10-1 campaign proponents raised more than $40,000, Proposition 4’s 8-2-1 advocates’ report not submitted
Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR), the proponent for Proposition 3 on the November 6 ballot, reported raising $40,662 from July 1 through September 27.
However, The Austin Bulldog’s tally of the contributions totals $37,882. Campaign treasurer Stacy Suits was in Dallas today and not able to resolve the discrepancy. (The report was correct as submitted. The Austin Bulldog regrets the error.)
The AGR total does not include the $29,131 previously reported in the January and July campaign finance reports. The latest report brings total campaign contributions to nearly $70,000.
Austin Community For Change (AC4C) the proponent for Proposition 4, did not submit its PAC report by today’s 5pm deadline. AC4C’s only previous report showed the organization had raised $1,907.
AGR’s largest donation was the $15,000 received from “Home PAC Corporate,” a political action committee operated by the Homebuilders Association of Greater Austin. Home PAC gave two donations, one for $11,000 and another for $4,000. (Home PAC also donated $1,000 during the previous reporting period that ended June 30.)
Harry Savio, executive vice president of the Homebuilders Association, explained the Homebuilders interest in geographic representation. He said that the cost of running a campaign citywide prevents people who work for a living from running for office.
“It seems like they need a voice and a perspective that’s not available on the council right now,” Savio said. Proposition 3 offers “an opportunity to become more populist in local government,” he added. “We decided it would be a good idea to have single-member districts and it’s something we want to support.”
John Ramsey, who founded the Liberty For All Super PAC, donated $10,000 to AGR. In a telephone interview, Ramsey said he moved to Austin in March and is impressed with the way the AGR brought together a diverse coalition of supporters, including Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens, and a large number of community organizations.
AGR supporters are “dropping politics as usual and coming together as Americans to solve an issue” he said. “Causes like this at the local level intrigue me the most.”
Ramsey said he is involved in “liberty politics” which is an outgrowth of “an entire generation that is sick and tired of politics as usual.” He said the two major political parties are “not very different” and the movement is centered on nonviolence and taking care of neighbors but not through the force of government.
Ramsey said his Liberty For All Super PAC helped elect two U.S. representatives: Thomas Massie in Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District, and Kerry Bentivolio in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District. The goal of the PAC, according to its website, is “to put America back on track by electing candidates who understand that limited government is the basis of security, prosperity, and peace.”
According to OpenSecrets.org, the Liberty for All Super PAC spent $1,722,904 in independent expenditures for the 2012 election cycle, of which $797,754 supported Republican candidates, and $925,150 opposed Republican candidates.
Ramsey’s political activity was reported May 23 by Forbes in an article titled “A College Millionaire With a Super-PAC Shows the Rich Don’t Ruin Democracy.” BusinessWeek profiled Ramsey in a May 23 article titled “Grandfather’s Millions Make Paul Fan a Political Player.” To see a YouTube video, click here.
Other significant donations
AGR PAC reported receiving a pledge of $20,000 from Kirk Mitchell, a longtime Austin environmentalist. Mitchell promised to match AGR donations made in September up to that amount. That pledge is not included in the AGR totals for this report. (Disclosure: Mitchell is The Austin Bulldog’s largest donor.)
Roger Baker, a longtime Austin transportation activist who has been one of the more active AGR volunteers, donated $2,000. (Disclosure: Baker has made donations to The Austin Bulldog.)
Contributions of $1,000 each were made by:
Tax attorney Lorri Michel of the Michel Law Firm PC;
M.H. Crockett Jr., president of M.H. Crockett Properties Inc.; and
AGR reported campaign expenditures totaling $32,450. Major expenditures within that amount included:
• Printing $12,792
• Contract labor $5,267
• Consulting $4,000
To see the complete AGR report, click here.
This report was made possible by contributions to The Austin Bulldog, which operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to provide investigative reporting in the public interest. You can help to sustain The Austin Bulldog’s coverage by making atax-deductible contribution.
Related Bulldog coverage: This is The Austin Bulldog’s 31st article covering issues and activities pertaining to proposed changes to the Austin City Charter.