in Houston, Texas
No Bonds for Billionaires - which opposed radioactive dump - fined for fundraising without naming treasurer
Monday, Aug 16, 2010, 02:48PM CST
By Steve Miller

It’s a familiar lament during a contentious bond issue that has strong opposition or support: Who is funding that position?

The CBS affiliate in Odessa reports that the Texas Ethics Commission fined an environmental group for failing to meet state disclosure guidelines for PACs.


money

No Bonds for Billionaires, an environmental group that last year aimed to thwart a $75 million bond issue in Andrews County, was fined $1,000 because the group both spent and took money for a political activity before naming, publicly, a treasurer for its PAC.


No Bonds opposed a radioactive disposal site in West Texas. As part of its campaign, the committee assailed Waste Control Specialists, the Dallas company that could profit from passage of the bond, which passed in May 2009 by three votes.


Waste Control filed a complaint against No Bonds, alleging the group took campaign contributions without first identifying a campaign treasurer.


The No Bonds effort was funded by the Austin group Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED), and Waste Control Specialists also accused No Bonds of trying to conceal its connections to SEED during its advertising campaign.


Ruling and response are here


The story quotes commission lawyer Tim Sorrells:

"It is just for transparency so the public can look at reports when people are involved in elections and can see who is contributing and what sort of expenditures are being made.”

Waste Control Specialists fired off a press release last week castigating its foe and lauding the ruling.


In response, SEED came back with a statement of its own, saying it admitted no wrongdoing, but that paying the fine was less expensive than a battle in the courts.


Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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