By DAVID LOPEZ
A fundraiser flyer for the campaigns of San Benito CISD school board candidates Orlando Lopez and Victor Rosas raised some eyebrows this past weekend as posts online decried the campaign’s use of a Special Purpose Action Committee (SPAC).
The “Steak Fundraising Dinner” was held on September 11, at Blanquita’s Restaurant, with donation requests ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
The flyer explicitly asks that checks be made to “San Benito Students First SPAC.”
According to SBCISD school board president Orlando Lopez, by Texas Ethics Rules and Regulations, a Specific Purpose PAC is only required to file with Texas Ethics if a school district is supporting a bond issue(s).
“It doesn’t have to be registered because it’s not a bond election, it’s a candidate election,” said Lopez. “A SPAC supporting candidates and/or officeholder(s) is required to file with the proper local authority, in this case being the San Benito CISD.”
SBCISD Public Relations Director Isabel Gonzales replied in an email that the San Benito Students First SPAC did indeed file the required Texas Ethics Commission Form STA (“Appointment of a Campaign Treasurer by a Specific-Purpose Committee”) with the San Benito CISD Finance & Operations Office.
Lopez said that Felipe and Janie Silva started SPAC.
“A lot of people feel more comfortable donating to a PAC than to an individual. Those funds are used for the campaigns but then afterward get disseminated to scholarships,” Lopez said.
A post circulated on Facebook by Lopez-Rosas opponents questioned the campaign’s use of a SPAC and especially the high-ticketed dinner.
“I guess the organizers of this event did not think of the common voter for this event, but rather vendors of San Benito CISD,” read the post, originally posted by the Facebook page “San Benito CISD Transparency.”
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