Yeats under scrutiny: Judge denies misusing funds

118th District Court Judge Tim Yeats said this morning there is no merit to allegations he misused campaign funds during his 2010 election run.“A complaint has been filed against me with the Texas Ethics Commission by an individual from East Texas,” Yeats said in a press release this morning. “I deny the allegations made in that complaint. I am in the process of responding to the Ethics Commission concerning the matter. I am comfortable that I have done nothing wrong and the Ethics Commission will find no violations of campaign finance laws once this matter is fully reviewed.”Tim Sorrells, deputy general counsel for the Texas Ethics Commission, said office could neither confirm or deny a complaint had been submitted to the TEC regarding Yeats' campaign spending during the 2010 election.“We are prohibited by law from disclosing whether or not a complaint has been filed,” Sorrells said this morning. “Speaking completely hypothetically, if an investigation is conducted and penalties are assessed, then the complaint will become a matter of public record. However, if no wrong-doing is found then the matter would simply remain confidential.”Sorrells dismissed reports from other area news outlets claiming TEC had confirmed there was an investigation currently ongoing.Yeats' office, however, expressed knowledge of an investigation this morning.According to Sorrells, once a complaint is filed and both parties are notified, the defendant in the matter has between 10 to 25 days to submit a response, at which time TEC will decide whether to launch an investigation into the alleged wrongdoing.“If wrongdoing is found, then the commission can issue a penalty,” Sorrells said. “It's hard to say how long an investigation, if launched, can take to complete.”