Posted: Oct 11, 2012 4:24 PM by Mike Manzoni -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Oct 11, 2012 11:09 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI -- State Rep. Raul Torres, R-Texas, filed a complaint against incumbent State Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-Texas, Thursday alleging the senator personally pocketed $50,000 in campaign funds over a period of several years and covered it up by changing the way he reported the expenses in required filings.
But the Hinojosa campaign quickly fired back, releasing a statement that said the complaint is "...designed to create a fake paper trail..." to "...create a cloud of doubt to further his [Rep. Torres'] own political ambitions."
The complaint, filed with the Texas Ethics Commission and the Travis County District Attorney's Office, alleges that the funds were pocketed since 2007 using a practice known as "double dipping," and comes three weeks before Election Day when the two compete for the District 20 senate seat.
According to the complaint, Sen. Hinojosa "...has repeatedly used campaign funds to personally enrich himself...over a period of several years." It also alleges that Sen. Hinojosa "...disregarded specific filing disclosure rules...that apply to reimbursements for personal mileage, gasoline, and automobile repairs."
"From 2007-2010," the complaint reads, "Hinojosa's campaign paid directly for Senator's fuel in connection with campaign travel." In continues that "During this time, it appears Senator Hinojosa was simultaneously receiving reimbursements from the campaign..."
The complaint alleges that campaign finance reports began listing expenses for gasoline as "fuel for staff," instead of "fuel," which Torres' campaign said happened after "double dipping," received a lot of media scrutiny in July 2010.
In their statement, Hinojosa's campaign said, "This boils down to nothing more than a political stunt that is not backed up by the facts." The statement also said the finance reports "...lacked proper detail..." but said the campaign is submitting amended paperwork.
This is not the first time Torres has accused an opponent of misusing campaign funds weeks before Election Day. In 2010, Torres filed a similar complaint against then-opponent Solomon Ortiz Jr. alleging that Ortiz used campaign funds to pay personal cell phone and Internet bills.
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