Archive for Thursday, January 12, 2006

Campaign finance reports reveal postcard’s backer

January 12, 2006


A postcard that slammed City Commissioner David Schauner's commitment to education and children during the last campaign was almost entirely financed by an area plumber, not by a teachers' organization as the postcard suggested.

"I think this shows it was a sham from the beginning," said Schauner, who went on to narrowly win re-election in the April election. "This has been a poster child for what is wrong with the system."

A recent campaign filing for the group Teachers for a Better Lawrence listed rural Overbrook plumber Mike Capra - a frequent Schauner critic - as the largest contributor to the organization during the March 31 to Dec. 31 time period. Capra - who also is listed as the organization's treasurer - gave $1,000 to the organization. The report also listed $110.29 in miscellaneous contributions, but the names of those donors weren't required to be listed because each donation was less than $50.

Capra on Wednesday was unapologetic.

"It was my money and at least I stepped up to the plate," Capra said. "I felt that was the right decision at the time. You know me, I don't want those people in office."

Capra has been a frequent critic of Schauner and other candidates who ran as part of the Progressive Lawrence Campaign coalition. The postcard stated opinions that Schauner - who is the chief counsel for the Kansas National Education Assn. - had made votes that harmed children and educators. It urged residents to vote for candidates who weren't part of the Progressive Lawrence coalition.

The recent filing listed the organization's largest expense as $1,555.29 for mailing fees to Arena Communications, a Salt Lake City firm that specializes in political mailings for Republican candidates.

Melinda Henderson, coordinator for the Progressive Lawrence Campaign, said she had questions about the validity of the information in the report, but was uncertain whether she would ask the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission to look into the filing.

Carol Williams, executive director of the commission, said her office had not reviewed the filing, but had the ability to audit a political action committee if there was evidence it had not fully reported contributions or expenditures.

The postcard was mailed to an unknown number of voters in the city just days before the April 5 election. It came a day after an anonymous postcard made unfounded allegations that Schauner had been involved in a domestic abuse incident with a former wife. Schauner has vigorously denied the allegations. No one has claimed responsibility for that postcard, but a Lawrence printer confirmed Capra unsuccessfully sought to have postcards with similar language printed at her shop.

The U.S. Postal Service opened an investigation into whether proper mailing fees were paid to mail the postcard. A spokesman with the Postal Service on Wednesday said it wasn't immediately clear whether that investigation was still ongoing or had been resolved.

Schauner said he was no longer actively considering any lawsuits or other actions related to the postcards.

"I have moved on," Schauner said. "The voters have spoken."

Because of a quirk in the state's campaign finance laws, this was the first report that Teachers for a Better Lawrence was required to file since the postcards were mailed. State legislators this session are considering proposals that would require more timely filing of campaign finance reports.

Campaign finance reports released

Campaign finance reports for City Commission candidates and other political action committees involved in the last City Commission election were due this week. Here's a look at what was reported for the March 25 through Dec. 31 reporting period. ¢ Candidate Jim Carpenter raised $1,600 in contributions during the period and spent $5,055.07 in the final days of the campaign. His largest contributor was Dr. Michael Hajdu, who contributed $300. ¢ Candidate Tom Bracciano raised $4,702.61 and spent $4,491.39. His largest contributor during the period was Westwood LLC, a real estate firm that gave $300. ¢ City Commissioner David Schauner raised $4,445 and spent $13,738 in the final days of the campaign. His largest contribution was a $500 donation from the Ontario, Calif.-based International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. Schauner said he was surprised to receive the out-of-state donation and did not solicit it. He believes some local tradesmen spurred the donation. ¢ City Commissioner Mike Amyx raised $1,246 and spent $9,879.60. Stephen Glass, a Lawrence construction firm owner, was the largest contributor during the period, with a $200 donation. ¢ City Commissioner Sue Hack raised $4,765 and spent $6,705.36. Her largest contributions were $300 donations from the engineering firm The Peridian Group and Westwood LLC. ¢ The political action committee Progressive Lawrence Campaign raised $7,362.75 during the period. The largest contribution was a $1,000 donation from rural Lawrence resident Carolyn Micek.


bill_priff 12 years, 3 months ago

Hey Chad, you forgot to mention that Arena Communications is the same firm that has done mailings for Jim Ryun. (

I wonder who suggested that Capra should use Arena? Eric Haar, maybe? ( (

Arena Communications sounds like a nice little right-wing outfit. Here is some information about the owner, Peter Valcarce. (,1249,600143357,00.html) (

Oh well, no need for you to actually do any reporting. I would hate for you to have to ask any tough questions or do any research.

Jamesaust 12 years, 3 months ago

This is all very nice but the expression of personal opinion to the public is fully protected by the first amendment. It doesn't matter that the opinion is incorrect, or misleading, or is harsassing. The Founding Fathers had great faith in the ability of the public to distinguish truth from falsity.

Godot 12 years, 3 months ago

One Thousand Dollars?? From one person???? I am shocked!!! Time to get big money out of politics.

pelliott 12 years, 3 months ago

"Capra on Wednesday was unapologetic.". Of course not, they used the reputation of other peoples, lied about being teachers, and aren't responsible because, oh maybe they have no responsibility because they have no honor. I will not be surprised if Marion never fesses up, he will probably post some accusation or slur against someone else. It is tough to be a teacher, it doesn't seem to be tough to lie and cheat. The only way a person's word is good is if the person practices. It is a lazy low trashy way of living. I don't give a rats ass about the horribly hazy definetion about the first amendment, I do care about honesty.

princess 12 years, 3 months ago

What is your point Arminius? Because from here it just looks like a failed attempt to distract from the facts posted in bill_priff's post.

Thick as theives it seems you all are.

princess 12 years, 3 months ago

Marion...what you say here "Had he chosen to address the issue, even privately, the entire matter might have gone away..."


princess 12 years, 3 months ago

Ha! Nice one. Callig me "baby" as a way to try to belittle my question.

That's okay. I'll just call you my beyotch then:)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

Marion, except for purposes of amusement, it's best to ignore you, especially if one has become the target of one of your baseless, fact-free, innuendo campaigns. Shauner knows better than to respond to a "have you stopped beating your wife" inquiry.

bill_priff 12 years, 3 months ago

Arminius -

I don't care about the Green Bay Packers or what Mr. Valcarce had for breakfast. I don't think Vito did this by himself. Have you ever met him?

I think a competent reporter would have done a little research and made the connection between Ryun's campaign and Arena Communications. I doubt that Capra found them in the phonebook.

It is pretty funny that the LJW has no problem questioning the truthfulness of a tenured professor, but when a local plumber (who is a proven liar) claims that he contributed $1000.00 to a smear campaign, it is not questioned at all. Chad also conveniently leaves out the fact that the contributions to Capra's PAC match the expenditures, to the penny.

Look, Capra can say whatever he wants. Nobody is trying to stifle his first amendment rights. I just wish we knew the identity of the cowards hiding behind him.

Ember 12 years, 3 months ago

What amuses me out of the whole issue is that we, as a general population, tend to ignore the smear campaigns performed by presidential canidates, and yet we are ready to lynch someone that uses the same tactics in a city wide election.

Seems to be a case of misplaced angst and indignation, but hey, that's just me.

MyName 12 years, 3 months ago

Well, I think the Swift boat sham, which was the most prominent smear campaign in the last election, generated alot of dialogue in town. But the truth is that Kansass is so Republican, at least on a national basis, that we don't get very many such smear campaigns. And when we do, it doesn't generate much debate since non Republican votes for president don't really count in this state.

Just my 2 cents

pelliott 12 years, 3 months ago

I don't know the facts, if I did I would say them out right. standing up. I thank you for retorting that"Marion. "Had he chosen to address the issue, even privately, the entire matter might have gone away..." That is your usual slight of hand. Was this your response about what you did and said? Did you say you were a teacher too, or did you report that "teachers" put it out. You published the information on websites, so you did that. If you reported, did you retract and apoligize? Let me guess.

pelliott 12 years, 3 months ago

you wish. You seem to imply you are standing by the belief the postcards were valid. I have no trouble thinking you thought a group of teachers put out the postcard, and you still think so. That is how you think, not based on much there.None of your information is credible because you aren't careful. You have said things about many people in this community and many times people took the trouble and time to respond, and you were proven wrong, no apology, no retraction just this evasive crap about others, you take no personal responsiblity for what you say. You post your negative remarks about people on what you imagine would hurt someone, not good enough.

pelliott 12 years, 3 months ago

Ah excuse me. I certainly was not discussing Shauners. Once again, dip and slip I was discussing your behavoir. You said, "I think that you and Pelliot should get your stuff straight before running over at the lips. Or foaming at the mouth." which would mean that my statements were not straight. Which they were, as well as being different, this is your usually sloppy stuff which makes the conversation lala land. You didn't suspect the postcards weren't from teachers when you chose to post the information to website? When you posted, did you know the origin and purposely concealed it, using teachers as a cover to promote you own ideas? If you choose to answer the questions i ask, do it or not but don't evade them with a creepy little but the other people really are bad. stand up for change.

pelliott 12 years, 3 months ago

Thank you Marion. That was a clear answer. I appreciate your time in answering. p

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