This article was updated on May 1, 2023 at 2:00ET to add a late financial report filed by The Libre Initiative.
Voter engagement for Proposition K – the so-called Climate Charter Amendment – has been mostly funded by special interest groups based outside of El Paso, the latest campaigns finance reports show. An analysis of the 30-day and 8-day reports by El Paso News shows that funding for advocates of the Climate Charter was overwhelmingly funded by people who do not live in El Paso. Only $80 (see note below) was contributed by two El Pasoans towards the effort to mobilize El Paso voters to vote in favor of Proposition K. The rest of the $188,056.64 reported by Ground Game Texas came from outside of El Paso.
Opposition to the climate charter was funded by seven El Paso-based companies. The seven El Paso companies contributed $405,500 (39%) towards the effort to defeat Proposition K. The largest contributor for the defeat the measure advocacy was made by Houston-based Consumer Energy Alliance. They contributed $548,250 (52%) towards defeating the climate charter. El Paso Electric and Marathon Petroleum were the two largest El Paso contributors at $350,000 (23%).
Two organizations organized themselves to oppose Proposition K. They are El Pasoans For Prosperity PAC and Consumer Energy Alliance PAC. El Pasoans For Prosperity is an El Paso Chamber of Commerce PAC. The Consumer Energy Alliance is made up of utility and energy companies. The two PACs spent about 97% of the total contributions made towards the charter measure. Ground Game Texas accounted for 3%. In total, the two groups opposed to Proposition K have spent over $1 million to persuade voters to vote against the climate charter. Ground Game Texas reported spending a little under $30,000 advocating voters to vote for Proposition K.
El Pasoans For Prosperity were funded mostly by the seven El Paso companies, while Houston-based Consumer Energy Alliance funded its own opposition outreach. The Austin-based Texas Realtors Issues PAC also contributed $98,082.02 (9%) towards the efforts of El Pasoans For Prosperity. Whereas Ground Game Texas, who is advocating for voters to support Proposition K, was overwhelmingly supported by people outside of El Paso. Only two El Pasoans were reported to have contributed to the effort. Their contributions amounted to $80.
Most of the contributions spent went to companies based out of El Paso with the majority going to entities in Austin. Consumer Energy Alliance spent the most on El Pasoans, spending $405,500 (39%) on El Paso-related businesses and individuals. It spent $9,837 directly on El Pasoans for canvassing around town. Ground Game Texas spent $5,996.32 on El Paso companies.
May 1, 2023 Update:
At 10:27am this morning, the Libre Initiative filed an 8-day campaign finance report with the El Paso City Clerk. Their filing reports that they spent $14,060.86 in opposition to Proposition K. They spent $510 in yard signs, $126.65 in flyers, $2,500 on a billboard truck and $9,370.00 on a billboard. The rest of their funds, $1,554.21 was spent on canvassing. They self-funded their operation.
In total, $1,078,513 has been spent on advocacy for Proposition K. Less than 3% of that was spent by Ground Game Texas in support of the climate charter.
Early voting ends on Tuesday. Election Day is on Saturday, May 6.
Note on Ground Game Texas Financial Reporting: Ground Game Texas filed its 8-day campaign finance report with the Texas Ethics Commission. In its report, Ground Game Texas reported $146,942.29 in contributions and expenditures of $11,072.12. The report designated the primary activity for the reporting period to be “The El Paso Climate Charter.” However, Ground Game Texas lists several other committee activities for the PAC that are unrelated to Proposition K. Therefore, the campaign contributions the PAC raised for the reporting period cannot be necessarily attributed to its Proposition K activities. Nonetheless, El Paso News analyzed the campaign contributions made to the organization and found only two campaign contributors from El Paso. We assumed that their contributions were intended for Proposition K advocacy.