Friday, November 11, 2005

Austin Council Members Contradict Police Association PAC Testimony

November 11, 2005

Austin Council Members Contradict Police Association PAC Testimony

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Wes Benedict: 512-442-4910, wesbenedict@aol.com, http://wesbenedict.blogspot.com/

Austin, Texas - According to a letter from the Texas Ethics Commission dated November 8, a sworn statement by a former treasurer of the Austin Police Association PAC (APAPAC) has been contradicted by the testimony of three Austin City Council members.

In 2003, APAPAC spent over $40,000 on advertisements that supported City Council candidates Raul Alvarez, Will Wynn, Danny Thomas, and Brewster McCracken. APAPAC's treasurer, Sean Mannix, was required to send a letter notifying the supported candidates that APAPAC had spent money on their behalf. The candidates were also required to report that notification on their own finance reports.

However, none of the candidates reported the notification. That concealed the link between APAPAC and the candidates.

Candidate Wes Benedict, who ran against Thomas in 2003, filed several complaints with the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) when he learned of the problem.

In response to one of the complaints, Mannix testified that it was his practice to give affected candidates notification of any direct expenditures made for them. This testimony allowed him to avoid TEC penalties.

However, Alvarez, Wynn, and Thomas all testified that they did not receive any notification from APAPAC.

Wes Benedict said, "It's pretty hard to believe that all those candidates would commit the same violation, and lie about it later. My hunch is that Sean Mannix lied when he said he notified them. I don't think he ever sent the letters. If he did, I'd like him to show copies of them. If he failed to notify four candidates, it obviously was not his 'practice' to notify them."

Failure by a PAC to provide the notification is a Class A misdemeanor. Failure by a candidate to report the notification is also a Class A misdemeanor. In addition, the TEC may impose civil penalties.

Making a false affidavit to the TEC constitutes perjury.

APAPAC was fined by the TEC earlier this year because it was late notifying candidates of direct expenditures related to the May 2005election.

The TEC documents may be found here:
http://www.wesbenedict.com/mannixtec1.pdf
http://www.wesbenedict.com/alvareztec1.pdf
http://www.wesbenedict.com/thomastec1.pdf
http://www.wesbenedict.com/wynntec1.pdf

The earlier APAPAC fine may be found here:
http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/sworncomp/2005/250460.pdf

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