As many of you know, I am currently analyzing the 8-Day campaign finance reports for Saturday’s election. As I plug in the numbers into my database, I come across some interesting items that I like to share with you. Yesterday, I came across one for Peter Svarzbein’s campaign.
As you know, Svarzbein is using a “Friends for Peter Svarzbein” Specific Purpose Committee funding mechanism to raise and spend money for his campaign. It is a unique way and it is the first time it has been used by an El Paso candidate for a city election. Svarzbein has argued that it allows him to offer more transparency on how he uses the campaign funds contributed for his run for office.
I came across an interesting expense at a gun store that I’ll share with you later in this post.
However, first I want to share with you what I found in regards to Peter Svarzbein’s advertisement on Jaime Abeytia‘s blog, a criminal who is currently under probation for his latest crime. For someone that espouses being “inclusive and accountable” I find it not only objectionable but also questionable that Peter Svarzbein would allow his campaign to advertise on a criminal’s website.
What does that say about Peter Svarzbein pontificating about “building a better borderplex” as one of his major issues? Are there not any non-criminal websites where he can advertise on? What makes this issue worse is that Jaime Abeytia is not only a criminal but is also currently under the supervision of the court system (probation) for his criminality.
In other words, Jaime Abeytia has some of his civil rights currently suspended because of criminal activities and yet Peter Svarzbein sees no problem paying him $300 for an advertising spot. Very simply, Peter Svarzbein is paying a criminal with campaign contributions.
I realize some of you will argue that it is his money to spend as he sees fit. However, I do not believe it is his money but rather the money of those that support his run for office. He created a special committee to handle his campaign funds and yet I’m not sure all of his contributors understood that he would use the campaign contributions to pay a criminal.
As I continued to review his financial report, I came across another interesting campaign funds expense, this one to a gun shop.
Did Peter Svarzbein Spent Campaign Funds on a Gun or Shooting Classes?
Peter Svarzbein reported an expense of $116.35 on April 3, 2015 paid to Sportsman’s Elite. It was labelled as an “Event Expense” with the description of “Team building exercise.” As a former Texas conceal carry permit holder who took my certifying class at Sportsman’s Elite it immediately caught my attention. Sportsman’s Elite sells weapons, namely guns, accessories, and offers the Texas concealed carry permit certification class. Apparently, it now offers a shooting range as well as NRA educational events. I can’t tell you exactly what the “team building” event was that Svarzbein paid for but according to the Twitter account for Sportsman’s Elite, they had a CHL class scheduled for Saturday, April 4, 2015. Or, it is possible that Svarzbein took some time to shoot a few rounds in the shooting range or participated in another shooting-related event at the gun store. I don’t know.
Regardless, it seems strange to me that a political candidate would spend campaign funds in a gun store especially when his whole mantra of using a Specific Purpose Committee scheme was for being transparent about how he uses the campaign contributions made to his campaign.
Ultimately, the voters will the final arbiters of his campaign expenditures but regardless of the outcome, his questionable spending makes the case for what type of elected official he will be – one that spends your money for his personal whims.
The taxpayers have been put on notice.