We’ve all gotten those glossy mailers pleading for a donation to a candidate’s campaign. They beg you to spare $50, or even just $25, to help a candidate get elected so he or she can single-handedly save the state of Texas.
How would you feel if you made a donation to a Texas political candidate or PAC, only to learn later that they spent your money on liquor, jewelry, or a luxury resort in California?
That’s exactly what you’ll discover if you peruse the expenditure pages on Transparency Texas. While it is legal for candidates to spend money on travel expenses, fundraising events, and gifts, some of the candidate and PAC expenditures you’ll see are more than a little disturbing.
Unfortunately, the issue of reaching into your pocketbooks to frivolously spend money is a bipartisan problem. Politicians from both sides, usually the loudest voices for bigger spending, are among the worst stewards of campaign dollars.
But it’s cool because it’s someone else’s money, right?
Here are a few examples:
But wait, there’s more. A lot more. Try the search function here at transparencytexas.org. Pick a candidate or PAC. On their page, look just below the pie charts and click on “Payees” or, for more detail, “Individual Payments.” You can scroll through every expenditure made by that candidate or PAC in the most recent election cycle (since January 1, 2015).
Hopefully more transparency will prompt candidates and PACs to be better stewards of their donors’ contributions.