Monday, March 1, 2010

Christine Pacheco & Robert Andrade Deal with Donation Issue

If you heard my show last week then you heard me discuss something that I think is worth some clarification. If you read the El Paso Times last week, very carefully because it was hard to find, you would've seen a piece talking about Pacheco returning a certain amount of money that had been donated to her.

Pacheco had taken more money than was allowed under election rules for judicial candidates.

The article leads the reader to believe that it was an error that was caught by the campaign.

If you were under that impression, you are wrong.

The piece in the El Paso Times specifically says, “She said she recently discovered that the firm's total contributions of close to $6,000 exceeded the limit on law firms established by the Texas Ethics Commission.”

She discovered that the contributions exceeded the limit because I told her campaign manager about it. Stick with me here, I want to lay out the timeline for you.

I also wanted to write about this because there are some things that you don't see transpire during an interview on the radio. I had come across the contributions and got a hold of the relevant documents.

I had the documents organized in a folder complete with tabs and highlighted sections to guide me through the law. I told Pacheco and her campaign manager, Robert Andrade that I was going to ask the question during the break, so that she wouldn't feel like she was ambushed.

Andrade did most of the talking; he's a lot more diplomatic than Pacheco. He told me that they had already been asked about the donation by a reporter from the El Paso Times, Adrianna Chavez. I guess the implication was supposed to be that it was nothing because the Times hadn't written about it.

I really didn't get a chance to get the question out before Pacheco started telling me how I was wrong, so I got the impression that she was familiar with the issue.

I then asked her the question on air and she all but dared me to call the state Ethics Commission to verify a particular sticking point (whether a law firm was considered on person or counted individually).

So I did.

Turns out, I was right and she had exceeded the maximum amount.

So I ran into Andrade the next day at a polling place. I told him what I'd found out and that I needed to get comment from Pacheco. He said he'd be happy to get me comment but that it would have to be later in the day.

I never heard back from him.

A couple of days later, the El Paso Times version of the story came out.

Not a front page piece, but buried on a subsequent page. The Times didn't get a quote from Pacheco either, but they did get a nice quote from Andrade about transparency.

I just wanted to explain what happened on my show when I asked about the issue nearly a week before the Times piece came out because I thought it would give a deeper understanding of the sequence of events.

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