Thursday, August 04, 2005

Benedict Alleges City Ordinance Violations by PACs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Benedict Alleges City Ordinance Violations by PACs
Austin Firefighters, Austin EMS, Austin Apartment Association Broke City Law

Austin, TX - August 4, 2005

Three local political committees have violated several of Austin's campaign finance ordinances.

Wes Benedict, former Austin City Council candidate, delivered a letter to the city clerk's office today requesting an investigation by the city attorney and the Ethics Review Commission.

The committees are the Austin Travis County EMS Employees Association PAC, the Austin Firefighters PAC, and the Austin Apartment Association PAC.

City ordinances require political committees to file a "notice of intent" at least 60 days before making expenditures in a city election, so that local press and voters will know in advance which committees plan to influence the election. The three committees failed to provide such a notice.

The ordinances also require committees to file "special reports" in connection with large expenditures, and to file copies of their contribution/expenditure reports with the city clerk.

"I want to make it clear, these are not violations of the city charter, these are violations of city ordinances," said Benedict. "Each one of these violations is a minor criminal offense."

Benedict noted that the Austin Police Association PAC did comply with the ordinances. "As far as I can tell, the APA filed a notice of intent, filed copies of its contribution/expenditure reports, and filed its special reports."

Benedict continued, "I am concerned that these other political committees did not feel the need to comply with city law, even though they spent a lot of money to support their favored candidates in the city elections."

The text of Benedict's letter follows:

=-=-=-=
Robert C. "Wes" Benedict, Jr.
1403-B Kenwood Avenue
Austin, TX 78704


Shirley Brown, Austin City Clerk
Ethics Review Commission: James W. Reed (Chair), Frances McIntyre (Vice
Chair), Mina Brees, Ronnie Jones, Catherine Kyle, Patrick Victor
Reinhart, Timothy Sulak, Jose de la Fuente

August 4, 2005

Dear Ms. Brown and members of the Ethics Review Commission:

This letter is to notify you that three general purpose political committees have committed offenses under Chapter 2-2 of the City Code.

Section 2-2-15(B) of the City Code requires that "A general purpose political committee which makes more than 50 percent of its expenditures in a reporting period in connection with City elections, or makes a contribution or expenditure of $2,500 or more in connection with a City
election, or intends to do so, shall file with the city clerk as a notice of intent an original or a copy of its current 'Appointment of a Campaign Treasurer' at least 60 days before making a contribution or expenditure in connection with a City election."

The expenditures mentioned below supported the following city council candidates: Lee Leffingwell, Jennifer Kim, Gregg Knaupe, Margot Clarke, and Betty Dunkerley.

1. Austin Travis County EMS Employees Association PAC (ATCEMSEAPAC)

ATCEMSEAPAC participated in the May 7 city election.

On April 29, 2005, ATCEMSEAPAC made expenditures greater than $2,500 to support Lee Leffingwell, Gregg Knaupe, and Betty Dunkerley.

a. According to the city clerk's office, ATCEMSEAPAC filed no "notice of intent", in violation of section 2-2-15(B) of the City Code.

b. ATCEMSEAPAC failed to file special reports related to these expenditures, in violation of section 2-2-21(A) of the City Code.

The relevant MPAC document is enclosed. It was obtained via the Internet:
http://txprod.ethics.state.tx.us/public/277730.pdf

2. Austin Firefighters PAC (AFFPAC)

AFFPAC participated in the May 7 and June 11 city elections.

During the March 29 - April 27 period, AFFPAC made 100 percent of its political expenditures to support Jennifer Kim and Margot Clarke.

During the April 28 - June 3 period, AFFPAC made expenditures over $2,500 to support Lee Leffingwell, Jennifer Kim, and Betty Dunkerley.

During the June 4 - June 30 period, AFFPAC made 100 percent of its political expenditures to support Lee Leffingwell, Jennifer Kim, and Betty Dunkerley.

a. According to the city clerk's office, AFFPAC filed no "notice of intent", in violation of section 2-2-15(B) of the City Code.

b. AFFPAC failed to file special reports related to these expenditures, in violation of section 2-2-21(A) and 2-2-21(B) of the City Code.

The relevant GPAC documents are enclosed. They were obtained via the Internet:
http://txprod.ethics.state.tx.us/public/276390.pdf
http://txprod.ethics.state.tx.us/public/279270.pdf
http://txprod.ethics.state.tx.us/public/283151.pdf


3. Austin Apartment Association PAC (AAAPAC)

AAAPAC participated in the May 7 and June 11 city elections.

During the January 26 - February 25 reporting period, AAAPAC made 100 percent of its political expenditures to support Betty Dunkerley.

During the March 26 - April 25 reporting period, AAAPAC made 100 percent of its political expenditures to support Gregg Knaupe, Jennifer Kim, and Lee Leffingwell.

During the April 26 - May 25 reporting period, AAAPAC made expenditures over $2,500 to support Jennifer Kim.

a. According to the city clerk's office, AAAPAC filed no "notice of intent", in violation of section 2-2-15(B) of the City Code.

b. AAAPAC failed to file copies of its contribution/expenditure reports with the city clerk's office, in violation of section 2-2-15(A) of the City Code.

c. AAAPAC failed to file special reports related to these expenditures, in violation of section 2-2-21(A) and 2-2-21(B) of the City Code.

The relevant MPAC documents are enclosed. They were obtained via the Internet:
http://txprod.ethics.state.tx.us/public/273317.pdf
http://txprod.ethics.state.tx.us/public/276126.pdf
http://txprod.ethics.state.tx.us/public/279027.pdf

I ask that you refer these matters to the city attorney for investigation.

I ask the Ethics Review Commission to consider these matters at its next meeting.


Sincerely,

Robert C. "Wes" Benedict, Jr.

=-=-=-=

Contact
Wes Benedict
phone: 512-442-4910
email: wesbenedict@aol.com

#######

No comments: