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Leffingwell files complaint against McCracken

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 by Austin Monitor

After complaining to the press about mayoral opponent Brewster McCracken’s fundraising from out of town sources on Sunday, Lee Leffingwell on Monday filed a complaint with the Austin municipal court against McCracken.


Although only one complaint was filed, Leffingwell alleges McCracken violated the city’s campaign finance law on 49 separate occasions by accepting contributions above the $33,000 cap for out of city candidates.


McCracken campaign spokesman Colin Rowan insists that McCracken has interpreted the law correctly when he asserts that a candidate can also collect an additional $22,000 in anticipation of a runoff, so long as he does not spend it before the first Election Day. McCracken has collected about $41,000 from non-City of Austin residents.


Rowan told In Fact Daily, “There is a little irony here in that the only candidate who is an attorney and one of the authors of the bill is having his interpretation disregarded by political opponents.” Furthermore, he said, McCracken is confident he is within the rules dictated by the law.


Meanwhile, mayoral candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn also held a press conference to blast McCracken. “If we’re going to have laws in place we must all abide by those laws. What he needs to do immediately is return thousands and thousands of dollars,” she said.


Violation of the campaign finance law is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500. Mark Nathan, Leffingwell’s campaign consultant, helped Leffingwell file the complaint. He said the clerk who took the complaint said they might hear back from the court in about two weeks.

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