The Texas Commission finalized an order on Wednesday to address an ethics complaint filed against Claudia Rodriguez by Arnulfo Hernandez, Jr. Hernandez’ complaint alleged that Rodriguez “did not properly itemize political contributions on her 30-day pre-election report for the November 8, 2022 election.” According to the Hernandez complaint filed on November 7, 2022, Rodriguez failed to “disclose complete address information” for her contributors. Rodriguez failed to add the street addresses for all her political contributions. Instead she listed only a city, state and zip code.

Prior to Hernandez filing his complaint against Rodriguez, Rodriguez filed an amended report on October 24, 2022, “but inadvertently failed to disclose a city and state for three of the contributors.” Rodriguez filed a third amended report adding the street addresses for the three remaining contributors.

The Commission requested copies of contribution checks from Rodriguez while investigating the complaint against her. One of the checks that Rodriguez submitted to the Commission was for a campaign contribution for $1,000 from Will Harvey, who wrote the contribution check from his business account, a corporation.

It should be noted that the $1,000 political contribution from the corporation was not in Hernandez’ ethics complaint, and only came to the attention of the Commission because Rodriguez provided it to the Commission as they investigated the complaint against her.

Hernandez’s complaint also alleged that Rodriguez failed to “properly disclose total political contributions.” Because Rodriguez corrected her campaign contributions before Hernandez filed his complaint against her, the Commission determined that the “corrections remedied the alleged violations” filed by Hernandez and therefore “dismisses all but one of the allegations related to incomplete or incorrect political contributor information.”

Commission Findings

The Texas Ethics Commission found two violations. The first is that Rodriguez did “not properly” disclose the “total political contributions in the 30-day report.” The Commission also found that Rodriguez improperly accepted a $1,000 contribution from a corporation. This violation was not in Hernandez’ complaint but came to the attention of the ethics commission when Rodriguez provided copies of the checks to them for their investigation.

In their finding, the Commission imposed a $1,000 civil penalty, the amount of the corporate donation that Rodriguez disclosed to them. The Commission, in their order wrote that Rodriguez “demonstrated good faith” by “promptly responding to” the complaint and “filing corrected reports,” and by “participating” in the Commission’s investigation.

Claudia Rodriguez Responds

In an email statement to El Paso News, Rodriguez wrote:

“I am happy to finally put this ordeal behind me. As I’ve mentioned before Mr. Arnulfo Hernandez did me a great favor by helping me get into compliance by submitting multiple complaints against me. The City of El Paso and myself are very blessed to have vigilantes like him and others. I learned a great deal from going through the process with the Texas Ethics Commission and it was in me being transparent with my assigned attorney that we discovered a corporate check that was donated to me. Unfortunately, neither myself nor my campaign treasurer caught it at the time the donation was made. I have sent the money back to the donor and we also are happy to pay the $1000 fine to the Great State of Texas. All this is also stated in my order.”

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...