Campaign Finance Reports Turned in Late in Cameron Co.

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BROWNSVILLE – The state requires that anyone seeking public office turn over campaign contribution reports.

But not all candidates in Cameron County are doing that, according to a list tracking which candidates have turned in their reports detailing who has given money for their campaign.

Cameron County Elections Administrator Remi Garza told CHANNEL 5 NEWS the Texas Ethics Commission requires that those seeking public office disclose those contributions.

"Transparency in our elections process is what is at stake here," he said.

He said just one day from the start of early voting and two weeks past the Feb. 5 deadline, one candidate seeking public office has yet to turn in their report. Another turned it late on Monday.

We found that many other candidates turned in their reports late and it’s not sitting well with some Cameron County voters.

"We need to know what's happening with the money their getting, just like we have to pay our taxes on time," said voter Rosa Maria.

"It's good for them to follow the rules because that's how you avoid corruption down the line," added Efrain Garcia, “corruption is a very sensitive issue."

Some voters said it's not a major area of concern.

"As long as they campaign honestly and with integrity, that's what I care more about," said Robert Camacho. "I mean I don't care about where the money (comes from) - a lot of times they put it themselves."

Garza said his office can only receive and record the campaign finance reports. He said they have no authority to penalize any candidates for not turning one in or for turning it in past the deadline.

He said that's a job for the Texas Ethics Commission.

"They could determine that the reason why the filing was late was either the candidate was trying to hide something or that they weren't complying for reasons that weren't just a simple oversight," Garza said. "They are the ones that determine the impact of either missing the deadline or ignoring the filing."

Garza said it's also up to the public, not his office to report candidates who aren't following these rules.

All the candidates will remain on the ballot for the primaries on March 6 Garza adds.

However, he said the Texas Ethics Commission could fine non-complying candidates if they decide to pursue the issue.


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