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Mark Richardson is a multimedia journalist, editor and writer who has worked in digital, print and broadcast media for three decades. He is a nationally recognized editor and reporter who has covered government, politics and the environment. A journalism graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, he was recently awarded a Foundation for Investigative Journalism grant and has three Associated Press Managing Editors awards for excellence in reporting.
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Ethics Review Commission reprimands Almanza
The Ethics Review Commission has issued a reprimand to District 3 City Council candidate Susana Almanza for violations of the city campaign finance law.
The panel, acting on a complaint filed by Austin activist Stephan Wray, found at a special meeting Friday that Almanza violated city code by failing to disclose employer and occupation information for 23 contributors listed on her July 15 campaign finance report.
According to city code, candidates must list on finance reports the employer and occupation of every donor who contributes $200 or more to the campaign.
The Ethics Review Commission did not recommend that Almanza be censured or prosecuted for the violations. A reprimand is a written warning that carries no fines or sanctions.
Almanza said in a statement after the ruling that it was important that the commission found the violation was not intentional.
“Wray, a Mario Cantu supporter, spent a lot of his time trying to harm my campaign for City Council District 3,” she wrote. “I am sure he is very disappointed in the outcome.”
Wray said in an email, “I’m satisfied with the outcome of the hearing. It sends a strong message about this candidate.”
This was the second time in a year Almanza has had dealings with the ethics panel. In December 2013, she was cleared by the commission of conflict of interest charges in connection with her actions as a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Austin City Council November 2014 Elections: The November 2014 Austin City Council elections marked a shift from an all-at-large City Council to one elected based mostly on geographic districts. The city's Mayor remains elected at-large.
City of Austin Ethics Review Commission: The Ethics Review Commission is charged with review of, among other issues, ethics complaints leveled against City of Austin boards and commission members. They meet quarterly.
Susana Almanza: Activist Susana Almanza is the director and founder of PODER (People Organized in the Defense of Earth and her Resources) and the president of the Montopolis Neighborhood Association.