Todd Smith, adviser to Texas Agriculture Commissioner, arrested on hemp licensing scandal
Todd Smith, senior policy advisor to Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, was arrested earlier this week on charges of accepting money in exchange for state hemp licenses.
The claims made against him also alleged that he had requested campaign contributions. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, he allegedly took $ 55,000. Overall, everyone involved in the system is accused of having requested a total of 150,000 US dollars for license guarantees. The group reportedly raised $ 25,000 upfront for these deals. As part of this, Smith is charged with third-degree crime theft.
“Todd Smith’s words and behavior created a false impression of fact that influenced the judgment of others in transactions to obtain a hemp license and / or conduct a survey that Todd Smith never attempted,” the affidavit read.
In response to these allegations, Miller alleged that he “had no idea” that this was going on and that Smith could not be reached for comment.
“That was Todd, between him and his client,” Miller said of the situation.
“This matter is being investigated by the Texas Rangers on behalf of the Department of Public Security in collaboration with the Travis County Attorney’s Office,” said Travis Considine, a spokesman for the Department of Public Security, said a statement. “Our offices will keep the community updated as more information becomes available.”
Todd Smith published on Bond
Smith was arrested and sent to Travis County Jail this week, but was released the next day on a personal note of $ 10,000.
The charges against Smith allege that he used someone else as a middleman to help people obtain licenses, but the prosecution does not yet identify who that person is. Apparently, the middle man would tell those searching for licenses that he “works directly with top management at TDA” and “needs $ 150,000 in cash, with some of the money going to campaign contributions to get the“ guaranteed ”hemp to obtain license. “
According to the affidavit, the system came to a head when a man seeking a license agreed to the bribe and delivered the middle man $ 30,000 in cash. The anonymous, hopeful hemp farmer later learned that he was not guaranteed a license. He called Smith, and Smith “then denied any knowledge but admitted receiving a gift of $ 5,000.00 from the middle man in the situation,” the allegations made. It is not yet clear who exactly was involved or how much knowledge the various defendants had.
Hemp licenses were made available to interested parties in 2019 when House Bill 1325 was incorporated into law. This allowed state farmers to grow industrial hemp legally, although they are still not allowed to grow cannabis containing THC. It’s also not clear how long this has been a problem in the Texan hemp industry.
Nor is this the first time Smith has fallen on the wrong side of the law. He had previously been called for blurred lines in his campaign when he allegedly told a San Antonio businessman that a donation to Miller’s campaign would earn him an appointment at the Texas Department of Agriculture. Smith also asked the man for a $ 29,000 personal loan. This series of events doesn’t look good for the current situation.
Smith has been on Miller’s team for years when Miller initially created four assistant commissioners to support his own position. Another was given to Smith’s wife, Kellie Housewright-Smith. Salaries for these positions started at $ 180,000.
As of the ongoing investigation, there have been many issues affecting Smith and Miller’s team. Hopefully, hemp farmers in Texas will find it easier from now on when this comes to light.
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