SAN ANTONIO, TX – In February 2023, ACT 4 SA’s Executive Director Ananda Tomas filed a complaint against SAPOA for violating Section 254.261 of the Election Code. SAPOA Treasurer Jason Sanchez filed a campaign expenditure report in 2021 during the Prop B race under his own name rather than SAPOA’s. This hid from the public the fact that SAPOA had spent an additional $615,382.70 in connection to defeating Proposition B on the ballot. The Texas Ethics Commission confirmed that this was a direct violation of Election Code and fined the San Antonio Police Officers Association a $5,000 civil penalty in an effort to deter future behavior like this.
“This goes to prove that our police union not only floods elections with money to drown out our voice and vote, but also violates election laws to do it. We hope that by bringing this to light we can open up our community’s eyes to how this political organization truly operates,” said Ananda Tomas, Executive Director of ACT 4 SA.
This is another victory in the continued battle to hold police unions accountable to the public and break their overpowering sway in electoral politics. It is essential for our community to be aware of how such organizations operate and to hold them accountable.
A 2020 article exposed police unions across the country for spending over $87 million in local and state elections across two decades, mostly in campaign contributions and lobbying. Many activists and scholars have claimed that this has led to local government entities becoming “rubber-stamp bodies” that never challenge police power or over-reach. City leaders must prioritize transparency by thoroughly assessing their associations and endorsements. They should consider the public’s strong opposition to aligning with organizations that have violated the law.
“I further want to bring into question why so many of our city leaders take endorsements from an organization that clearly breaks the law. City leaders knew from Josh Fechter’s article in 2021 that this violation of law had occurred, yet they were still falling over one another for SAPOA’s endorsement- despite growing public sentiment in San Antonio, and across the nation, to stop falling into the pocket of police unions,” stated Tomas.
ACT 4 SA stated they would continue to be a “watchdog” over both law enforcement agencies and their unions. The public has yet to hear comment from SAPOA on the Texas Ethics Commission decision. As we move forward, it is vital to continue demanding accountability, fostering transparency, and promoting a system that truly serves and represents the interests of the community.
ACT 4 SA empowers the San Antonio community through year-round base building, actions of solidarity, public education, policy, and advocacy. We are dedicated to pushing for accountable, compassionate, and transparent measures to create public safety that preserves and centers the health and well-being of our entire community.