Campaign finance disclosure forms submitted to the Killeen city government showed that Shirley Fleming, the incumbent city councilwoman for District 1 running for re-election on May 6, took in the highest amount of donations, and District 2 candidate Debbie Nash-King has the support of the Killeen Fire Fighter’s Association, a group that has lobbied the council.
The association is an organization that local firefighters pay dues to. In turn, the association represents Killeen firefighters at public meetings and elsewhere.
According to the forms released by the city Friday afternoon, Nash-King also reported a $500 contribution from former Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin — a move that raised eyebrows from her opponent and others.
For the Killeen school board candidates, there have been few campaign expenditures and even fewer contributions.
Thursday was the first deadline for candidates to report their contributions and expenditures in the City Secretary’s office. The second and final deadline is April 28.
Killeen City Council
Nash-King reported $1,675 in total political contributions. That includes a $175 donation from Ross Caviness, a $1,000 donation from the Killeen Professional Fire Fighters’ Association and the $500 from Corbin.
Nash-King last week said she returned the contribution to Corbin after a March 19 report in the Herald tied Corbin’s past campaign contributions to local developer Bruce Whitis and two sitting councilmen — Jim Kilpatrick and Juan Rivera — who fought to kill a $394,000 management audit of the city’s finances that was approved March 14. The management audit — or, as some have called, a “forensic” audit — was pushed by residents and outgoing District 2 Councilman Dick Young after the city’s finances were in a tailspin following revelations the city had an $8 million budget shortfall last year.
On Saturday, Nash-King said she does support the audit.
“I don’t know Mr. Corbin personally, but any money that was given to me was based on his professional relationship with my late husband,” Nash-King said.
Nash-King said the contribution was given to her husband, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Elijah King, before he died on March 12, and then given to her campaign treasurer. Nash-King said her treasurer gave the money back to avoid public backlash from accepting the contribution.
“I just want to run a clean campaign,” Nash-King said. “I’m not for sale and no one can buy me. If I had known about all this stuff, I wouldn’t’ have (accepted) it, and I hate that I did it.”
Nash-King’s only opponent in the District 2 race, Larry Smith, sent an email to Nash-King on Friday that accused her of receiving “several contributions amounting to thousands of dollars” that she later attempted to return after the sources of the contributions received negative publicity.
On Saturday, Smith stood by that comment but offered no proof, and Nash-King’s total reported donations total was less than $1,700, according to the city report.
Smith said he plans to file a complaint on the issue to the Texas Ethics Commission on Monday.
“As a former Army officer, ordained pastor and military spouse, you should have the integrity and fortitude to resist temptation and maintain your integrity,” Smith wrote in the email to Nash-King. “The people that are financing your campaign are actively involved in shutting down the forensic audit and in advancing the city’s financial liabilities towards developer projects OUTSIDE the jurisdiction of the city.”
Smith told the Herald Saturday that he didn’t believe Nash-King had reported all of her contributions. He could not, however, attribute that claim to a specific person.
Nash-King refuted those claims Saturday.
“He’s a liar,” she said.
Smith himself reported just one contribution from Clay Clifford, a city resident, in the amount of $200.
Prosperity Central Texas, the 2016 PAC managed by Corbin that has helped fund city candidates’ campaigns in the past was not seen on the finance reports released Friday. The report covered council campaign donations and expenditures from the January to the present.
The PAC is comprised of local business leaders and helps finance the campaigns of pro-business council members and state representatives, according to Corbin.
The entirety of the PAC’s funding came from local developer Bruce Whitis, according to Texas Ethics Commission documents.
The PAC helped finance the campaign of Councilman-at-large Juan Rivera during his 2016 campaign. Whitis also independently contributed to Kilpatrick’s campaign in 2015.
Fleming, an incumbent, reported $3,291.14 worth of contributions. Nearly $1,000 of those contributions came from donations of $50 or less. The most significant amount of money came from the Bell County Texas Democratic Women, who donated $500 on March 20. Jack Ralston contributed $250 to her campaign, as did Louie Minor Jr., a Bell County resident who has served as an election judge and run as a Democrat for Congress.
Neither of Fleming’s opponents in District 1 — Holly Teel and Kenny Wells — reported any contributions to their respective campaigns. Wells, however, did report over $13,000 in expenditures, the most out of any of the candidates.
Kilpatrick, who is running for re-election in the District 3 race, reported $1,200 worth of political contributions. The largest came from Corbin, in the amount of $500 on March 6. Residents Ed and Sandy Ferril donated $200 to his campaign on March 9, and the rest of his donations were either for $100 or less than $50.
Vantonio Fraley, a write-in candidate for District 3, reported $145 in political contributions, all less than $50 each. The Herald did not receive campaign finance documents for Patsy Bracey or Harold Butchart.
Ralph Cossey Jr., running against incumbent Brockley Moore in District 4, reported that all $1,200 of his contributions came in at $50 or less. He also said that $900 worth of his total expenditures were of $100 or less. Moore did not report any contributions, only $6,000 in expenditures. Other District 4 candidates Steve Harris and Stanley Abrahams reported no expenditures or contributions.
Killeen school board
The big spender for the first two months of the school board campaign was Place 5 candidate Robert “Bob” Snyder, who reported $1,493.21 in political expenditures, all spent on advertising. Snyder reported no contributions.
Place 5 candidate Gerald Dreher reported $1,078.67 in political expenditures on his disclosure form.
The entirety of Dreher’s expenditures covered advertising costs and were made from a personal credit card.
Dreher reported no contributions.
Place 5 hopeful Carlyle Walton was the only candidate to report contributions with a $500 payment from Ken Bradley, of Winter Park, Fla. Walton also reported a $590 contribution from himself.
Walton spent $626.01 from those contributions on advertising, with $563.99 left in the coffers.
Place 4 incumbent Marvin Rainwater submitted his disclosure form with no political expenditures or contributions listed.
Place 4 candidate Stephania Williams and Place 5 candidates Lonnie Farrow and Lan Carter did not submit disclosure forms.