Saturday, January 28, 2017

Two Ethics Complaint Filed Against Jaime Barceleau

In a pretty serious early blow to his campaign, District 3 candidate Jaime Barceleau will likely have to go before the city ethics commission and answer questions as to why he didn't file his campaign finance report on time.

The complaint was filed by Cassandra Hernandez-Brown, a fellow candidate for District 3. The full statement follows (I drew attention to her quote by making it bold to make it easier to find). What makes this unique is that the ethics complaint was filed not only with the state, but with the El Paso Ethics Commission that is also hearing complaints against the Mayor and members of council for alleged violations of the Open Meetings Act and complaints against the City Attorney for not referring those complaints to outside council.

Barceleau came in with the most amount of money by far. He's bank-rolled by the rich ruling class to a greater degree than any of the other candidates - to include the mayoral candidates.

I think her quote summed up the situation nicely - with all the issues going on at the city, its important to have people that understand the very basic tenants of being entrusted with the people's voice.

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El Paso, Texas January 28, 2017. Today Cassandra Hernandez-Brown, candidate for City Council, District 3, submitted complaints with both the Texas Ethics Commission and the El Paso Ethics Commission against one of her opponents Jaime Barceleau. Ms. Hernandez-Brown asserts that Mr. Barceleau violated requirements to file timely campaign finance reports, failed to file electronic reports as required by City Code and falsely claimed an exemption for the requirement to file electronically.

"City leaders are mired in unprecedented disfunction that threatens the progress of our community. We've seen that those inside City Hall are incapable of following even the basic obligations of the Open Meetings Act and the Open Records Act that help maintain the trust and confidence of the public. There will be no public trust until we have leaders who understand the basics of governance, leadership and transparency.  We can't waste our votes anymore on people who don't take the time to know and follow the law and who are not honest with the public. It is for this reason that I have chosen to file these complaints and to make these concerns public, especially to residents of my district," says Cassandra Hernandez-Brown.

Campaign finance reports required by State law are critical tools that allow voters to know who contributed to a campaign and how campaign funds were spent. Candidate Jaime Barceleau filed his Semiannual Report on January 18, 2017, one day after the reporting deadline set by State law. He filed handwritten reports even though the City of El Paso's Ethics Ordinance requires that the reports be filed electronically. Mr. Barceleau also falsely claimed an exemption to the electronic filing requirement by filing an Affidavit for Candidate or Officeholder: Electronic Filing Exemption where he swears that he has "not accepted more than $20,000 in political contributions or made more than $20,000 in political expenditures in a calendar year." This sworn statement is false. He raised $35,140 in contributions  from the reporting period covering 7/1/2016 to 12/31/2016 well in excess of the amount that would trigger electronic filing.

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