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Ethics complaints filed against Upshur County GOP chairman, commissioner

By Christina Lane
May 23, 2012 at 11 p.m.

The Upshur County Conservative Coalition has filed ethics complaints against Republican Party Chairman Ken Ambrose and Pct. 3 Commissioner Lloyd Crabtree, each of whom are seeking re-election.

In a joint statement, Cynthia Ridgeway, who is also seeking the office of GOP chairman, and Glenn Leach, said Ambrose violated a section of the Texas Election Code that regulates political funds and campaigns.

They said a complaint by Wayne Arnold, chairman of the Upshur Conservative Coalition, claims Ambrose violated the election code by distributing a book that "purports to be a publication authorized by the Republican Party of Upshur County, when in fact it is political advertising distributed by Mr. Ambrose promoting only his selective candidates."

Arnold's complaint filed with the ethics commission also claims the booklet does not contain a disclosure stating who paid for the booklet's publication nor does it say the booklet contains political advertising.

Ambrose said every political ad contained in the booklet contains a "paid for by" disclosure. He also said Ridgeway, who identified herself in the statement as vice chairman of the Republican Party of Upshur County, is not vice chairman and he said Leach does not live in Upshur County.

"They tried to do this before," Ambrose said. "They can't win at the polls, so they're just going to continue to attack me. We'll see what happens at the polls."

The complaint against Crabtree, also filed by Arnold on behalf of the coalition, claims Crabtree did not include a political advertising disclaimer in a newspaper ad, Ridgeway and Leach said.

"It came to my attention after the newspaper went to press that my disclaimer was left off," Crabtree said. "Neither I nor the paper caught the mistake. The was corrected before the next press date. The group that filed this complaint endorsed my opponent, Frank Berka."

Other complainants filed against Ambrose included those filed by Michael Shelly, a candidate for precinct chair, and Larry East, a Glenwood resident. Shelly's complaint says his name was listed among other candidates as a paid ad contributor, "however, I made no payment to anyone for this purpose, nor was I aware that a political ad stating that I did, had been printed," Ridgeway and Leach said in their joint statement.



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