The Dallas County Commissioner’s race erupted into scandal yesterday when one of the candidates played an audio recording of him being offered a bribe to step down.
Mr Stephen Stanley, a former Garland City Council member, is a candidate in a three-man race for Dalles County Commissioner. This week, the otherwise very quiet race for the Republican-leaning northern Dallas County seat became riddled with scandal when Mr Stanley decided to play a tape at the latest meeting. In it, you can hear one of his opponents, Mr J.J. Koch, tell him over the phone: 'I'm happy to write a check' if you drop out.
<iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1IYScW5nLDM" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Mr Stanley said that a few minutes into the call he started to feel uncomfortable, so he grabbed his daughter’s cell phone and started recording Mr Koch speaking to him.
The call clearly states, and Mr Koch does not deny it: "If you have any debts incurred by the campaign, I'm happy to write a check for that."
Mr Stanley responded: "You know, I appreciate the offer to pay off any debt and all of that kind of good stuff, but I'm in this for the long haul."
The recording as well as an official complaint have now been submitted to the secretary of state's office. If they decide to press charges against Mr Koch, they could refer the matter to Attorney General Ken Paxton's office who can then open a criminal investigation.
"Mr. Koch offered me a financial bribe to quit," Mr Stanley told reporters present at the hearing.
"He was offering to buy me out of the race. I was shocked and amazed."
Mr Koch meanwhile declared that he had no bad intentions at all and simply saw the proposal as a way to "act in a gentlemanly fashion."
"I was trying to help a guy out that clearly has major money issues."
For some strange reason Mr Koch had brought his attorney, Mr Pete Schulte, with him, who commented: "He was going to be made even, he wasn't getting any money. Under Texas law, that is not a bribe."
"At the most, that would be a political contribution to a candidate to get rid of the debt."