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No Joy in This Bundle: Shea, Leffingwell Trade Fundraising Barbs

Mayoral candidate Brigid Shea holds a list of contributors to Lee Leffingwell's campaign.
Photo by Mose Buchele
Mayoral candidate Brigid Shea holds a list of contributors to Lee Leffingwell's campaign.

Mayoral candidate Brigid Shea accused her opponent, Mayor Lee Leffingwell, of breaking city campaign donation rules in front of City Hall today. 

At issue are thousands of dollars Mayor Leffingwell received at an event attended by supporters of Austin’s Formula One 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,” 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 told the media today.

Leffingwell’s campaign manager J.D. Gins was also at City Hall firing 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,” Gins continued. 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 7-13-2011, 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 last minute brouhaha.

 Shea’s campaign tells 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. 

Mose Buchele focuses on energy and environmental reporting at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mosebuchele.
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