A representative for Senator Kel Seliger's campaign says Amarillo Matters did not disclose to the campaign that it would be spending on behalf of the candidate.
Earlier this month, candidates and committees were required to file reports with the Texas Ethics Commission, the organization responsible for enforcing campaign rules and regulations in Texas. On the forms, candidates were required to disclose any contributions received by individuals and committees, as well as contributions made on behalf of a candidate by another party. While Seliger (R-Amarillo) disclosed that he was supported by the Associated Republicans of Texas, the senator did not disclose that he was supported by Amarillo Matters. An official for the senator's campaign says that Seliger's office did not receive a notification of the expenditure from Amarillo Matters.
"I didn't even know they did that," Seliger consultant Craig Murphy said. "We didn't know. They didn't tell us prior to it being done or after it was done. If they do that as an individual expenditure as a PAC that's their right."
Murphy says that when a committee spends as an in-kind donation on behalf of a candidate, state law requires the committee to notify the candidate so that the campaign may claim the contribution. Murphy said that Amarillo Matters did not notify the campaign of the spending, while other groups, such as the Associated Republicans of Texas, did. However, the campaign stated that Amarillo Matters' contribution was likely independent and not in-kind.
According to their campaign finance filing with the Texas Ethics Commission, Amarillo Matters spent political funds to support Seliger and State Representatives John Smithee (R-Amarillo) and Four Price (R-Amarillo) during the most recent filing period. None of the three legislators disclosed that they benefited from Amarillo Matters' spending.
Steve Pair, executive director for Amarillo Matters, did not return the Amarillo Pioneer's request for comment.
For more information about campaign finance reports, please visit https://www.ethics.state.tx.us/index.html.