EL PASO, Texas - The campaign treasurer for mayoral candidate Dee Margo has filed an ethics complaint against rival mayoral candidate, David Saucedo, with the Texas Ethics Commission.
Local tax attorney Oscar Ornelas argues Saucedo should be removed from the ballot. He's alleging Saucedo's campaign violated numerous municipal and Texas election code laws, and conducted impermissible fund raising.
When ABC-7 first contacted Ormelas to learn more about the ethics complaint, he did not identify himself as Margo's campaign treasurer.
"I think it's an act of desperation by Dee Margo," Saucedo told ABC-7 after we informed him of the complaint. "He's feeling the heat and this is his final Hail Mary."
Saucedo says Margo and his campaign treasurer are being "petty."
Ornelas, who declined an on-camera interview, told ABC-7, "Apart from what's already in black and white in the complaint, I really don't have any other comment. I think the complaint is self explanatory."
The complaint alleges Saucedo violated the law with his first campaign finance report, reporting in writing more than $47,000 in contributions. Ornelas says State law and municipal ordinance both require campaign finance reports to be filed electronically if contributions are over $20,000.
He also alleges Saucedo filed his most recent campaign finance report as his "final" one, thus terminating his campaign and treasurer although he has continued to raise money.
Saucedo acknowledges his campaign treasurer may have made a mistake.
"If f there are errors we will fix them, and that's what it is and we're going to keep going," Saucedo told ABC-7. "This is the type of stuff that the people of El Paso are tired of, petty political games, and that's why I'm here, and that's why I'm running and that's why my message has been resonating."
Margo sent ABC-7 the following text message: "All candidates should be held to a higher standard. El Paso cannot afford less! If you cannot take care of small issues, how can you handle the big ones?"
Early voting starts Monday and election day May 6.
The Texas Ethics Commission told ABC-7 they will make a decision within five days whether they will accept the complaint.
While Saucedo promised to correct the possible mistakes, both Margo and Ornelas pointed to the municipal code. It allows 14 days to fix a mistake, however, that final campaign report was filed by Saucedo's campaign on April 6.