Buzbee to Sue Turner Campaign

Apr 17, 2019

Mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee announced that he intends on filing suit against Mayor Sylvester Turner’s reelection campaign claiming a violation of campaign finance laws.

The suit stems from Turner’s recent announcement about a new “AlertHouston” ad campaign. The service informs the public about severe weather and other major public safety issues in the city. While the program has been around, this is the first promotional campaign for AlertHouston, according to the mayor.

The city says the program currently has 133,000 subscribers and the campaign is aimed at increasing the number of Houstonians who are subscribed, but there was no mention of how much they would like to increase or what in what timeframe.

Buzbee’s main issue is Turner being “featured” in the campaign, which is how the Director of Public Safety and Homeland Security, Chief George Buenik, put it.

There will be billboards, posters, television, print and digital ads, and radio ads in both English and Spanish. Public service announcement time is being donated by local media outlets including the Houston Chronicle. Clear Channel and its I Heart Radio division are donating billboards, according to representatives from the American Advertising Federation and from Clear Channel.

“Clear Channel has been lobbying the city to allow digital billboards within city limits and has also worked to convince the city–specifically the Mayor–to allow the relocation of billboards that would otherwise be removed due to the City’s billboard policy,” Buzbee wrote.

Buzbee plans to sue Turner and Clear Channel Outdoor for what he says are “violations of campaign finance laws.” The campaign’s 27 billboards are anticipated to get 15 million market impressions across the city and he says that the billboards and ad space amount to illegal corporate donations.

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