Mayoral candidate David Saucedo has filed a corrected campaign finance report after his opponent’s treasurer filed an ethics complaint against him.
Saucedo, 32, resubmitted his campaign finance report to the City Clerk’s Office on Monday evening without the “designation of final report” page.
“The only change is the last page on said report has been removed as it was submitted inadvertently,” he states on the form.
The complaint was filed with the Texas Ethics Commission on Thursday by El Paso attorney Oscar Javier Ornelas, who is listed as candidate Dee Margo’s campaign treasurer.
It allege Saucedo violated Texas Election Code when he electronically signed the “designation of final report,” an affidavit which typically marks the end of campaign fundraising and spending. Saucedo filed the report with the city on April 7, but continued raising funds for his campaign, the complaint alleges.
Saucedo could not be reached for comment.
The complaint alleges that by doing so, Saucedo “technically withdrew from the mayor’s race.” It goes on to state that Saucedo’s name should be removed from the ballot because the violations make him ineligible to serve in office.
Ian Steusloff, general counsel for the Texas Ethics Commission, signing a final report does not necessarily disqualify the candidate from being eligible for office although it does terminate the campaign treasurer appointee.
Steusloff said if the candidate resumes fundraising, a new campaign treasurer would have to be appointed and subsequent campaign finance reports would have to be filed.
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Margo, 65, said he still has questions about whether Saucedo terminated his campaign by filing the final report form. He also said he is not certain that filing the correction form is sufficient to reverse the move.
Steusloff said whether filing a new form as Saucedo did would constitute an adequate correction would be determined on a case-by-case basis.
The complaint also alleges Saucedo violated the state election code when he filed an affidavit affirming he did not raise or spend more than $20,000 before Jan. 17. That would have exempted Saucedo from having to file electronically.
The submitted hand-written campaign finance report shows he raised nearly $48,000 from September to December 2016 and spent nearly $37,000 in that same time period.
Saucedo has not submitted a corrected affidavit for the Jan. 17 report.
Steusloff said the ethics commission reviews complaints to determine whether there is jurisdiction and if it the complaint can be accepted, which typically takes five business days.
If a complaint is reviewed by the commission, a determination on whether a violation was committed can take anywhere from a few weeks to more than six months, Stuesloff said.
Saucedo and Margo are among eight candidates vying for the mayoral seat in the May 6 election. Early voting continues through May 2.[“Source-elpasotimes”]