The Austin Chronicle

The Daily Hustle: 4/14/11

By Wells Dunbar, April 14, 2011, 3:56pm, Newsdesk

We wrote about the emergence of mysterious, disclaimer-free signs around town knocking Randi Shade’s re-election efforts last week. Well, now we have a culprit: Texans for Accountable Government leader John Bush, and questions are circulating over whether the signs are a campaign finance violation.

Bush’s fund raising plea, seen on his Facebook page, is ostensibly a forward from the anonymous "Austin Gadfly," asking for contributions. "Funds are currently being raised to purchase 500 of the Austin City Clowncil signs you will find attached. The signs will cost $1000.00 and $450.00 has already been raised."

Despite the disclaimer that “this is an effort organized by Austin activists, not a PAC,” that distinction may be nebulous. Title 15 of the Texas Election Code, § 253.062, “Direct Expenditure Exceeding $100,” says an individual may spend over $100 of their own money on “direct campaign expenditures” – which the signs, now reading “Un-elect Shady" arguably are – but only if they disclose as if they were an actual political committee (i,e., with a “Paid For …” disclaimer). However, Bush isn’t spending his own cash but calling for anonymous contributions, so that coordination should seemingly be incorporated into a PAC as well.

The Hustle e-mailed Bush earlier today asking for comment; we’ll post his response on the matter should we receive one.

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