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Report: San Antonio's police union spent $600,000 on Prop B fight, but that's not clear from its filings


Opponents of Fix SAPD's petition drive hold up signs at a polling site where volunteers collected signatures last fall. - COURTESY PHOTO / FIX SAPD
  • Courtesy Photo / Fix SAPD
  • Opponents of Fix SAPD's petition drive hold up signs at a polling site where volunteers collected signatures last fall.
San Antonio’s police union spent six times more than previously thought to fight back Proposition B, the ballot measure that would have stripped it of collective bargaining powers, an Express-News investigation found.

The union spent more than $600,000 to battle Prop B, according to filings that police-reform activists shared with the daily. That stands in contrast to the roughly $100,000 previously reported by local media.

The full scope of the union's spending wasn't clear because it didn't use its own name when reporting two six-figure advertising expenditures to the state of Texas, as required by law, according to the probe by the Express-News' Joshua Fechter.

Instead, the expenditures were filed under the name of the San Antonio Police Officers Association's treasurer and couldn't be found by searching for the union by name, the daily reports.

Fix SAPD, the police accountability group that backed Prop B, raised $924,000 and spent $626,000 as of April 21, according to its filings. San Antonio voters rejected the initiative by a slim margin during the May 1 election.

SAPOA officials told the Express-News they weren't trying to hide anything with their filings. Treasurer Jason Sanchez said he made the two reports under his own name because the state's campaign finance website didn’t give him the option to report the spending under the union’s.

But Fix SAPD accused the union of deliberately hiding its expendures, telling the daily the lack of transparency fits a pattern of underhanded play. During the campaign, activists accused union members of harassment and intimidation — a change the union has denied.

“It’s not a surprise to us, when they’ve been using these tactics of fear and intimidation, that they would also be hiding this money behind their treasurer,” Fix SAPD data and policy analyst James Dykman told the Express-News.

Dykman wouldn't say whether Fix SAPD plans to file a complaint against the union with the Texas Ethics Commission — a necessary step in triggering a state investigation.

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