In a change from the 2017 municipal election cycle, several incumbents running for re-election to the Amarillo City Council this year have reported taking direct in-kind contributions from the political group.
According to financials filed last week, Mayor Ginger Nelson and Councilmembers Elaine Hays, Eddy Sauer, and Howard Smith all reported taking direct in-kind contributions from Amarillo Matters PAC during the most recent reporting period. During the period, which lasted for less than a month, Councilwoman Freda Powell was the only incumbent to not report taking a contribution from Amarillo Matters. Powell did, however, claim a notification from the group informing her that Amarillo Matters would be making independent expenditures to benefit her candidacy.
According to Transparency Texas, Amarillo Matters reported cutting a $5,000 check to Elaine Hays during the 2017 contest, but did not donate directly to any other candidate’s campaign. This marks a change from the group’s usual campaigning style of making completely independent expenditures to benefit its preferred candidates. Independent expenditures typically are not claimed by candidates on financial reports.
Nelson, Hays, Sauer, and Smith all reported receiving a little over $14,000 in contributions from Amarillo Matters. Each incumbent, with the exception of Smith, itemized the contributions showing individual contributions.
This is not the first time this year that a candidate has reported a direct contribution from the group, however. Nelson reported receiving an in-kind contribution from Amarillo Matters during the previous reporting period, totaling $2,000.
Voters will decide these incumbents’ re-election bids on May 4th.