Monday, October 21, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Complaint filed against Unconventional Austin

Unconventional Austin, the political action committee supporting passage of Prop B, filed a campaign finance report on Oct. 7 revealing that Vici Media spent $3,000 on Facebook ads to help pass the proposition. Although the expenditure was made on Sept. 12, the group did not file the special form required by Austin’s campaign finance regulations within two days, and only noted the expenditure on its Oct. 7 specific purpose campaign finance report. Prop B seeks to require a public vote before the city can expand its convention center. It has support from both liberal and conservative members of the community, but opponents also include both liberals and conservatives. One reason why expanding the convention center has liberal support is the promise of more money for Austin’s homeless. Mark Littlefield, chair of the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, is a seasoned political consultant who opposes Prop B. He filed a complaint Friday with the city clerk’s office alleging that Unconventional Austin broke the law when it failed to report the expenditure on time and on the correct form. Littlefield said in a press release, “These local campaign reform laws were passed specifically for instances like this. In Austin, we wanted to make sure voters had the information on who was paying for and who was working on our local elections.” He notes that Vici Media Inc. is well-known for its parody website of former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign website, and that one of the principals of the company consulted for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and continues to work for Trump’s reelection. Littlefield said, “Unconventional Austin did not want the voters to know that Donald Trump’s campaign team was working in local Austin elections. They wanted to keep it a secret for as long as they could.”

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