Texas Ethics Commission Chases "Campaign in a Box" Spending
Commissioners are trying to open so-called “campaign in a box” disclosures, where candidates report their spending on consultants — but not on the specific campaign services those consultants are providing.
Political candidates would be required to detail some of what their consultants spend on behalf of campaigns under rules proposed Monday by the Texas Ethics Commission.
The consultant spending would be reported to the candidates they work for, who would then include the detailed spending by consultants in their own required campaign finance reports.
Commissioners are trying to open so-called “campaign in a box” disclosures, where candidates report their spending on consultants — who in turn spend money on specific campaign services like mail, television ads and so on. That hides those detailed expenses from public disclosure. Currently, the state doesn’t require consultants to report such spending, offering campaigns a way to disclose how much they’re spending without detailing what they’re buying.
An initial version of the proposal would have required consultants to detail spending only if the client told them how to spend the money. The version being published would require consultants to detail any spending on behalf of campaigns for advertising, event expenses, travel, polling, printing, salaries, fundraising, travel and a number of other types of spending listed in state ethics law.
The rule isn't a done deal; commissioners will consider it after a public comment period that could see some spirited conversation from political consultants.
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