This is Part Deux (Update Deux, whatever) of my article on the Leslie Pool Campaign and Austin’s Fair Campaign Chapter fund. (also, be sure to read Part 3 in the series)
We return you now to that coverage, already in progress…
Ann Franklin is the Election Clerk for the City of Austin and she is out of the office all day today, meeting with the city council. I left a voicemail and will try again Monday morning. In the meantime, let’s briefly examine a couple of the requirements of the Austin Fair Campaign Chapter that I did not delve into in the original article. Of course, these requirements only apply to those campaigns that have elected to follow the rules of the chapter by signing a valid campaign contract..
One of the requirements of the Austin Fair Campaign Chapter is that candidates for city council must not spend more than $75,000 in the general election. The Pool campaign reported almost $15,000 in spending on their 30 day report and about $46,000 on their 8 day report. Pool did not file a July 15th report, because Pool entered the race after that reporting period was complete. Clearly, the campaign’s expenditures are well within the $75,000 limit.
Another requirement of the Chapter is a 5% limitation on the expenditure of personal funds (funds belonging to the candidate herself). I believe that the Pool campaign passes this test, but I’m not 100% certain, due to loans that Leslie Pool made to herself. Those loans, were they to be counted as “personal funds” for the purposes of the 5% limitation, would exceed the 5% limit.
In 2011, Kathie Tovo, in a very similar situation, had loans to herself that far exceeded the 5% limit and she still received the money from the Fair Campaign fund. However, there is a slight difference between the Schedule E (loan information) form that Leslie Pool filed and the Schedule E form that Kathie Tovo filed. On Pool’s Schedule E form there is a checkbox that doesn’t exist on Tovo’s Schedule E form. The checkbox is titled “Check if personal funds were deposited into political account.” I am pretty certain that that checkbox will be meaningless for the purposes of determining Pool’s eligibility for the funds, but I cannot be a 100% certain, and the wording raises concerns. Screenshots:
Additionally, Austin’s Fair Campaign Chapter has a few limits on contributions from PACs and accepting too much money from out-of-city sources. The Pool campaign barely took any PAC money at all and does not have an excessive amount of out-of-city contributions. As a side note, out-of-city contributions are limited for all campaigns, not just for those following the Austin’s Fair Campaign Chapter rules, so when you see people trying to make it about candidates taking too much out-of-city money, you can ignore their cries – no campaign has exceeded the limits (and it would be a violation to do so).
If I were advising the Pool campaign, I would recommend that they get proactive – get on the phone and make sure that you are going to be awarded the money from the Fair Campaign Fund; make sure that the personal funds checkbox doesn’t cause an issue (hire Buck Wood or another attorney, if needed); ensure that the city doesn’t mistakenly give a third of the funds to Almanza and another third of it to Renteria too.
Time. Marches on…