Naxiely Lopez of the Monitor is reporting that Hidalgo County Commissioner AC Cuellar has filed suit against his opponent David Fuentes claiming Fuentes committed “fundamental campaign finance violations regarding transparency of the political system.”
From the article:
From the petition:
10. At various times through calendar years 2015 and 2016, Defendant Fuentes hid various campaign contributions and expenditures from public scrutiny.
11. Defendant Fuentes failed to report approximately $28,000 in campaign contributions in his report ending December 31, 2015.
12. Defendant Fuentes failed to report approximately $11,000 in campaign expenditures in his report ending January 21, 2016.
13. Defendant Fuentes failed to report approximately $1,700 in campaign expenditures in his report ending February 20, 2016.
14. Defendant Fuentes failed to report approximately $55,000 in campaign expenditures and/or $55,000 in contributions received via credit card charges for good and/or services in his report ending June 30, 2016.
15. Defendant Fuentes failed to report in-kind contributions regarding the use of the Tierra Santa Golf Club on multiple dates, in both 2015 and 2016, for purposes of fundraisers. Either Defendant Fuentes paid for use of the golf course and failed to disclose it, or Defendant Fuentes received in-kind contributions of significant value that he failed to list in his campaign finance reports.
16. In the course of the campaign Defendant Fuentes allegedly loaned his campaign approximately $400,000 in personal funds. Based upon information and belief, Defendant Fuentes failed to accurately and transparently report the true underlying source of the loans in question.
AC is suing for twice the unreported contributions and twice unreported expenditures and attorneys fees, per the Texas Election Code 254.231 which states:
Sec. 254.231. LIABILITY TO CANDIDATES. (a) A candidate or campaign treasurer or assistant campaign treasurer of a political committee who fails to report in whole or in part a campaign contribution or campaign expenditure as required by this chapter is liable for damages as provided by this section.
(b) Each opposing candidate whose name appears on the ballot is entitled to recover damages under this section.
(c) In this section, “damages” means:
(1) twice the amount not reported that is required to be reported; and
(2) reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in the suit.
(d) Reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in the suit may be awarded to the defendant if judgment is rendered in the defendant’s favor.
Last May, Cuellar lost to Fuentes during the Democratic primaries by a mere 295 votes. Fuentes, who serves as President of the Weslaco ISD school board has yet to release a statement regarding the allegations.
Welp, if you can’t beat ’em with coke votes, sue ’em.