Page Two

Page Two
Last issue, in my piece on Linda Curtis, I wrote, "Thus, even with this campaign proposition, it would be legal for Curtis' group to get its $40,000." This is completely wrong. I apologize to the readers for this statement. The first part is just plain wrong. Priorities First was a PAC, and PACS can not receive donations over $100 from individuals under the proposition. If this proposition had been in effect before they organized as a PAC, the leaders of Prioties First could have organized as an education-oriented nonprofit instead of a PAC. If they had done this then, despite the campaign reform proposition, individual contributors would have been able to exceed the $100 donation limit.

The nature of what is legal to donate to such a nonprofit, and what restrictions are on these nonprofits, is murky. Individuals would have no limit on the amount they could donate, though the amount they could donate to candidates would have strict limits. There were personal economic considerations and a clear political motive to the $40,000 from a developer. Such a large donation from a politically involved source to an educational nonprofit, would have made the situation ripe for legal challenges.

I was wrong in my interpretation, but I'll swear by little of the above when it comes to this campaign finance reform proposition. Everyone we ask seems to have a slightly different interpretation of the actual legal restrictions and exemptions. This interpretation, as with any interpretation of this ordinance, is still very much a work in progress.

I still think that despite the campaign finance reform tag this is bad legislation, but at its worst, it's not catastrophic. Ironically, I think it will favor incumbents, big money, and the wealthy in the long run but its effects won't be that drastic. What concerns me is that, because it flew the campaign reform tag, it encountered so little opposition.

Which is neither here nor there; I got my facts wrong, I apologize.

The year is rapidly winding down. Next week, we publish our last issue of the year -- a double issue, since we are going to skip the January 2 date and give our staff some much-needed time off. Our first issue of 1998 will be dated January 9. Also, because of the holidays, next week's issue will be distributed on Tuesday, Dec. 23. Look for a schedule of holiday hours for the Chronicle office next week.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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