EL PASO, Texas -- The El Paso County judge overseeing a lawsuit against Walmart filed by victims' families of the Aug. 3 mass shooting is now claiming to have returned a $10,000 campaign contribution from the out-of-town law firm representing those families.
His campaign marketing director, on the eve of the Texas primary election, said Monday that Judge Sergio Enriquez had decided to return the contribution - which sparked ethics questions among the public after ABC-7 reported on it last week.
Campaign finance records on file with the Texas Ethics Commission showed Enriquez, who is seeking re-election Tuesday as judge of the 448th District Court, received the $10,000 contribution from the Ammons Law Firm out of Houston.
On Friday, Enriquez's marketing manager Orlando Rodriguez had defended the judge accepting the donation saying that it posed no ethical conflict.
But on Monday, Rodriguez said the campaign had since sent a reimbursement check to Ammons repaying the $10,000. However, Ammons was unable to immediately confirm if it had received a check from the campaign.
ABC-7 made several attempts again Monday to speak directly with the judge about the contribution, but he didn't make himself available for an interview.
The $10,000 donation to Enriquez's campaign amounted to roughly 40% of his total contributions contained in a campaign finance filing that covered Jan. 24 to Feb. 22. Enriquez spent more than $25,000 during that time.
His opponent, Abe Gonzalez, received just $1,975 in total contributions, but spent $23,806 in that same period.