El Paso is Already Reeling With Covid-19. Now We’ve Got Another Serious Disease.
Today, it’s dark, dark money time in El Paso. The situation is possibly unlawful, certainly infuriating, and unprecedented in its lavishness, creepiness and secrecy.
Earlier today, nine incumbent and challenger candidates for mayor and City Council reps held a press conference to denounce apparent campaign material that has been blanketing the city but has no known author. (Additional candidates did not attend the press conference but signed the group statement of denunciation.)* The organizer, District 7 challenger Aaron Montes, said he would be going to the El Paso District Attorney’s office to ask for an investigation into the person or persons responsible for producing and spreading the secretive stuff. He also said he would inquire with the Texas Ethics Commission.
The anonymous material “treads against the work we’ve done to make our elections an open and fair process,” said incumbent rep Alexsandra Anello. It’s “an attack on democracy,” added mayoral candidate Veronica Carbajal. “Es incorrecto y posiblemente ilegal.” Mayoral challenger Carlos Gallinar denounced the dark-money material as “propaganda” and noted that “the public is smarter than these people give them credit.” Montes said he’d heard talk in the community that the culprits are Woody Hunt and Paul Foster. “If you truly believe in your message,” he said to whoever is responsble, then “own it.”
It’s as though a new virus has infected the city. As though we didn’t have enough of the earlier one.
You’ve no doubt seen the dark money ads on TV. Or you’ve gotten the slick, multi-page mailings. Or run across the website KeepGoingStayStrong.com. None mention any particular candidate, and that omission, which quite likely was deliberate, may have encouraged those who’ve paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for this murky campaign to hide their identities without worrying about legalities. You will find in this propaganda not one name of a PAC or a person or even an identifiable address of origin.