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Government/Politics

Villarreal To File Ethics Complaint Against Van De Putte, She Calls Rivals ‘Desperate’

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Ryan Lloyd
/
Texas Public Radio
Mayoral Candidate Leticia Van de Putte's campaign says rivals accusing her of breaking a campaign finance law are desperate.

San Antonio mayoral candidate Mike Villarreal is accusing rival Leticia Van de Putte of violating the city’s campaign finance law and says he plans to file a formal ethics complaint with the city.

Her campaign says she's done nothing wrong.

At issue is Leticia Van de Putte’s decision to transfer $300,000 from her lieutenant governor and state senatorial campaign accounts to her mayoral war chest.

Another candidate for mayor, Tommy Adkisson, has joined Villarreal in claiming Van de Putte is breaking a city law which limits a single donor’s contribution to no more than $1,000 per election cycle.

“It will set a terrible precedent allowing a candidate for the highest office in city government to break the law only to have her wrists slapped,” Villarreal said during an interview with TPR.

Adkisson called the transfer of money “a blanket purchase of the mayor’s office” and said he thinks it will backfire.

“People believe she’s gaming the system to take advantage of money in her lieutenant governor’s campaign, and it’s a pretty unfortunate power grab,” said Adkisson.

Van de Putte’s campaign manager Christian Archer characterized Villarreal and Adkisson as desperate candidates trailing Van de Putte in the race.   He said the campaign sought legal opinions before moving the money.

“We are not violating any law whatsoever,” said Archer.  “We have two candidates that are in third place and fourth places respectively and this is just a desperate attempt to throw mud against the wall and see what sticks,” he said.

Adkisson’s campaign said Ivy Taylor, the current mayor who is also running, declined to participate in the joint accusation against Van de Putte.    

The $300,000 infusion into the Van de Putte campaign comes as the race nears early voting.  The money can buy a lot of media time and direct mail in a 14-person race with at least four prominent contenders.