although I suspect they would describe it in private conversation as pro-white majority.

    This crew of far right conservatives and Tea Party people that will be overwhelmingly elected to national offices on November 2, 2010, has a virulent hatred for Hispanics, blacks, and other minorities. They hide it fairly well, but it is there. You just have to peel back the onion a little to see it. When they take over the government, you and your people are going to be living in Oppression City—or something as close as you can get to it in a society like ours. Perhaps you will find some reason to “fight” for what you believe in that context because—believe me—fighting will be the only choice that you have.

  3. Doc Bill
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Dear Rick,

    You started off appearing as a reasonable representative on the Texas Board of Education. However, it soon became clear that you were just another pandering politician more worried about is reelection and what the voters might “think,” although in your constituency I use the word think loosely, that you were concerned about the education of children in Texas.

    So, good riddance, Rick and good luck with your pandering career. My advice to you is to employ the best hairdresser because it will be more important to you than any science or education advisor. You know how boring those guys are!

    In conclusion, thanks for nothing which summarizes your contribution to the Texas Board of Education. You could have made a difference, took a stand and stared down the opposition, however you chose to run and hide, and the children you falsely purport to support are worse off as a result.

    Congratulations, Rick! If there were a Perry Pandering award you would certainly deserve a nomination.

    Fond (not) regards,
    Doc Bill

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