In a statement Sen. Carlos Uresti said he was spending Thursday at the state legislature doing the people’s work. But he was nowhere to be found. State Rep. Tomas Uresti was there and defended his younger brother.
“I’m standing by my brother 150 percent and there are things that have to follow, that have to take place before anybody can say he’s done wrong. It’s like one of the most famous sayings, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and in my eyes my brother is innocent," the older Uresti says.
Outside the senate chambers Uresti’s colleagues were reluctant to comment. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued a statement saying Uresti should be presumed innocent until there’s proof to the contrary.
Sen. Eddie Lucio, a Brownsville Democrat has worked alongside Uresti for the last 10 years. Lucio expressed concern for how the federal investigation would reflect on the Texas Senate.
“I certainly hope that he’s done nothing wrong in violating the law because that doesn’t look good for the Senate. I think people here feel as I do that if one or two of our members violates the Ethics rules or violates the law in any way that it kind of falls back on the Senate because we’re a family," Lucio says.
Rice University Political Science Professor Mark Jones says the federal investigation may effect Uresti’s ability to secure votes for his legislation.
“Overall this is definitely be a distractions for Sen. Uresti and he, without question, will be less effective this session than he would have otherwise been had the IRS and FBI not been investigating him," Jones explains.
Uresti has been a member of the Texas Legislature for nearly 20 years. He is the only San Antonio Democrat serving on the Senate’s powerful Finance committee, and he’s a key point person on child protective services reforms.