Report alleges conflict of interest concerns against top Texas oil regulator


The morning sun rises behind oil rigs sitting in storage Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021 at a yard outside of Odessa, Texas. The OPEC oil cartel and allied countries said Thursday, April 1, 2021 that they have decided to add gradually add back some 2 million barrels per barrel per day of oil production from May to July, moving cautiously in pace with the recovery of the global economy from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Eli Hartman/Odessa American via AP, file)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A recent report conducted by two political reform groups alleges current policies in place allow Texas’ top oil and gas regulators to engage in behavior “that let sitting commissioners profit from the industry that they oversee.”

Political watchdog group Texans for Public Justice and reform group Commission Shift outlined situations where Texas’ Railroad Commission Chair Christi Craddick engaged in cases that involved campaign contributors or companies where she had individual financial stakes invested. The report noted current policies and “lax enforcement of recusal rules” that would allegedly allow commissioners to participate in these cases.

In a statement to KXAN, Craddick said her personal financial statements have been disclosed to the Texas Ethics Commission to “ensure transparency of our public officials.”

“In accordance with the Texas Ethics Commission, my personal financial statements are fully disclosed to the letter of the law and publicly accessible,” she said in an email. “Texas Ethics Commission laws ensure transparency of our public officials and maintain the public’s trust in our ability to appropriately govern, and I take these laws seriously.”

KXAN’s investigative team previously delved into Texas’ oil and natural gas leadership in its investigation, “Texas’ Oil Empire: Drilling Into Power, Money & Ethics.”

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