Mayoral Candidates Trade Fundraising Barbs
At issue are thousands of dollars Mayor Leffingwell received at an event attended by supporters of Austin’s Formula 1 racetrack, the Circuit of the Americas. Shea says because he received those checks at the same event he should have listed the host as a “bundler,” or someone who solicits donations for a candidate and hands them over to a campaign in a bundle.
“The law requires any amount at an event raised over $5,000 to be listed as the bundler,” Shea said.
Leffingwell’s campaign manager J.D. Gins, who was also at City Hall, fired back against the accusations.
“One individual did not come over and hand this over – that is why it is not bundling,” Gins said. “If we were trying to hide that it was coming from F1 people, we wouldn’t have listed that they worked for F1.”
In a press release, Shea asserted that the Leffingwell campaign was making “a deliberate attempt to hide the controversial F1 donations from the voters at the end of a sharply contested campaign.”
“She was able to draw this conclusion based on our detailed reporting,” Gins said.
After the press conference, the Leffingwell campaign issued a press release of its own claiming Shea, who started a consulting practice after serving on the City Council in the 1990s, had recently solicited consulting work from the Circuit of the Americas team.
“The proposal document, authored by Shea and dated July 13, 2011, includes Shea’s recommendations for making the Circuit of the America’s facility more sustainable, saying, ‘We are starting behind the curve’ and, ‘We would have to play catch up,’” the press release reads.
Shea has made opposition to economic incentives for the F1 racetrack a central point in her campaign against Leffingwell. It’s unclear what, if anything, will come from this last minute brouhaha.
Shea’s campaign told KUT News it hasn’t decided whether it will file an official complaint. Leffingwell’s campaign maintains that even if she does, its contribution reporting will stand up to any level of scrutiny.
Election Day is May 12. Early voting ends Tuesday.