San Benito mayor commits advertising violation, fined by Texas Ethics Commission

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San Benito water tower

SAN BENITO, Texas (KVEO) — San Benito’s newest mayor is already seeing violations in his tenure as the city’s leader.

On Tuesday, the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) released its findings of a complaint issued on San Benito mayor Ricardo “Rick” Guerra.

The complaint claims Guerra violated advertising rules set under the Texas Election Code during his campaign for San Benito mayor in 2020.

Ricardo “Rick Guerra, mayor of San Benito, was fined by the Texas Ethics Commission (source: San Benito)

Specifically, the complaint charges Guerra for not providing a correct political advertising disclosure statement on a banner and newspaper, while also suspecting him of misrepresenting the true source of political advertising in the newspaper.

The TEC found that in regards to the banner, Guerra’s advertisement stated “Pol. Ad. Paid for by the Candidate,” instead of correctly spelling out his name in the attribution.

However, the TEC does not believe this mistake was misleading and chose to issue a de minimis violation, which means it is too small of an infraction to warrant a penalty.

Investigators found that in the newspaper advertisement, Guerra incorrectly stated that the advertisement was “Paid for by the Citizens of San Benito.”

These advertisements ran in the San Benito News publication in November and December 2020, according to the TEC.

Guerra responded to these allegations by stating that he was the one who paid for these advertisements but received payments from private citizens to contribute.

He stated that the phrase “Citizens of San Benito” was used to affirm that “the people were not going to be neglected anymore.”

Despite this, the TEC ruled that Guerra violated sections of the election code by knowingly attributing the political advertisement disclosure statement to the wrong source.

For these violations, Guerra was issued a $100 fine by the TEC. If the fine is not paid within 30 days, it will increase to $2,500.

Guerra defeated former San Benito mayor Celeste Sanchez in a December 2020 runoff election.

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