BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A complaint from the Texas Ethics Commission accuses former Brownsville mayor Patricio “Pat” Ahumada of violating the Election Code earlier this year.
According to the complaint, Ahumada failed to timely file a campaign treasurer appointment and also accepted political contributions or made political expenditures without a treasurer being appointed.
Ahumada was the mayor for Brownsville for two terms, the first in 1991 and the second in 2007. The complaint states that on May 1, 2021, Brownsville passed a term limit charter. On Dec. 11, 2022 and on Jan. 9, 2023, Ahumada allegedly wrote letters to the City Secretary’s Office asking if the term limit charter applied retroactively and would prohibit him from running again in the May 7, 2023 election.
On Feb. 15, Ahumada filed his campaign treasurer appointment and an application for a place on the ballot for mayor of Brownsville in the May election. The next day, his application was declared ineligible and he did not file a declaration for write-in candicacy.
According to the complaint, Ahumada posted photos on Facebook showing political advertising signs for the May election on Feb. 12, though he did not submit his campaign treasurer appointment until three days after.
Ahumada provided a copy of a check dated Jan. 11, 2023 made out to Digital Print for the purchase of political advertising signs, with the memo line reading “personal loan to campaign,” the complaint states.
“Credible evidence indicates that [Ahumada] became a candidate on or before January 11, 2023 when he took affirmative action by purchasing political advertising signs,” the document stated.
The complaint continues by saying that Ahumada had two different crowd funding campaigns to accept political contributions for his campaign without a campaign treasurer appointment on file.
In response, Ahumada said he made $4,312.57 in political expenditures before filing the treasurer appointment. Additionally, he said he accepted $500 in political contributions. However, he said he did not accept political contributions through the crowd funding campaigns and that funds that were sent through those platforms were returned to contributors.
As a result of the violations, the Texas Ethics Commission imposed a $100 civil penalty.