New Rule Requires Specific Spending Categories

As we noted last year, the Texas Ethics Commission wants more specificity from candidates and officeholders about their campaign spending, so it adopted new rules requiring them to use 19 specific subject categories describing any goods, services or other things of value purchased by their campaigns. 

The rules are intended to make political spending more transparent. In the past, some candidates used vague terms such as "campaign expense" to describe transactions. This led to allegations that candidates were diverting contributions for personal use, a violation of state law. The new rule went into effect for expenditures after July 1, 2010, allowing — for the first time — real categorization of campaign spending. (Note: We've shortened some categories so they fit within the charts). 

Here a breakdown for all major-party candidates on our 2010 list (from July 1 to September 23, the most-recent reporting period):

Expense Category Total Rank
Advertising Expense $14,053,980 1
Salaries/Wages/Contract Labor $2,329,854 2
Consulting Expense $2,304,777 3
Printing Expense $992,359 4
Office Overhead/Rental Expense $974,694 5
Contributions $656,568 6
Polling Expense $495,122 7
None Listed $471,512 8
Travel In District $406,444 9
Event Expense $361,136 10
Solicitation/Fundraising Expense $312,312 11
Loan Repayment/Reimbursement $285,391 12
Other $217,644 13
Food/Beverage Expense $152,235 14
Accounting/Banking $151,040 15
Travel Out of District $101,570 16
Fees $98,343 17
Transportation Equipment & Related Expense $68,328 18
Gift/Awards/Memorials Expense $59,797 19
Legal Services $46,380 20

Here's that list without the governor's race:

Expense Category Total Rank
Advertising Expense $2,522,629 1
Consulting Expense $1,806,592 2
Salaries/Wages/Contract Labor $1,351,990 3
Contributions $646,868 4
Office Overhead/Rental Expense $574,633 5
Printing Expense $555,114 6
None Listed $471,512 7
Loan Repayment/Reimbursement $278,099 8
Polling Expense $267,932 9
Solicitation/Fundraising Expense $260,693 10
Event Expense $241,955 11
Other $195,269 12
Travel In District $138,560 13
Accounting/Banking $104,482 14
Travel Out of District $98,165 15
Food/Beverage Expense $88,283 16
Transportation Equipment & Related Expense $65,513 17
Fees $59,233 18
Gift/Awards/Memorials Expense $59,046 19
Legal Services $28,380 20

Let us know if you have feedback or ideas — and be sure to follow @TribData on Twitter for updates. 

 

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.