Politics

Texas Rangers Launch Criminal Investigation Of Ag Commissioner Sid Miller

The inquiry comes just days after federal securities regulators filed civil fraud charges against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Sid Miller
Sid Miller

State law enforcement officials opened a criminal investigation of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. Public integrity investigators with the Texas Rangers are looking into charges Miller spent public funds for personal reasons.

The left-leaning group Progress Texas requested an investigation last month, after the Houston Chronicle reported that Miller used taxpayer money to travel to Oklahoma. There he received a medical procedure known as the “Jesus shot,” which supposedly reduces chronic pain. The group filed a second request, following revelations that Miller had traveled to Mississippi to compete in a rodeo.

“We’ve had some scandals in Texas political history that have been much more involved and have included many more personnel, but we’ve had fewer who have been so outlandish and bizarre as Sid Miller’s,” says Brandon Rottinghaus, associate professor of political science at the University of Houston.

Miller spokesman Todd Smith says Progress Texas is trying to harass its political opponents.

But Rice University political scientist Bob Stein says Miller’s conduct has hurt his ability to carry out his official duties. “More importantly,” he says, “it’s on the heels of, of course, the attorney general’s (Ken Paxton’s) problems, and going back as far as last summer when Health and (Human) Services (Executive Commissioner) Kyle Janek was under scrutiny and was essentially forced to resign over bidding contracts improperly.”

Stein says all this creates a political headache for Governor Greg Abbott. Abbott, himself a former state attorney general, ran for the governorship on a platform of ethics reform.

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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