AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton raised nearly $2.4 million last month, but his campaign finance report is missing a key detail: who exactly put up the cash.
It’s the latest example of the state’s top lawyer failing to fully disclose all his campaign contributors on time.
Paxton has already been fined for late reports three times this year, though his campaign is contesting two of the $500 penalties, according to records provided by the Texas Ethics Commission in response to a public records request.
His office is charged with collecting unpaid ethics fines, but for the last two years he has declined to sue candidates and elected officials who collectively owe hundreds of thousands of dollars, the houston chronicle reported in July.
The McKinney Republican is up for a third term against Democrat Rochelle Garza in a race widely seen as the most competitive statewide. Early voting for the Nov. 8 election is already underway.
The latest campaign finance reports were due Monday detailing fundraising through October.
Paxton initially submitted a bare-bones report with no donor information, then amended it Tuesday to include only partial names. For example, one of Paxton’s biggest checks came from a self-employed person in Saint Cloud, Fla., identified only as “Lopez.”
While Paxton has corrected incomplete reports in the past, it’s not clear when or whether his campaign will do so this time. A campaign spokesperson did not respond to requests for comments.
Recent polls show Paxton with a widening lead in the high-profile race.
Garza, a South Texas civil rights attorney, has blasted Paxton for his legal troubles, which include a 7-year-old fraud indictment and a more recent FBI corruption investigation. Paxton denies wrongdoing and is emphasizing his track record suing the Biden administration and Big Tech.
Last month, Paxton outraised and outspent Garza, the campaign finance reports show.
Paxton’s biggest boost came from Defend Texas Liberty PAC, which is bankrolled by Midland oilman Tim Dunn and Cisco fracking billionaire Farris Wilks. The PAC loaned Paxton $750,000 and contributed $300,000 more.
Most of Paxton’s other donors are listed by what appears to be their last names only. While some contributors are still easily identifiable by their occupation and hometown, other top givers are difficult to verify without a complete name.
Prolific GOP donor S. Javaid Anwar, a Midland oilman, appears to have given Paxton another $100,000, as did someone listed only as “Wasek,” a self-employed Texan in Spicewood.
Paxton spent nearly $5 million from Sept. 29 to Oct. 29, most of it on advertising. His campaign also shelled out more than $20,000 on food at Trump National Golf Course last month. The Republican hosted a fundraiser alongside the former president at his New Jersey golf course in September.
Garza raised $1.1 million in October, spent $2.3 million, and had about $285,000 left in her campaign coffers as of Oct. 29, according to her report.
Battleground Texas, a political committee with the goal of turning GOP-dominated Texas into a swing state, contributed $50,412 worth of phone banking and canvassing. Annie’s List, a group that aims to elect progressive women, donated $50,000. Most of Garza’s spending was on media buys.
Mark Ash, a Houston criminal attorney running as a Libertarian, raised no money in October, according to his campaign finance report, and spent $120 on advertising.
The Texas Ethics Commission, which oversees the state’s campaign finance reporting, has fined Paxton several times already this election cycle.
When Paxton’s report was late in January, nearly two weeks passed before the campaign provided a complete accounting of its donors, a delay Paxton blamed on technical issues. The Texas Ethics Commission levied a $500 fine, which records show Paxton paid in March.
The commission dinged Paxton again in May saying he filed a day late during the GOP primary runoff election. Paxton protested and asked for the fine to be waived.
“My staff and I continue to work to improve our process for the management of the large amount of data used in preparing the campaign finance reports with the intention to reduce the likelihood that future reports will be filed late,” Paxton wrote in a form he signed on June 30.
The next month, the commission wrote up Paxton for missing the July 15 deadline. His campaign contested the penalty, records show, and said the commission’s slow servers delayed submission until a few seconds after the midnight deadline. In a form sent to the commission, Paxton said he only learned of the issue on Sept. 30, though the date besides his signature is June 14.
The commission said no decision has been made on whether to waive the ends.