A panel made up of San Antonio's Ethics Review Board members this week found that District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg did not violate the city's ethics code.
The complaint was brought to the board by John Yoggerst, who believed Nirenberg accepted in-kind services from NSIDE Publications with a full spread about Nirenberg as a council candidate.
ERB member Robert Piatt says there is no evidence to suggest Nirenberg paid for the publicity.
"The complaint essentially alleged that certain communications by NSIDE Magazine amounted to campaign contributions that were not reported by Mr. Nirenberg,” said Piatt.
Yoggerst said he believes Nirenberg’s opponent for the District 8 City Council seat, Rolando Briones, was the more “conservative choice” for the district.
He chastised the Ethics Review Board for not convening a quorum for the meeting, instead leaving a panel to decide whether there were any ethics violations.
Yoggerst also criticized what he still believes is a violation by Nirenberg.
“I consider [Nirenberg’s] ethics to be ethically challenged,” he said.
Piatt maintained freedom of the press is what this case hinged on.
“Under the U.S. Constitution and Texas law, we give great authority to the press to publish political material,” Piatt said. “Free discussion of public affairs is essential to our democracy. Simply publishing materials that were favorable to Mr. Nirenberg certainly didn't necessarily make it a campaign contribution."
In an email, Nirenberg said he did not wish to discuss the matter further, except that he always believed the allegations from Yoggerst to be frivolous and he is glad to be “exonerated by the ERB.”