Proposition 3 Campaign Reports Finances

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Harry Savio

10-1 campaign proponents raised more than $40,000, Proposition 4’s 8-2-1 advocates’ report not submitted

Corrected Thursday, October 11, 20129:57am

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
Harry Savio

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
John Ramsey

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:

Attorney Fred Lewis, president of Texans Together;

Tax attorney Lorri Michel of the Michel Law Firm PC;

M.H. Crockett Jr., president of M.H. Crockett Properties Inc.; and

TBG Partners, an architecture and planning firm whose Austin managing principal is Brian Ott.

Expenditures detailed

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.

Proposition 3 Rally Draws 150-200 People: Crowd hears fiery speeches by proponents of the 10-1 systemfor electing council members, October 8, 2012

Attorney Bickerstaff Addresses Critics’ Concerns: His September 24 article drew numerous comments about the Proposition 3 Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, October 5, 2012

Feisty Debate Over Electing Council Members: One panelist argues for no change to the at-large system of City Council elections, October 4, 2012

Proposition 3 and 4 Proponents Rev Their Campaigns: Raising money, organizing troops, and pushing plans for geographic representation on Austin City Council, September 28, 2012

Redistricting Need Not Be a Quintessentially Political Process: Independent redistricting commissions for U.S. states and cities, September 24, 2012

Barrientos Lampoons Prop 4 With a Fable: Other proponents of alternative plans for geographic representation push their points, September 14, 2012

Proposition 3 Advocates Falsely Accuse RECA: Group alleges ‘rumor’ of $100,000 pledge by Real Estate Council to defeat Proposition 3, but RECA says not so, September 12, 2012

No-Change Option Surfaces in Ballot Debate: Former Council Member Bob Binder opposes both options on the ballot for geographic representation, September 11, 2012

The Election Wars Have Begun: Interest in how council members elected running high, as face-off debates abound, September 9, 2012

Your Guide to Proposed City Charter Amendments: What’s on the ballot, what it will cost taxpayers, and details provided in the ordinances for each proposition, August 30, 2012

Loud Rally Follows Final Council Vote for 8-2-1: AGR’s Cries Foul Over Work Session Vote for Hybrid; Mayor Leffingwell Said Votes Driven by Ballot Deadline, August 7, 2012

Council Backers of 8-2-1 Plan Accused of Self-Interest: But Facts Don’t Seem to Substantiate Such a Claim, as Related Actions May Bar Most Incumbents From Reelection, August 6, 2012

8-2-1 Near Certain to Go on Ballot: City Council Votes on Second Reading to Put Competition Election Plan on Ballot, July 31, 2012

10-1 Plan Qualifies for November Ballot: Consultant Estimates That 22,435 Signatures Are Valid; Austinites for Geographic Representation Readies for Battle, July 26, 2012

Petition Completed for 10-1 Council Districts: Austinites for Geographic Representation Claims 33,000 Signatures, of Which About 22,800 Are Considered Valid, July 16, 2012

Council Puts 10-1 Election Plan on November Ballot: Votes 5-2 on Three Readings to Adopt Petition Language, Votes 4-2 on First Reading to Also Put 8-2-1 on Ballot, June 29, 2012

Citizens Group to Make Final Petition Push: Austinites for Geographic Representation Claims to Have 17,000 Signatures, and Shoots for 13,000 More, June 4, 2012

City Council Tackles Charter Amendments: Redistricting Expert, Charter Revision Committee Members, and Grass-roots Group Critical of Task Force Plan, April 26, 2012

Council District Backers Want Quick Ballot Decision: Big Press Conference, Big Pressure Promised, to Get Council Decision Before Council Elections, March 8, 2012

Hard Fought, Heartfelt Charter Decision: Charter Revision Committee Votes 8-7 to Back 10-1 Plan for Council Elections, February 3, 2012

New Restrictions Proposed for Lobbyist Fundraising: Lobbyists Can Only Give Candidates $25 But Can Collect Unlimited Contributions For Them, January 22, 2012

Committee Debates How to Elect Council: Charter Revision Committee Divided Over Pure Districts vs. Hybrid System, January 9, 2012

Thirteen Charter Changes and Counting: Charter Revision Committee’s Next Job: Tackle Plan for Geographic Representation, December 14, 2011

Council Confirms November 2012 Election Date for Charter Amendments: Resolution Ensures Citizens Initiative Won’t Force May 2012 Charter Election, November 3, 2011

Coalition Launching Petition Drive to Get on the Ballot for May 2012 Election, October 18, 2011

Broad Community Interest Focusing on How Mayor and Council Members Elected, October 4, 2011

Coalition Nearing Petition Launch for Grass-roots Council District Plan, August 24, 2011

Maps Prove Select Few Govern Austin: Forty Years of Election History Expose Extent of Disparity, August 4, 2011

City Council to Consider Proposal to Create Geographic Representation: Election Dates, Term Lengths, Redistricting and Other Charter Changes in Council Resolution, April 27, 2011

Petition Launch Imminent to Force Election for Geographic Representation in City Elections, March 7, 2011