Power Brokers:

October 04, 2002

50 People, 30 Institutions
Supply 26% of TX Political Money


By the end of June, 50 powerful Texas families and 30 institutional donors already had spent $35.6 million to influence this November’s state elections. By one measure, these 80 sources account for 26 percent of the state’s total political funding.

These figures are based on electronic disclosure reports that candidates and political action committees (PACs) file with the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC). While the numbers are imperfect, they are the best available.1  This report tracks political funds reported to the TEC thus far in the 2002 election cycle (January 2001 through June of 2002). New disclosures are due October 7.

So far this cycle, $137.4 million in political contributions have been electronically disclosed, with 18 percent of this money coming from 50 top individual donors and another 8 percent coming from 30 top institutional donors (see tables).

Economic Interests of 'The Texas 50'

Real Estate


Top Individual Donors

Three individual Texans already have spent more than $1 million apiece this election cycle. Two of them are oil tycoons who are self-financing much of their own campaigns for top state offices: Gubernatorial candidate Tony Sanchez ($10.2 million); and lieutenant governor candidate David Dewhurst ($2.6 million). The No. 3 donor is homebuilder Bob Perry, who has given $1.6 million, largely to Republican PACs and candidates.

Fifteen energy tycoons dominated The Texas 50, spending almost $16 million. Even without the $12.7 million from the two oil tycoons who are financing their own campaigns, the Energy sector accounts for just over half of all the state political money spent by The Texas 50.

Seven Construction industry donors, led by home-builder Bob Perry, spent $2.4 million, accounting for 10 percent of The Texas 50 money. Road builder James Pitcock of Williams Brothers Construction came next ($188,250), followed by Richard and David Weekley of David Weekley Homes ($161,911).

Nine Finance industry donors, led by Dallas financiers Charles and Sam Wyly ($345,000), spent $1.6 million, or 7 percent of The Texas 50 money.

The oft-discussed Lawyers & Lobbyists sector ranked No. 6. This sector’s five big donors spent $763,884, with corporate lawyer Dee Kelly accounting for 15 percent ($115,350) and four plaintiff lawyers and lobbyists, led by Joe Jamail ($230,500), accounting for all the rest.


Texas-Sized Individual Donors
Top 50 Individual Donors in Texas' 2002 Election Cycle

Donor Company Interest City Amount
*Tony Sanchez Sanchez O'Brien Oil & Gas Energy Laredo
David H. Dewhurst Falcon Seaboard Oil State Official Austin
Bob Perry Bob Perry Homes Construction Houston
James Leininger Kinetic Concepts Health San Antonio
Albert Huddleston Hyperion Resources Energy Dallas
Lonnie 'Bo' Pilgrim Pilgrim's Pride Agriculture Pittsburg
Harlan Crow Trammell Crow Real Estate Dallas
Robert McNair Cogen Technologies Energy Houston
Gordon Cain Sterling Group Chemicals Houston
Louis Beecherl Beecherl Investments Energy Dallas
Sam & Charles Wyly Wyly brothers investments Finance Dallas
William McMinn Sterling Group Chemicals Houston
B.J. 'Red' McCombs McCombs Enterprises Transportation San Antonio
T. Boone Pickens Mesa Oil & Gas Energy Dallas
Kenny A. Troutt Excel Communications Communications Dallas
Dan Duncan Enterprise Products Co Energy Houston
Geoffrey Raynor Q Funding Finance Fort Worth
Ray Hunt Hunt Oil Energy Dallas
Joe D. Jamail Jamail & Kolius Lawyers/Lobbyists Houston
Harold Simmons Contran Corp Finance Dallas
James Pitcock Williams Bros. Construction Construction Houston
J. Virgil Waggoner Sterling Group Chemicals Houston
Thomas Friedkin Friedkin Automotive Co's Transportation Houston
Mort Topfer Castletop Capital Finance Austin
Peter O'Donnell Jr. First National Bank-Dallas Finance Dallas
Charles Butt HEB Grocery Miscellaneous San Antonio
Richard Weekley David Weekley Homes Construction Houston
J. Ralph Ellis Jr. Ralph Ellis Co. Energy Irving
Robert B. Rowling Tana Oil & Gas Energy Irving
Lucien Flournoy Flournoy Production Co. Energy Alice
Frank L. Branson Frank L. Branson, P.C. Lawyers/Lobbyists Dallas
James Flores Ocean Energy Energy Houston
John McGovern McGovern Allergy Clinic Health Houston
Randall Goss U.S. Risk Insurance Group Insurance Dallas
George Hixon Hixon Properties Energy San Antonio
James Dannenbaum Dannenbaum Engineering Construction Houston
Ned Holmes Parkway Investments/TX Real Estate Houston
Nicholas Kralj Nicholas Kralj Lawyers/Lobbyists Austin
Charles Miller Meridian Advisors Finance Houston
Mikal Watts Watts & Heard Lawyers/Lobbyists Corpus
David Hartman Hartland Bank Finance Austin
Woody Hunt Hunt Building Corp. Construction El Paso
Michael Stevens Michael Stevens Interests Construction Houston
Chaz Glace Chasco Investments Construction Round Rock
Charles Tate Hicks Muse Tate & Furst Finance Dallas
Reed S. Morian D X Service Co. Chemicals Houston
William Clements Jr. Southeastern Drilling Co. Energy Dallas
Dee Kelly Kelly Hart & Hallman Lawyers/Lobbyists Fort Worth
Sid Bass Bass Bros. Enterprises Energy Fort Worth
Thomas Hicks Hicks Muse Tate & Furst Finance Dallas
Note: Contributions includes money given by immediate family members.
*Includes "Sanchez Spousal Trust."


Top Institutional Donors

Two institutional donors already have spent more than $1 million apiece to influence Texas elections in this election cycle. These are the Washington-based Republican National State Elections Committee ($1.1 million) and the Texas Association of Realtors (just over $1 million).

Lawyers & Lobbyists ranked No. 1 among Texas’ top 30 institutional donors, supplying $4.8 million, or 44 percent of the total from top institutional donors. Ten corporate law firms, led by Fulbright & Jaworski ($687,661), led this sector, accounting for 72 percent of the Lawyers & Lobbyists money. Two plaintiff law firms (led by Provost & Umphrey ($572,540) and two plaintiff PACs led by the Texas Trial Lawyers Association ($202,130) accounted for 24 percent of this sector’s money. The PAC of a corporate lobby firm, HillCo, supplied the remaining money in this sector ($186,693).

The sole Ideological PAC in the top 30, Texans for Lawsuit Reform ($444,473), also spends its money to support the corporate-defense agenda.


Economic Interests of 'The Texas 30'

Partisan PACs
Real Estate


Partisan PACs were the No. 2 source of institutional money. Three GOP PACs accounted for 87 percent of this money. One Democratic PAC, the Washington-based Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ($235,150), spent the other 13 percent.

The only two Labor PACs, representing the Teamsters ($213,435) and a Plumber’s Union local ($196,289), accounted for just 4 percent of the money from the top 30 institutional donors.


Texas-Sized Institutional Donors
Top 30 Institutional Donors in Texas' 2002 Election Cycle

Donor Interest City Amount
Republican National State Elections Com. Partisan Washington
TX Assoc. of Realtors Real Estate Austin
Fulbright & Jaworski Lawyers/Lobbyists Houston
TX Medical Assoc. Health Austin
‡Provost & Umphrey Lawyers/Lobbyists Beaumont
Vinson & Elkins PAC Lawyers/Lobbyists Houston
Bracewell & Patterson Lawyers/Lobbyists Houston
Texans For Lawsuit Reform PAC Ideological Houston
TX Automobile Dealers Assoc. PAC Transportation Austin
Haynes & Boone Lawyers/Lobbyists Dallas
TX Bell Employee PAC Communications Austin
Texas Dental PAC Health Austin
Hughes & Luce Lawyers/Lobbyists Dallas
*Bass Family Energy Fort Worth
Governor Bush Committee Partisan Austin
Locke Liddell & Sapp Lawyers/Lobbyists Houston
Jackson Walker Lawyers/Lobbyists Dallas
Democratic Congressional Campaign Com. Partisan Washington
‡Gallagher Law Firm Lawyers/Lobbyists Houston
Winstead Sechrest & Minick Lawyers/Lobbyists Dallas
Internat'l Brotherhood of Teamsters PAC Labor Washington
‡TX Trial Lawyers Assoc. Lawyers/Lobbyists Austin
Plumbers Local Union No. 68 PAC Labor Houston
HillCo PAC Lobby Austin
Republican Party of TX Partisan Austin
Reliant Energy (with Entex) PACs Energy Houston
Thompson & Knight Lawyers/Lobbyists Dallas
AT&T PAC Communications Austin
Brown McCarroll Lawyers/Lobbyists Austin
‡Constitutional Defense Fund PAC Lawyers/Lobbyists Port Arthur
TOTAL: $10,749,266
Corporate-defense firm.
Plaintiff firm.
*Includes the Bass family's PSEL PAC, Good Government Fund and Texas Progress Fund.


1 The data miss contributions to the minority of candidates and PACs that do not provide electronic disclosures (see “Luddite Lawmakers,” Texans for Public Justice, May 2001). Conversely, double-counting problems arise when a donor contributes to a PAC that then contributes that same money to another PAC or candidate.