Family Affair: DA Craig Watkins' Family Rolling in Dough From His Campaign Funds

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins has paid family members or businesses they own more than $85,000 from his campaign funds, according to Unfair Park's review of his campaign finance reports.

In addition, after his election in November 2006, Watkins begin paying utilities for his campaign office, which include a total of $28,000 for phone bills (an average of $820 per payment, and this does not include his cell phone), $21,000 for electric bills ($630 per payment), $4,900 for gas bills ($220 per payment), $4,200 for lawn care bills ($135 per payment), $2,300 for water bills ($110 per payment) and $900 for alarm monitoring bills ($27 per payment).

The trouble is, his tiny campaign office shares space with a private business owned by Watkins and his wife, plus a handful of other businesses owned by family members, and it's not clear from the reports if those businesses are paying their share of the utility bills.

Converting campaign funds for personal use is against state law.

Unfair Park tried repeatedly to ask Watkins about the expenditures from his campaign funds, but he didn't respond to written questions and several phone calls, except to assert through a spokesman -- his cousin -- that he has done nothing wrong.

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Sam Merten
Contact: Sam Merten