Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Morgan's Mammoth Mistake

Sam Morgan really messed up and then compounded the mistake by messing up even worse.

And frankly, it doesn't bode well for his demeanor which is already a major problem on council.

District 4 candidate Sam Morgan appears to have paid his rent for his business using campaign funds according to a recent article in the El Paso Times. To read the story, click this link.

The problem is that its a violation of campaign laws to do so if he indeed did you the campaign funds to pay for his rent. However, if he rented an entirely different space that just happened to be in the same building, that would be a different story.

It would lead to questions about why he didn't indicate it was a different office in the same building on his report, and a reporter might have asked to see a copy of a lease or something, and he might have had to explain why it was only two months rent when leases usually aren't made for two months, but its also not unheard of.

But instead he did something worse - he tipped his hand that he at least thinks something might have been wrong with what he did because when he was reached by the reporter, "Morgan declined to comment and hung up when asked if he used campaign money to pay himself rent."

Its hard to see how he had a legit campaign office at his business in a separate suite at the same location when his business isn't even in the district he's campaigning to represent. I don't recall someone setting up a campaign headquarters that isn't in the area they are running in.

El Paso Mayoral candidates don't have their campaign headquarters in Socorro. Although they do mail to Socorro apparently.

Morgan hanging up and refusing to answer questions about the issue was literally the dumbest thing he could have done. Its entirely possible that he rented another room there at that building. I've been there, its entirely possible.

But refusing to answer and then hanging up isn't what someone does when they have rented another suite on the up-and-up. Morgan missed a real opportunity to explain to the people he wants to represent what the deal was with the expenditure.

Now he's given his opponents something concrete to use to tag his integrity. And trust me, after how Morgan pushed a story against Diana Ramos not having lived in the district very long, I doubt she's gonna pull any punches now that she has something to hit back with. Trustworthiness has been a big issue to voters in the northeast after the string of recent scandals at city hall.

Morgan - in yet another example of candidates screwing themselves with self-inflicted wounds - has given voters something to question. He had been walking a bit of a tightrope since he decided to cut his hair to run for office. He loved the media attention that day, which was probably the most blatant way to pander to voters that I can recall in a local election in years.

But he also was rolling the dice with his credibility when he came out agains the downtown arena location due to pressure from people like Max Grossman, while simultaneously implying his support for Emma Acosta by referring to her as "future mayor" and taking a now-controversial campaign donation from Dee Margo, both of whom support the current location of the downtown arena.

This issue draws a bright red line underneath credibility now. Especially because hanging up on someone isn't the act of a steady, even-handed leader. Its something my teenaged daughter does when she's mad at one of her friends. And Morgan's temperament has been seething from day one - I wrote a long time ago about the tone his attack on Diana Ramos and how he seemed annoyed anyone had decided to run against him for the D4 seat.

And it was avoidable. All Morgan had to do was simply answer the question and the story would've been a short blurb no-one remembers.

The question for his opponents is what do they do with the mistake? I'd expect it to be on a piece of mail out to voters before election day.

And that ladies and gentlemen, is political karma coming back to haunt a candidate...

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