DALLAS (CBS11) – A political chess move or an illegal bribe disguised as financial help? A dispute between two Dallas County political candidates has elevated to a complaint filed with the Texas Secretary of State’s Office.
County Commissioner District 2 candidate Stephen Stanley claims a recorded conversation with fellow candidate J.J. Koch documents an illegal offer to pay Stanley if he left the District 2 race.
“And if you have any debts incurred by the campaign, I’m happy to write a check for that,” Koch can be heard stating on the recording.
Koch, a Dallas area lawyer, confirmed Thursday the voice on the recording is his, but he says was not committing any unethical or illegal act. “I was offering to help him if he had campaign debts, and was looking to leave the race. This was not a bribe,” Koch said.
Stanley, a former Garland City Councilman, said the phone call discussed several disputes regarding the campaign, including discussion over whether he would leave the race.
“I’m perfectly fine. My consultant has a pretty good game strategy,” Stanley responded to Koch’s payment offer. Stanley said the phone call, recorded last October, troubled him for a while. “It took me off guard. In the first five minutes he offered to pay off any campaign debt, if I had any,” he said.
Koch’s attorney Pete Schulte said nothing in the conversation would constitute a criminal bribe.
“This is politics. Koch is the front runner in the race, and they know it,” Schulte said.