Longtime Lubbock radio broadcaster Paul R. Beane continued his radio appearances even after being elected to City Council nearly four years ago. On Monday one of two opponents in the May 12th election, Jim Gerlt, filed an ethics complaint. Gerlt says Beane has used his daily two-minute commentary on KFYO like a campaign ad.
Beane disagrees and shows check stubs as proof that he paid for the air time with his personal money ever since he announced re-election earlier this year. For Gerlt, that's not good enough.
Gerlt says, "Here's the problem on that. Any time you do a campaign commercial, you have to put a disclosure statement on the end like my commercials airing on stations, political advertising paid for by Jim Gerlt for Lubbock City Council District 4. So those are disclosures and he hasn't been doing that."
Gerlt also says, "So he's been paying out a significant amount of money but that was not reported on his campaign finance disclosure."
Should Beane have listed his payments to KFYO as campaign disclosures? "I disagree," Beane says. "No campaign funds were used and so therefore they're not on my campaign report."
"Certainly I question the timing of it. It smells to high heaven," Beane says. "But it is what it is. And the timing of this issue, after me being on the radio at KFYO doing this commentary, all of the sudden it comes up during early voting."
Gerlt says he did not intend to bring it up at the very start of early voting. But he says Beane overtly politicized his commentary last Friday so Gerlt says he went forward.
But Beane objects. "I think this is red herring. I think this is meant to throw off folks on the real issues. This all we have to talk about right now in the City of Lubbock? I don't think so."
"I think it's a serious violation," Gerlt continues. "I'd like for a ruling," he says. "I would like for them to determine what a candidate can and can't do."
"Let's establish, what are the ground rules. And then, let's play by the rules," Gerlt says.
Beane says Gerlt has no right to stop him from being on the radio and using his radio commentary as a way to supplement his income. Aside from election season, Beane has a revenue sharing agreement with KFYO to do the commentaries.
Beane says he feels passionately about his right to do commentaries on the radio but if the Texas Ethics Commission sees his handling of the situation differently then he'll respect the Commission's decision.
"If they want to give me a public spanking, that's okay. I'll take it like a man."
Copyright 2012 KCBD. All rights reserved.