Once again with the non-filers

Same story in July as in January.

A dozen candidates running for elected positions at Houston City Hall failed to file required campaign finance reports in July, continuing a sloppy reporting period for the slate of candidates hoping to lead the city.

The omissions account for nearly one in five of candidates running in the November elections, after about 25 percent failed to file the mandatory reports in January as well.


The candidates who did not file a report include Richard Nguyen, who served as the District F council member and now is running for an at-large seat. Orlando Sanchez, who is running in second place for controller, according to a recent poll, did not file a report with the city, but he did file one with the state. Election officials say candidates who have announced a bid for city office — as Sanchez did in April — should file their reports with the city.

Others who skipped the report entirely include Theodis Daniel and Gaylon Caldwell, both of whom are running for mayor; Koffey El-Bey, District B; Ralph Garcia, District I; Bernardo Amadi, At-Large 3; Chad Cossey, At-Large 5; and Charles Onwuche, undeclared. Another three candidates failed to file the report in the correct format, according to the city secretary’s office.

The city lacks the power to enforce the reporting requirements, which are enshrined in state law. It could send reminders to candidates to ensure they know about the mandate, but it does not.


The result leaves enforcement up to the Texas Ethics Commission and opposing candidates or residents, who can file complaints with the state agency. That commission sends reminders to candidates running for state and county offices, but not city races.

“The TEC is able to send notices to all candidates for state office because state candidates must provide their contact information to the TEC and create an account in the TEC’s filing system,” said J.R. Johnson, the commission’s executive director. “The same is not true for local elected offices. There are an estimated 22,000 elected offices of local governments in Texas. With current funding, it would be impossible for the TEC to identify and notify every candidate for those offices of their filing requirements.”

Sanchez, the candidate for controller, said his legal advisors told him it was acceptable to continue reporting to the state for now. His report shows he raised $4,500 and spent $3,000 in the first six months of the year, with about $2,700 in the bank, trailing his competitors.

“Orlando had not even begun actively fundraising for Controller before the end of the last reporting period, and thus had not triggered the requirement to file a treasurer appointment for Controller,” said Jerad Wayne Najvar, Sanchez’s attorney.

Both [City Attorney Arturo] Michel and the TEC, though, said candidates who have announced campaigns for a city office must file reports with the city.

“Section 252.010 of the Texas Election Code says that if someone who already files reports with one authority (e.g., the TEC) decides to seek a different office that would require filing with a different authority (e.g., a political subdivision), that person must file a campaign treasurer appointment with the new filing authority and begin filing reports there,” said Johnson, from the TEC.

See here for the story on the January report non-filers. All of the candidates named above except for Richard Nguyen and Orlando Sanchez fall into the non-serious candidates bucket as far as I’m concerned. I like Richard Nguyen. I thought he was a good Council member when he served. He has absolutely no excuse for his failure. I’d like to file him in the “serious candidates who for some reason just can’t get their act together with these reports” bucket, but if this continues and he continues being non-responsive to questions about it, he’s joining the others in the non-serious bucket. Which would be a shame, but if the shoe fits and all that.

I do not like Orlando Sanchez. He also has absolutely no excuse for not filing his report properly. This dude has been running for city offices for thirty years. He knows that TEC stuff is baloney. You want to be the city’s financial overseer but you can’t handle the paperwork for your own campaign’s finances? Get out of here with that weak shit.

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