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Ethics complaints against El Paso Rep. Cassandra Hernandez dismissed

Cassandra Hernandez
KVIA file
El Paso City Council member Cassandra Hernandez.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story failed to include the position of the city of El Paso's Ethics Review Commission. It has since been updated.

EL PASO, Texas -- Ethics commissions with the city of El Paso and the state of Texas have rejected an ethics complaint filed against El Paso City Councilwoman Cassandra Hernandez.

"The complaint will not be referred to the Commission for further review and/or action," wrote Frank Garza, the attorney for the city's Ethics Review Commission in a letter dated November 21st.

"The complaint does not comply with the legal requirements for a sworn complaint," wrote Preston Tom, the Texas Ethics Commission's attorney in a letter from November 6th.

The documents were provided to ABC-7 by Rep. Hernandez.

The complaint, filed by local attorney Casey Williams on October 31st, argued that the city councilwoman illegally solicited campaign donations because she allegedly failed to file the necessary documents for a campaign treasurer.

"A review of documents filed by Councilwoman Hernandez with the City Clerk clearly show that a campaign treasurer was appointed pursuant to the form required the Election Code," wrote Garza.

"The complaint does not allege facts or provide evidence that would indicate that the respondent did not file a campaign treasurer appointment with the local filing authority," wrote Tom. "Therefore, the complaint does not make an allegation that, if true, would constitute a violation... of the Election Code."

The complaint also alleged that Hernandez should have resigned from her position when her staff member announced her candidacy for mayor.

According to the attorney, the Texas Ethics Commission has no jurisdiction over "Resign-to-Run" provisions. Tom said that Williams "may wish" to contact the El Paso City Attorney regarding that part of the complaint.

Incumbent City Councilwoman Hernandez will face Will Veliz in a runoff election on December 14th.

In the November 5th election, Hernandez received 46% of the votes for the District 3 City Council Race. However, she did not pass the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff. Veliz received 29% of the votes.

Article Topic Follows: El Paso

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.


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