The Ethics Evaluation Fee expressed frustration Wednesday that nonprofit Save Austin Now has not but introduced proof to refute an ethics criticism filed in opposition to it, delaying a last listening to that was set for the assembly.
Counsel for the nonprofit mentioned they wanted extra time to supply the proof that they’d promised was coming eventually month’s evidentiary listening to. However commissioners had been skeptical.
“It’s very, very irritating to have individuals declare they’ll’t produce issues that they dedicated to producing and so they agreed to,” mentioned Commissioner Mary Kahle, “and that … a fast search of your recordsdata ought to be capable of produce.”
“Can we simply declare that it’s a bad-faith lack of cooperation?” Commissioner Debra Danburg mentioned.
The criticism, introduced by political guide Mark Littlefield, alleges that Save Austin Now overstepped the bounds of its 501(c)(4) standing by participating in political exercise and never disclosing donors whereas gathering signatures for a poll initiative to reinstate town’s tenting ban. Having succeeded in getting the initiative on the Might 1 poll, the nonprofit now primarily operates by way of a political motion committee of the identical title.
“There was a dedication on the final assembly to supply that info,” Commissioner Betsy Greenberg mentioned. “I feel the fee’s time, town authorized’s time or exterior counsel’s time is all being wasted due to this. And to me, that’s a giant deal.”
“In the actual world, a decide would have held them in contempt by now,” Danburg mentioned.
“Oh, let’s do this,” Greenberg mentioned sarcastically.
Chair Luis Soberon famous that the fee doesn’t have “the power to sanction procedural deficiencies, so to talk.”
“What I’m listening to is frustration that it’s taking so long as it’s taken, and I very a lot sympathize with that frustration,” Soberon mentioned. “It shouldn’t take half a 12 months to resolve a criticism.”
The criticism was filed in October 2020, and hearings for the criticism have been topic to a number of delays.
Regardless of their frustrations, commissioners granted the postponement and voted to carry a last listening to on Might 12. Proof from each side have to be offered by Might 3.
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