Socorro businessman says he didn't send political ads with his name on them

Socorro businessman says he didn't send political ads with his name on them
Friday, May 3, 2013 - 4:15pm

Political mailers sent to residents of District Four in Socorro include a police report number for a case involving Joseph "Chito" Bowling.  Bowling is running against Jesse Gandara Jr. for District Four Representative on Socorro City Council.

Residents received the the mailers on Saturday.  The mailers indicate that the political ad is paid for by "Lowenberg and Friends for a Rat Free City." 

James Lowenberg printed more than 20 large signs that read, "Socorro Vote. Porque si no..." The translation is "Socorro Vote. Because if not..." The text is followed by an image of a rat holding a wad of cash.

However, Lowenberg said the signs he printed indicate that they are paid for by, "J Lowenberg and Friends for a Rat Free Town," not city.

He said he did not print, nor authorize the mailers.

"I got a call Saturday about mailers I sent out about Chito Bowling. I had never heard of him until that point. Apparently somebody made and mailed these mailers out with my name on them," said Lowenberg, Owner of Celestra Signs and Lighting in Socorro.

There was no return address on the mailers, so it is unclear who paid for them and sent them out.

Lowenberg said he does not plan to take any action against whoever made the signs, unless they use his name again.

Tim Sorrells, an attorney with the Texas Ethics Commission said it is a violation of the Texas Election Code (Section 255.004), to misrepresent the identity of the person responsible for a political ad.  It is Class A misdemeanor, which is a criminal violation, but could also be subject to civil penalties.

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