So what do we know?
We know that State Representative, unlike most of her colleagues in the El Paso Delegation, does not report rent expenditures one would assume she would have during a legislative session.
We know that an El Paso native, Rene Lara, is a registered lobbyist for the Texas AFL-CIO.
And that there is Rene Lara that has made contributions to labor and Democratic candidates that claims this address.
Why does this all matter?
Per the Texas Ethics Commission:
A lobbyist may make necessary expenditures for transportation and lodging for the following purposes only:
- to explore matters directly related to the state officer’s or employee’s duties, such as a fact-finding trip, including attendance at an informational conference, seminar, educational program, or attendance at an event where the state officer or employee provides services (such as giving a speech or participating on a panel) that are “more than merely perfunctory.”
- a trip in connection with a conference, educational program, or similar event, if the state officer or employee provides services at the event (such as giving a speech or participating on a panel) that are “more than merely perfunctory.”
You see the address that a Rene Lara claimed with the Nevada Secretary of State, and the zip code that a Rene Lara claimed with the Texas Ethics Commission, is the same address that State Representative Mary Gonzalez claims.
Gonzalez claimed that address in 2005: Download 990 Form Senate Hispanic Research Council (page 16).
Gonzalez claimed that address in March 2013: Download Izel Consulting LLC Certificate of Formation.
Today, per a Texas state agency, Gonzalez still claims that address.
All this information is available to the public.
Is it just coincidence that a legislator and a person named Rene Lara, that happens to be the name of a lobbyist, share or shared the same address?
But what if it is not?
Then there are some questions.
Did a lobbyist pay for Gonzalez's rent?
Did a lobbyist pay for Gonzalez's utility bills?
Did a lobbyist live with Gonzalez?
We would not have to ask these questions if Gonzalez was as transparent as her colleagues, but she is not.
Who knows? Maybe there is a reasonable explanation for all of this, but then the only one that can explain this is Gonzalez.