by ANDY SEVILLA
Three Buda councilmembers and all of Kyle’s members have filed their semiannual reports on funds spent, according to state law.
Per state rules, office holders must report all political contributions and expenditures during the reporting period, which runs for six months. Tim Sorrells, spokesperson for the Texas Ethics Commission, said all elected office holders have to file the semiannual reports unless they have filed a final report terminating their campaign treasurer.
Buda council members Ron Fletcher, Jose Montoya and Bobby Lane had not filed their Jan. 15 reports as of Tuesday, and documents received through an open records request did not indicate any Buda council member had filed a final report.
In Buda, only Council Member Eileen Altmiller filed her state mandated report on time. Mayor Todd Ruge filed his report Jan. 31 and Council Member George Haehn filed his report Feb. 1.
“Let the record reflect that these reports are late,” Ruge said in a letter to Buda City Secretary Danny Batts. “I had the reports filled out in a timely matter but circumstances didn’t allow me to turn them in on time.”
Ruge said in his letter that his father recently died and between traveling back and forth to Kansas several times, he forgot to turn in his reports.
“I take full responsibility for my actions, unfortunately my focus was on family matter and I understand the reports are late,” Ruge said.
Ruge and Altmiller reported no political contributions or expenditures. Ruge maintained $55 in total political contributions and Altmiller maintained nothing, according to their reports.
Haehn, who was elected to the Buda council in November, reported no contributions and $155 in expenditures. He reported spending $75 on Nov. 6 for an election celebration with supporters and $80 on Nov. 28 as a loan repayment/reimbursement to himself. Haehn’s report shows $2,270 in outstanding loans, and it shows $8.70 in total political contributions maintained as of the last day of the reporting period.
For Kyle, Council Member Brad Pickett, who said he will not seek reelection in the May municipal elections, filed a final report Sept. 12, 2012, that showed no campaign contributions remaining in his account.
Of the remaining council members, only Kyle Mayor Lucy Johnson filed her report on time.
Johnson’s report showed no political contributions during the reporting period, but did show $162.80 in expenditures. Johnson spent that money Nov. 21 for printing expenses for her “end of the year appreciation cards.” She remained with zero total political contributions in her account.
Council Member Diane Hervol, who is gearing up for her reelection campaign, has a war chest of $579.82, according to her report filed Jan. 22. The report showed no political contributions or expenditures during the reporting period.
Council Members Becky Selbera, David Wilson and Ray Bryant all filed their report on Jan. 25 and reported no political contributions or expenditures. Bryant also filed a final report.
Selbera’s and Bryant’s reports showed zero dollars remained in their accounts, while Wilson’s report showed $194.56 remained as a total of his political contributions.
Council Member Samantha Bellows-LeMense, who filed her report Jan. 30, showed no political contributions or expenditures, and remained with $319.87 as of the last day of the reporting period.
“While the City Secretary’s Office serves as a local repository for campaign finance related documents, the Texas Ethics Commission has sole jurisdiction regarding compliance with the State’s Ethics laws,” Batts said.
According to the Texas Election Code, the criminal penalty for untimely or incomplete reports is a Class C misdemeanor. The Texas Ethics Commission, per the Election Code, could also issue a $500 civil penalty.