UPDATE: Since this article was first posted online, Council Member Brad Pickett has filed a final campaign finance report. His report, filed Sept. 12, shows no campaign contributions and no expenditures for the period from April 8, 2010 to Sept. 12, 2012.
By ANDY SEVILLA
Kyle City Council Member Brad Pickett could be in violation of state law, as he has not filed a campaign finance report required by the Election Code.
Also, as of Monday night, Council Members Pickett, David Wilson and Becky Selbera had not filed their semiannual campaign finance report, due July 15. Wilson and Selbera, however, are not required to submit these semiannual reports, because they filed a final report after they were re-elected on May 14, 2011.
Pickett did not file a final report after his 2010 election, hence the possibility of being in violation.
“If someone is an office-holder and they do not file a final report after an election, then as long their campaign treasurer appointment is active, they’re still required to file the campaign report,” said Texas Ethics Commission General Counsel Tim Sorrells.
A candidate or office-holder can file a final report when they don’t intend on accepting further campaign contributions or making further campaign expenditures.
Pickett said his campaign treasurer appointment is still active, but the responsibility to file a campaign finance report was his.
“There’s no blame on my campaign treasurer, it’s on me,” he said.
Pickett said that his report would show no change to his account; there were no contributions or expenditures during the last reporting period, and in fact, he didn’t file a report because he simply forgot.
“I just forgot about it,” Pickett said. “I got really busy, it was vacation and summer time, and actually I just forgot about it… It was just an oversight on my part. I need to go ahead and take care of that.”
Untimely campaign finance reports are Class C misdemeanors that can carry a fine up to $500.
Sorrells said that if a civil complaint is filed with the Texas Ethics Commission and the candidate or office-holder is indeed found to be in violation of the Election Code, the commission could assess a civil penalty between $0 and $5,000, depending on the specifics of the case.
According to Selbera’s final campaign report, she maintained $0 in her account, although the period covered doesn’t state a beginning date, and it shows that it ended on July 15, 2011.
Selbera’s report shows contributions of $50 or less amounting to $150 and $166.66 in total contributions – $100 from David C. Mahn of Benchmark Land Development Inc., the Plum Creek developer, and a $66.66 in-kind contribution from Lila Knight.
Her reported expenditures amount to $317, though only $200 is accounted for – $110 for printing to Kinko’s in San Marcos, $40 for labor to Alex (who was not provided with a last name, nor a street address number) from Kyle and $50 for labor to Rebeca Perez.
Rebeca Perez has the same address as Selbera’s reported mailing address, and according to Hays County records, Rebeca Perez is one of at least six names listed for Selbera.
Wilson’s final campaign report covers the period from May 6 to July 15, 2011. He reported $295 in contributions of $50 or less, and $3,066.66 in political contributions. Of the described contributions, only two come from within Kyle – Knight, who donated $66.66 in-kind and $100 from Sandy Boowe. Wilson also received $100 from Mahn, and $300 from Edward Coleman of West Lake Hills and $100 each from Evangeline Swift of Nevada and Carol Tentler of Washington.
Wilson reported $2,872.18 in political expenditures, of which only $1,062.23 is accounted for in the report. All those expenditures went to advertising from Rebecca Perez, Kew Copeland, Kara Bishop and Christie Smith.
Wilson did record $430.76 in expenditures of $50 or less.
Council Member Ray Bryant reported receiving $315 in political contributions and expended $315, according to his campaign finance report covering Jan. 1 to April 2, 2012.
Knight contributed all of Bryant’s money for the reporting period, and Bryant spent the money on advertising with the Hays Free Press.
Bryant reported zero contributions and no expenses for his last two reports, covering April 3 to May 2, 2012, and May 2 to June 30, 2012.
Bryant’s last report indicates he has $0 in his campaign account.
Council Member Samantha Bellows-LeMense reports $595 in total political contributions from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2012 -$220 of which came in contributions of $50 or less.
LeMense reported receiving $100 from Knight, $150 from Beth Smith, $50 from David Salazar and $75 from Wynette Barton.
LeMense reported $135.13 in expenditures of $50 or less and a $100 expenditure for an event expense for the Hays County Fire Chief’s Association.
LeMense said her campaign account remains with $339.87.
Mayor Pro Tem Diane Hervol reported zero contributions and expenditures for the reporting period covering Jan. 16 to July 15, 2012.
Hervol’s report shows $579.82 remains in her campaign account.
Mayor Lucy Johnson had no campaign contributions for the reporting period covering Jan. 1 to June 30, 2012. She did report $72 in political expenditures, and her report shows $130.10 remains in her campaign account.