A political action committee advocating for a $4.4 million ballot measure to buy the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum a permanent home raked in the most cash this election cycle, totaling $25,010.
The top contributor for the history museum group was Marlin Risinger, who contributed $5,000, filings with the Teton County Clerk’s office show.
Other top donors listed are John Lummis ($3,000), Jim and Maggie Hunt ($3,000), Don and Laurie Jaekle ($2,000), Diana and Tim Waycott ($2,000), Becky Kimmel ($1,000), Bill and Martha Best ($1,000), PAC chairwoman Clarene Law and Creed Law ($1,000), and County Commissioner Mark Newcomb ($1,000).
The “Friends of History on the Block” PAC, which advocates for purchasing a site for the history museum on the historic downtown block home to Cafe Genevieve, also reported an additional $200 in in-kind contributions, such as poster printing.
Four political action committees formed ahead of the Nov. 5 specific purpose excise tax election, in which 10 projects totaling $77 million are up for a vote. The projects would be funded through a one-penny sales tax.
A PAC advocating for citizens to vote “yes” on all 10 projects collected $12,480, all from contributions from individuals.
Top donors for the “Jackson Hole Votes Yes” PAC included Noa and Ted Staryk ($2,500), Christy Walton ($2,000), Liz Storer and County Commissioner Luther Propst ($1,000), Colby Cox ($1,000) and Story Clark ($750).
The “Safe Wildlife Crossings Jackson Hole” political action committee formed to push for a $10 million ballot item to build structures to allow animals to safely cross Teton County highways. It didn’t raise any funding from individuals, but reported $8,000 in contributions from organizations. That includes $2,000 from the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, and $1,500 each from the Wyoming Outdoor Council, Wyoming Wildlife Federation, The Cougar Fund and Ecotour Adventures.
The wildlife crossings group also reported $22,618 in “in-kind” contributions. Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance Director Skye Schell, who is involved with the PAC, said that to be transparent, the PAC wanted to report the hours Conservation Alliance and Greater Yellowstone Coalition employees and paid canvassers spent working on the campaign. But funding for those hours came from the individual nonprofits’ budgets, rather than from the PAC’s fundraising.
“Because it’s all work toward passing the SPET measure, we put it all on that report and said it’s an in-kind contribution to the PAC,” Schell said. “The Alliance has already raised it in the past, and we’re spending it now.”
A group advocating for the $22 million expansion of the Teton County/Jackson Recreation Center reported raising $3,300, also all from individuals. Top donors to the Rec Center PAC were Ben Aufderheide and Mary Springer, contributing $1,000 each, and $500 from Rex Hong.
For comparison, during the 2018 lodging tax election a pro-lodging tax PAC netted $116,640, while a PAC opposed to the tax raised $35,979.
Reports detailing PAC expenses are due after the Nov. 5 election.
The seven other projects up for a vote are $2 million for downtown water quality infrastructure, $18.5 million for a vehicle maintenance facility, $2 million for courthouse planning, $2.5 million for recycling infrastructure, $1.5 million for firefighting trucks, $8.5 million for Gregory Lane upgrades and $5.5 million for housing.
Read about each SPET ballot measure in detail, along with voter registration and polling station information, by turning to page 25A.