If you had the impression that the Richardson Coalition was some kind of civic volunteer service organization, it may have been because the Richardson Coalition fostered that impression by sponsoring programs like the Richardson Real Heroes award. But if you look closely at fine print at the bottom of the Richardson Coalition web page, you'll notice "Pol. Adv. paid for by the Richardson Residents for Responsive Government, a Political Action Committee (also commonly known as the Richardson Coalition PAC)."
Yep, the Richardson Coalition is a PAC, organized to collect money in order to influence elections. Up to now, the only elections the PAC has attempted to sway were Richardson city council elections.
Up to now, that is. After the jump, the PAC expands its reach.
This year, the Richardson Coalition PAC used its impressive email list (assembled in part from seeking nominations by email for that Real Heroes award) to send out recommendations for the upcoming GOP party primary elections. Taking sides in one political party's primary election is about as partisan as it gets.
It's probably too much to ask that the Richardson Coalition PAC adopt basic truth in advertising by always identifying themselves as a political action committee (in the main text, not just the fine print), but I hope they'll at least no longer use the word "non-partisan" in future press releases like this one: "The Richardson Real Heroes Award was created in 2010 by the Richardson Coalition, a non-partisan community group dedicated to promoting economic progress and the preservation of the city's values and quality of life."
Somehow the Richardson Coalition PAC has involved the Leadership Richardson Alumni Association in its Real Heroes program. At least LRAA says it "finds ways to assist." Why is Leadership Richardson helping a political action committee at all? Leadership Richardson itself is a creation of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce. The chamber itself has a legislative agenda, and has always been involved in politics, but I have not seen the Richardson chapter endorse individual candidates. The mutual support between the Richardson Coalition PAC, Leadership Richardson, and the Richardson Chamber of Commerce risks giving all three organizations a reputation of political partisanship.
By the way, one of the races that the Richardson Coalition PAC is making a recommendation in is for Texas Senate District 16. Most (all?) of Richardson lies in Texas Senate District 8. Is the Richardson Coalition PAC trying to extend its influence to elections in neighboring cities?
OTOH, nothing said above should be construed as approval or disapproval of the specific candidate recommendations by the Richardson Coalition PAC, all of which I just happen to agree with. So... never mind. ;-)