Friday, February 10, 2006

The Money In The District 48 Race

Donna Howard gets her money from:
Howard's largest checks came from H-E-B grocery CEO Charles Butt of San Antonio and Annie's List, a statewide network that raises money for Democratic women.
Ben Bentzin gets his money from Bob "Swiftboat" Perry and James "Voucher" Leininger. And he's got gambling money, Republican decried gambling money in system but some of his donors hired by gambling interests
Republican Ben Bentzin has outraised Democrat Donna Howard in their race for a seat in the Texas House with major help from two of the Republican Party's most proficient donors, Houston home builder Bob Perry and San Antonio businessman James Leininger.


He has said he opposes more legalized gambling, such as casinos or video lottery terminals at racetracks. He said in an Austin American-Statesman debate Tuesday that he had "refused to accept any contributions from the advocates for gaming."

But his contribution reports filed this week with the state show that several lobbyists who have given him money have pro-gaming clients. Mike Toomey, who gave him $1,000, represents the Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, and Christopher Shields, who gave him $250, represents the Texas Gaming Association. Kent Hance, who represents the Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corp., gave him $1,000.

"There are political action committees and groups that are advocating for gaming, and I have not accepted money from any of them," Bentzin said Wednesday. "There are lobbyists that represent a variety of interests. I have never had a discussion with any lobbyist about gaming interests and when asked about gaming from others I have said consistently that I am opposed to video lottery terminals, I am opposed to casino gambling."
Here's a list of both candidates noteworthy donors:
Ben Bentzin
•Bob Perry, home builder, $50,000
•Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC, $36,000
•James Leininger, businessman, $20,000
•Michael Dell, founder, Dell. Inc. $5,000

Donna Howard
•Charles Butt, grocer, $10,000
•Annie's List PAC, $10,000
•Don Henley, musician, and his wife, $10,000
•Texas State Teachers Association PAC, $6,000


At 2/10/2006 9:51 PM, Blogger Sal Costello said...

Complaint alleges illegal contributions

Libertarian Party treasurer claims specific-purpose PAC gave funds to HD-48 candidate Ben Bentzin

At 2/10/2006 9:53 PM, Blogger Sal Costello said...

Complaint alleges illegal contributions

Libertarian Party treasurer claims specific-purpose PAC gave funds to HD-48 candidate Ben Bentzin
By Ashley Verrill

The Travis County Libertarian Party treasurer filed a complaint Thursday against a Susan Combs political action committee for alledgely making illegal contributions of $13,000 to fellow Republican and Texas House District 48 candidate Ben Bentzin's campaign.

Combs is a Republican candidate running for Texas Comptroller in this year's November elections. Benztin is facing a runoff election Feb. 14 against Democratic candidate Donna Howard.

Reggie Bashur, spokesman for the Friends of Susan Combs, said the allegation is completely inaccurate.

"Candidates do this sort of thing all the time," said Bashur. "There is nothing illegal about any of this."

Committees listed as specific-purpose groups are prohibited from contributing to another candidate's campaign unless they have amended their records to show they are a general-purpose PAC, according to Title 15 of the Texas Ethics Commission election code.

It is difficult to determine the motivation behind one candidate's contribution to another, said Tim Sorrells, deputy general council for TEC.

The problem is determining whether or not the Combs committee, which is registered as a specific-purpose committee with TEC, was acting as a general-purpose committee without being listed as such, Sorrells said.

The committee last registered as a specific-purpose committee with TEC in September of 2004, but did not change their committee purpose to supporting Bentzin, according to TEC.

In Bentzin's reports filed with TEC Feb. 6, Friends of Susan Combs is listed 30 separate times as a contributor, including one entry of $6,107 for office supplies.

Bentzin's campaign could be held responsible for knowingly accepting illegal contributions, even though the complaint did not list him.

Money from Friends of Susan Combs was not given directly to Bentzin's PAC, but was used to pay for mailing expenses, phone expenses, office supplies and professional services for the campaign, according to the TEC document.

Patrick Mendoza, spokesman for the Bentzin's campaign, said the group never received illegal funds of any sort. He did not comment specifically about contributions from the Friends of Susan Combs.

"Every contribution is legal and proper and meets the spirit and letter of the law," Mendoza said.

Texas Libertarian Party treasurer Arthur DiBianca said the purpose of the TEC code is to prevent specific-purpose committees from using contributors' money for other purposes than the candidate they supported.

"Any reasonable treasurer should know this kind of practice is not permitted," DiBianca said. "I think that it is more than obvious that $13,000 in donations qualifies as general-purpose actions, and that's what makes it illegal."


Post a Comment

<< Home

free web counters
Circuit City Coupon