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El Paso City Rep. Hernandez claims she didn’t lie when she said she was the only one who used her gas card

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- El Paso City Rep. Cassandra Hernandez accused ABC-7 of taking her out of context when we aired her response to a question about the use of her taxpayer-funded gas card. But you can be the judge. You can see that response on the video player above.

Hernandez was a guest on The Buzz Adams Morning Show on KLAQ on Friday. She discussed the use of her city-issued fuel card and her run for mayor of El Paso.

As a member of the Financial Oversight and Audit Committee, Hernandez voted to approve the audit that found that her gas card was used to spend nearly $6,700 in 2022.

The City of El Paso's Chief Internal Auditor said he found Hernandez's card use excessive. The audit showed she spent thousand of dollars more than other city representatives.

A person called KLAQ and said that KVIA aired a clip where she told us that she was the only one who used her gas card.

"Has anyone in your family or any friends used your gas card? Can you say today if it's just you?" ABC-7 asked Hernandez in May of 2023.

"Yes, I can confidently say I'm the only one who uses it," Hernandez responded. "In fact, I have thousands of dollars of personal expenses that we used for our family, for fuel expenses."

When ABC-7 aired that response, we were transparent and aired our full question and her answer.

But on the radio segment Friday, she said she was taken out of context.

"You mentioned the KVIA story. I've asked them to share the entire statement that I've said," Hernandez told the radio host. "In the context of that conversation, it wasn't related to my husband. The question was referencing, you know, my primas, my cousins, you know, my mom, my family. What I considered to be my expenses is including my husband."

Hernandez mantained she said she didn't lie.

"So, no, that was not a lie, but it was a missed opportunity to clarify. KVIA refuses to do that," Hernandez said.

"Why would KVIA refuse to do that?" Buzz Adams asked Hernandez.

"I've asked, show the entire statement and also it was completely taken out of context," Hernandez said.

But as you can see on the video player at the top of this article, a longer clip shows the context before the question and after the question.

ABC-7 did not ask her about her extended family. ABC-7 directly asked her to confirm whether she was the only one using her gas card.

ABC-7'S question was clear and our reporting was complete.

"We stand by our reporting regarding Cassandra Hernandez’s use of city-issued gas cards," said Sean Flanagan,  ABC-7's news director.

It's important to note, at the time, ABC-7 didn't know her husband was the one who also used the fuel card.

Here's the timeline in 2023, when ABC-7 began to report on this.

May 3: El Paso City Council discussed the audit report that states Hernandez's gas card was likely used to fuel two vehicles.

May 9: Hernandez told ABC-7 she was the only one who uses the card.

May 25: ABC-7 obtained security video that shows Hernandez's husband using her gas card.

The footage captured him fueling his pickup truck with premium gas. 

We hope this puts any questions to rest.

Hernandez ended up paying back the city the $6,700.

The El Paso Ethics Commission found she violated the city's ethics code in July of 2023. The commission issued a letter of reprimand.

The El Paso Police Department also investigated and said investigators could not find anything criminal in their review.

The city didn't have any rules like spending limits regarding the gas cards. The use of the fuel cards was terminated last year.

However, most recently ABC-7 learned El Paso's FBI completed an investigation into the use of the gas cards. It's now in the hands of federal prosecutors who will decide whether to pursue charges.

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Jesus A. Rodriguez

KVIA ABC-7 News executive producer


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