Ted Cruz accepted over $10,000 worth of Warriors-Rockets tickets as gifts

Sen. Ted Cruz accepted over $10,000 worth of tickets to the 2018 Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets as gifts, according to financial disclosure forms filed with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics this week.

Robert Marling, the CEO of Woodforest National Bank and a Republican donor, paid for Cruz’s $5,175 ticket to Game 7, and Jeff Roe, the campaign manager for Cruz’s 2016 presidential bid, paid for his $5,000 ticket to Game 5. Both games were at the Toyota Center in Houston.

The filing raised some eyebrows since Senate ethics rules state that senators cannot accept gifts worth more than $50, with certain exceptions.

The rules state, “A member, officer, or employee may accept a gift, other than cash or cash equivalent, having a value of less than $50, provided that the source of the gift is not a registered lobbyist, foreign agent, or private entity that retains or employs such individuals. The cumulative value of gifts that may be accepted from any one source in a calendar year must be less than $100.”

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However, according to the Houston Chronicle, the rules do allow for gifts “given on the basis of a personal friendship” — “unless there is reason to believe that the gift was provided because of the individual’s official position.”

If a gift falls under that category, the senator must receive written approval from the Ethics Committee.

The Ethics Committee has not responded to multiple news outlets’ requests for comment on whether Cruz received committee approval.

A Cruz spokeswoman told the Houston Chronicle in a statement, “Sen. Cruz filed his required ethics disclosure in accordance with all applicable rules and guidance from the Senate Ethics Committee.”

The senator tweeted a picture of himself next to the court just prior to Game 7, and many Rockets fans blamed him for “cursing” the team after the Warriors won and advanced to another NBA Finals.

Eric Ting is an SFGATE staff writer. Email: eric.ting@sfgate.com | Twitter:@_ericting

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Ted-Cruz-Rockets-Warriors-tickets-ethics-rules-NBA-14331493.php.

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