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City attorney says Council Members’ endorsements OK
Thursday, May 8, 2008 by Austin Monitor
There is no prohibition in the Austin City Charter that would prevent one Council Member from endorsing another—as Council Member Mike Martinez has done for incumbent
On Wednesday, Leffingwell’s opponent
Meeker said, “This needs to be looked into to make sure this isn’t a violation of the City Charter. It may not be but there is language in the charter that seems like it prohibits elected officials, officials of the city, from participating in a campaign to this degree.”
He pointed to Article 12 Section 2 of the charter: “Any officer or employee of the city who by solicitation or otherwise shall exert his/her influence directly or indirectly to influence any other officer or employee of the city to favor any particular person or candidate for office in the city shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall forfeit his or her office or employment and be punished by a fine not exceeding two hundred dollars ($200.00).”
Meeker said, “This is the reason why you don’t see elected officials engaged in all different races right now because most people see the charter as preventing elected officials from using their influence to campaign for candidates for office, ask for donations or speak in derogatory fashion about an opponent.
Some former Council Members remember being told by previous members of the city’s Law Department that they could not endorse one another.
Former Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Goodman said in an email to In Fact Daily, “ I thought it was illegal for a sitting Council Member to publicly endorse/be publicly involved in a campaign for another Council candidate. No ? That’s what City Legal always held . . .”
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