Todd Smith, a political consultant for Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, was indicted last week on felony charges of theft and commercial bribery related to hemp licenses, the Texas Tribune reports. Smith was arrested last May, accused of taking $55,000 in the scheme and soliciting at least $150,000 to guarantee a hemp license — which cost $100.
Miller has maintained his innocence in the scheme and in a statement, Smith’s attorneys defended their client, saying that he “intends to vigorously defend himself against the allegations.” Smith remains employed by the commissioner.
“It happens every election. They know they’re not going to get you on anything, but the process is the penalty. All they need is a headline: Sid Miller’s political consultant under investigation for selling hemp licenses. Well, they brought him in for questioning. They said ‘OK, this was 8 months ago, they said we’re not filing charges and we’re not indicting you,’ so end of the story, folks, move on. But they got the headlines, so they bring up that old crap.” — Miller to the Houston Chronicle
In one case, Smith is accused of using a middle man to retrieve $30,000 in cash from a prospective hemp farmer in exchange for a guaranteed hemp license, according to a Texas Tribune report following his May arrest. Once the would-be licensee found out he was not at all guaranteed a license, he contacted Smith who denied knowing anything about the $30,000 exchange but admitted to receiving a $5,000 gift from the middle man.
During an appearance on conservative radio host Chad Hasty’s show last week, Miller said he would review the indictment and suggested it was politically motivated.
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