most recent filing period ended May 16, and covered the period from
around March 21 through May. While three elections — Wards 5, 6 and 8 —
were decided during the March 1 election, the Ward 2 election went to an
April 5 runoff.
The latest filings give the clearest picture yet of the total amount raised and spent during this year’s elections.
the spending by candidate committees themselves, two committees that
registered to participate in the election received funding from
nonprofit groups that were set up shortly before the election. Bolstered
by a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the 2010 Federal Election
Commission v. Citizens United case, the nonprofit groups were able to
donate large amounts of cash to the committees, which in turn made
independent expenditures in support of and against certain candidates.
two registered groups were A Better Local Government, backed by the
501(c)(4) group A Voice for Responsible Government, which was funded by
local firefighters, and the Committee for Oklahoma City Momentum, which
was funded by the nonprofit A Better Oklahoma City Inc., a group backed
by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber program, Forward OKC IV.
By routing money through nonprofit groups, the original donors are avoiding filing at the state and city level.
addition, several organizations and political action committees
registered with the state made political donations to candidates and
groups participating in the election, but did not fill out paperwork
with the city to participate in the election. State filing may suffice,
said Marilyn Hughes, the Oklahoma Ethics Commission’s executive
Oklahoma Gazette sent
letters to a number of these PACs and organizations. Some of those
groups ended up filing reporting forms during the latest reporting
period, others responded that they were not required and some did not
respond at all.
What is the breakdown of the 2011 City Council election spending?
to filings, a total of nearly $1.3 million was spent overall on this
year’s elections across all four races by all parties involved. Of that,
51.3 percent of the spending was from the 12 candidate committees
themselves, and 48.7 percent of the spending came from the two
independent expenditure groups.
total of $656,051 was spent by the 12 candidates, with Momentum and A
Better Local Government combining to spend $622,091. Between the two
independent expenditure groups, Momentum had the lion’s share of
spending, with $486,041.
candidate that spent the most was Ward 2’s Charlie Swinton with
$136,704. Swinton campaigned from February to April and faced Ed Shadid
in the April 5 runoff election. Shadid, who was second in expenditures
at $132,753 and spent more than $100,000 of his own money on his
campaign, ended up winning the race.
candidates, the top fund raiser in the campaign was Ward 6 incumbent
Meg Salyer, who reported $141,705 in donations, followed by Swinton, who
raised about $139,000. Salyer was re-elected.
contributed to the two nonprofits accounted for around 47.05 percent of
all reported campaign contributions, according to the city filings.
from individuals and businesses accounted for 40.08 percent, followed
by PAC donations at 6.62 percent, and donations under $200 at 6.23
the previous reporting period was a couple of weeks before the runoff, a
significant amount of money spent went unreported until the most recent
to Shadid’s filings, the candidate contributed $30,000 of his own money
to the campaign on March 28, followed by around $1,500 in reportable
donations from individuals prior to the election. Shadid also took in about $3,185 in individual donations under $200 during this time period, and on April 9, Shadid gave his campaign $11,000.
Swinton had more than 60 reported donations during the same time period.
In total, Shadid raised around $45,685 for the latest reporting period, while Swinton raised around $34,662.
Although Shadid contributed more money than Swinton during the final reporting period, he did not outspend him.
to the filings, Swinton spent around $72,895 during the latest
reporting time period, or 53 percent of his entire campaign
expenditures; Shadid spent around $66,212, or 50 percent of his entire
the independent expenditure group that participated in the Ward 2
runoff and campaigned against Shadid, Committee for Oklahoma City
Momentum, received a $71,041 check from A Better Oklahoma City Inc. on
March 22, the day after the previous reporting period deadline.
to that point, the group had spent more than $400,000 on the election,
and during the latest reporting period, it spent $76,277.
NEW FILERS, NO FILERS
two-dozen organizations and PACs participated in the election, either
through donations or through independent expenditures, although only
four of those groups filed registration papers with the city.
four that initially filed were Chesapeake’s PAC, the International
Union of Painters & Allied Trades PAC, Committee for Oklahoma City
Momentum and Better Local Government PAC. The Oklahoma Tea Party PAC
also participated, but did not go above the donation threshold for
to the 2010-11 Ethics Commission guide for campaign reporting in local
government, which is authorized by state statute, the term “political
action committee” includes a combination of two individuals or a person
other than an individual, such as a corporation, with the purpose of
supporting or opposing a candidate.
Ethics Commission also lays out how some organizations, even if they
are not registered PACs, are to register with the city clerk if they are
to participate in a municipal election.
The Ethics Commission states:
an organization may be primarily organized for a civic or other
purpose, it becomes a committee required to designate an agent and
register if it accepts contributions or dues in excess of $500 for
supporting or opposing election campaigns.”
The Gazette sent
letters on May 6 to 16 organizations that made contributions but did
not file with the city clerk, stating that they appear to have not filed
the necessary paperwork and requested an explanation if they did not
plan to file.
the latest reporting period, four PACs that gave donations during the
election and had not previously filed with the city clerk did so. Those
groups were the Oklahoma state AFL-CIO Political Action Fund, the
Oklahoma Retired Firefighters Association PAC, the Oklahoma State
Building and Construction Trades PAC and the Oklahoma Municipal
Contractors Association PAC.