Politician/Radio Host's PAC Spending On Own Station Raises Ethics Questions
October 21, 2013 at 5:17 AM (PT)
It isn't illegal, but critics of TEXAS State Senator and Talk KSEV-A/HOUSTON owner/host DAN PATRICK have raised ethical questions about PATRICK donating over $46,000 to a PAC he formed with fellow KSEV host EDD HENDEE, much of which was spent on ads purchased through a company related to KSEV. The ASSOCIATED PRESS reports that PATRICK and HENDEE's CLOUT (Citizens to Lower our Unfair Taxes) spent almost 20% of the total it raised from its founding in JUNE 2003 and JULY 2010 on PATRICK's campaigns or on businesses related to him. The spending is not illegal under TEXAS campaign finance laws, but the critics say that donors do not expect the money to be spent on PATRICK's own businesses and that paying KSEV directly was "especially brazen."
AP's review of Ethics Commission records show CLOUT spending $29,600 in MAY 2004 on ads with C&M MARKETING, co-located with KSEV and run, PATRICK said, by former employees of his. CLOUT also paid $900 to have its logo placed on the KSEV website and for more spots on KSEV. CLOUT also donated $5,000 to PATRICK's Senate campaign in NOVEMBER 2005 and paid $1,868 for "web site redesign" to a site on which PATRICK posted his personal blog. Finally, CLOUT paid $15,200 to KSEV for ads, its logo on the station website, and on-air mentions.
PATRICK, who is running for Lieutenant Governor, told AP that the PAC's spending was not to "enrich our businesses." And he said that the amount as small for the amount of advertising purchased. But TOM SMITH of PUBLIC CITIZEN responded, “While it may be legal, it certainly doesn’t pass the smell test.”