Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston’s Facebook ad didn’t get him many ‘likes’ from the city’s Ethics Advisory Commission.
Tristan Hallman of the Dallas Morning News reported that the commission found that Kingston’s recording the ad in his city council office was in violation of an ethics rule that explicitly forbids council members from using city facilities for political advertising and campaign communication.
The ad promoted a campaign fundraiser at Dallas restaurant Urbano Cafe.
Kingston was on an out-of-state trip during the Friday hearing, so attorney Sean Kelly made Kingston’s case for him. The attorney argued that if Kingston did break the rule that it was “a technical violation” and that the rule is vague.
“To accuse someone of being unethical for filming a Facebook video at their desk is a stretch,” Kelly said, according to the News. Kelly also said that the rules are “very broad” restrictions on speech that raise chilling First Amendment concerns.
Barry Jacobs, a retired lawyer, filed the complaint. He said Kingston’s response was “a waste of everybody’s time.”
“This is not just a distraction, this is an insult to our intelligence,” he said.
Jacobs, a supporter of Kingston’s May political opponent Matt Wood, said his decision to pursue the complaint was “really about having the rules Mr. Kingston made apply to him.”
“He can hardly stand up and make laws for the rest of us if he’s not going to abide by them,” he said.
The city’s five-member Ethics Advisory Commission recommended a letter of reprimand, which amounts to an official slap on the wrist.
Trent Seibert can be reached at [email protected] or at 832-258-6119.