Herrero Milks Medicaid Despite Constitutional Prohibition

Texans for Fiscal Responsibility is calling on State Rep. Abel Herrero to forfeit all proceeds a company owned by his wife has received from the state Medicaid program.

At a press conference in Corpus Christi, TFR president Michael Quinn Sullivan provided copies of Herrero’s personal financial disclosure statement that shows the Democratic lawmaker receives income from St. Benedicts Home Health, Inc., and newly provided to the press and public the amount of Medicaid money — $143,000 – the State of Texas has sent directly to St. Benedicts since September 1, 2007.

“State Representative Abel Herrero is certainly violating the spirit of the state constitution, if not indeed the letter, by making money off the Medicaid program,” said Sullivan. “St. Benedict’s Home Health Care has received $143,000 from the Medicaid program since September of 2007. That means our tax dollars are going into Herrero’s pocket.”

Herrero is receiving income tied to Medicaid because his wife is the CEO of St. Benedicts. Herrero also sits on a legislative committee with oversight of this field, and specifically requested a seniority appointment to that committee.

“It is, quite frankly, outrageous that Herrero sits on a legislative committee that oversees the very health and human services agency which distributes money to his wife’s company,” said Sullivan. “And Herrero requested this committee assignment just months after he began making money off Medicaid.”

“Even two former Democrat attorney generals have written opinions that make it clear that a sitting legislator can’t make money off state contracts when they have voted on legislation that appropriates money.”

Sullivan also provided reporters language from the Texas Constitution, Article 3, Section 18, which states:

“No member of either House shall vote for any other member for any office whatever, which may be filled by a vote of the Legislature, except in such cases as are in the Constitution provided, nor shall any member of the Legislature be interested, either directly or indirectly, in any contract with the State, or any county thereof, authorized by any law passed during the term for which he was elected.”

Sullivan called on Herrero to, “do the right thing. He and his wife should cut all ties to this company, and return every dime they have made off the taxpayers.”

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