Emails, Connor Pfeiffer, communications director, Will Hurd campaign, Aug. 9-10, 2018

On Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 10:21 AM, Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) wrote:

Connor:

 

Good morning. I just phoned for you at the campaign because we’re interested in how Rep. Hurd concluded that Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones has raised more from residents of Massachusetts than Texas, as reported here. We seek Hurd’s factual backup.

 

For all our stories, we rely on attributable on-the-record information.

 

I’d be happy to hear back soon by phone or email. We hope to complete this fact-check today.

 

g.

 

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W. Gardner Selby

Reporter / News

Austin American-Statesman

PolitiFact Texas

12:11 p.m.

Aug. 9, 2018

Congressman Hurd told Bill Lambrecht, in reference to his opponent, that “When you raise more money from Massachusetts than you do from Texas, that is not a good indication of your broad-based support.” That statement, that she raised more money from the state of Massachusetts than the state of Texas, is supported by Jones’ fundraising disclosures this cycle, as of her 2018 Q2 FEC report.

 

For this particular stat, I downloaded all of Jones’ receipts (both PAC and individual) from Massachusetts from the FEC website. Jones reported contributions from Massachusetts in three parts of her report: Line 11A (Contributions from Individuals/Persons Other than Political Committees), Line 11C (Contributions from Other Political Committees (such as PACS)), and Line 12 (Transfers From Other Authorized Committees). I’ll go through each:

 

 

Line 11A

The aggregate total from Massachusetts entries on this line is $600,602.26. However, that amount double counts any ActBlue bundled contributions (they’re a Massachusetts PAC) that came from Massachusetts donors. To filter those out, I subtracted any individual contributions with a notation from C00401224, which is the FEC ID # of ActBlue. That subtracts $19,200, giving a Massachusetts total of $581,402.26.

 

Line 11C

Jones has received $65,100 from Massachusetts political action committees this cycle.

 

Line 12

The data for line 12 includes entries for both individual contributions from Massachusetts residents that have been transferred from other committees and transfers Jones has received from Massachusetts PACs. To avoid any double counting and to ensure we account for unitemized contributions that the PACs have bundled, I only used the PAC total and excluded the individual contributions, since the PAC amounts are inclusive of those individual contributions. Jones’ Massachusetts total from Line 12 this cycle is $83,480.03.

 

Adding up all three lines gives a Massachusetts total of $729,982.290. That far exceeds Jones’ Texas fundraising, which totals $366,989.04 this cycle in a similar download of all individual and PAC contributions.

 

On that note, I think it’s worth pointing out just how much of Jones’ money comes from outside of Texas. Jones has raised $2,256,366.75 this cycle. Subtracting the Texas total, that means $1,889,377.71 or 84% came from outside the state, much of it from California, New York, and Massachusetts. An even smaller proportion of receipts came from within this district.

 

Please let me know if you have any questions. Also happy to talk on the phone – ...

 

Best,

 

Connor

On Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 12:12 PM, Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) wrote:

Thank you for this. Are you saying you counted each ActBlue contribution as a contribution from a Massachusetts resident?

12:21 p.m.

No problem. I counted the money Jones received from ActBlue as receipts from the state of Massachusetts because ActBlue is a PAC in Massachusetts.

On Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 12:22 PM, Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) wrote:

ActBlue is a conduit PAC, I believe, so money flows through from all over, yes?

 

g.

12:30 p.m.

As a PAC, their money can come from a variety of sources, but that money is still then getting donated to Jones' campaign from ActBlue, which is a Massachusetts PAC.

Based on the Congressman's quote, the relevant question here is whether more money is flowing to Jones from Massachusetts than Texas. Jones is receiving a large amount of money from ActBlue, which is based in Massachusetts. What type of PAC ActBlue is does not change where they are based or the proximate source of the money flowing to Jones' campaign.

On Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 2:16 PM, Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) wrote:

Connor:

Hello again. We queried the Center for Responsive Politics on Hurd’s claim and drew information indicating Jones has raised more from Texans than residents of Massachusetts. See our queries and a center analyst’s replies here. We also heard back from Judith Ingram,  a Federal Election Commission press contact, who said a check of commission records suggests that Jones through June 2018 raised $339,599.04 from Texas donors and $117,950.00 from residents of Massachusetts. This breakdown leaves out contributions through conduit PACs.

Let me know if you have more backup information?

g.

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W. Gardner Selby
Reporter / News
Austin American-Statesman
PolitiFact Texas

Sent: Friday, August 10, 2018 3:03 PM

Thank you for following up and for including your correspondence with CRP and the FEC. What I’ll emphasize is that the Congressman’s quote was not that Jones raised more from the residents of Massachusetts than the residents of Texas.

As I wrote yesterday, Congressman Hurd was pointing out that his opponent got more money from Massachusetts than from Texas. Again, the quote was “When you raise more money from Massachusetts than you do from Texas.” That is an important distinction, so I take issue with CFP’s argument that PACs should not be included. We’re concerned with where her money is flowing from. If a Massachusetts-based PAC is sending her money, then that money is going directly from the PAC to Jones’ campaign. If the Congressman had said “from people in Massachusetts” or “from residents of Massachusetts,” singling out individual contributions vs. total money raised, then I would agree with CRP’s analysis.

Additionally, I think CRP’s geographic breakdown of Jones’ individual contributions is quite telling: 97.1% of her individual contributions coming from outside the district and 79.6% from outside Texas. This is clearly a candidate who is funded by out-of-state interests, not donors in TX-23 or even in our state.

Best,

Connor

On Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 3:11 PM, Selby, Gardner wrote:
 
Got it. You’re counting conduit PAC contributions, as discussed. That money accounts for the bulk of the total you shared earlier. To be clear, conduit money doesn’t come from the site of the conduit PAC. It comes from the donors whose contributions ferry through the PAC and those donors live in varied states. Let me know if any of this is factually incorrect?

3:29 p.m.

Based on the Congressman's quote, the relevant question here is whether more money is flowing to Jones from Massachusetts than Texas. Jones is receiving a large amount of money from ActBlue, which is based in Massachusetts. What type of PAC ActBlue is does not change where they are based or the proximate source of the money flowing to Jones' campaign.