|(a) Participation in Contested Cases.
(1) When considering contested case issues, a Railroad Commissioner
shall not allow any relationship, personal or pecuniary, to influence decisions
or policies, and shall not convey, or permit others to convey, the impression
that any person is in a special position to influence commission decisions.
(2) A commissioner will recuse himself or herself from a contested
case issue any time his or her impartiality might reasonably be questioned,
including but not limited to, any time he or she, or anyone within the third
degree of kinship by affinity or consanguinity with the commissioner:
(A) is a party to the proceeding;
(B) is acting as counsel to a party; or
(C) has a financial or other interest in the matter in controversy
that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.
(3) A commissioner otherwise subject to the provisions of paragraph
(2) of this subsection who elects not to recuse himself or herself will place
in the record, and in the Texas Register ,
a written explanation of any potential conflict and a reasoned justification
for not complying with paragraph (2) of this subsection.
(4) A commissioner who believes another commissioner has violated
this section shall raise the issue in a posted meeting at the first opportunity.
(b) Interpretation guidance. The following commentary is to
assist in the application of this section.
(1) In considering whether to recuse himself or herself from
deliberation or decision in any particular contested case, a commissioner
should consult Rule 18b, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, which pertains to
judges. Reference to this rule is appropriate for a commissioner acting in
a quasi-judicial capacity.
(2) In subsection (a) of this section, the degree of relationship
should be computed according to Texas Government Code, Chapter 573.