Austin: While Texans for Lawsuit Reform’s rent-a-candidate venture took a beating in the fall election, its sad showing can’t be blamed on a shortage of cash.
TLR showered more than $800,000 on its 15 favorite legislative candidates.
Texas’ most aggressive special- interest PAC financed this political shopping
spree by raising a whopping $947,409 in the 1998 election cycle.
Nearly half of this bulging
war chest (48%) came from an exclusive group of 16 fat cats who each bestowed more than $10,000 on the TLR PAC in the last cycle.
TLR’s “Sweet Sixteen” heap-ed a combined $452,500 on the PAC that is the poster child of the far right’s effort to engineer a partisan take-over of the Texas House of Representatives.
The group’s spin doctors claim the tort “reform” jihad is a popular movement, but TLR’s key funders are mil-lionaires and billionaires who see the tort “reform” crusade as another chance to pad the bottom line by rigging the legal system in their favor.
“TLR’s fat cats make up an exclusive club that seeks to control the legislature with its own hand-picked candidates,” said Craig McDonald, direc-tor of Texans for Public Jus-tice. “These are the Donald Trumps of Texas. They be-lieve they can buy whatever they want, including our gov-ernment.”
TLR’s top three contributors in the 1998 cycle ($50,000 each) have all
generated their share of controversy:
More and more, Texas com-munities blighted by indus-trial pollution are giving up any hope of relief from the industry-captured TNRCC, and are turning instead to the civil courts to seek redress against reckless polluters.
Given its toxic sugar daddies, it’s no surprise that two of TLR’s stated
goals for the 76th legislature are to “curb the abuse of class action lawsuits,”
and “clarify the definition of ‘toxic tort.’”
Other highlights of TLR’s reckless, anti-consumer agenda for 1999 include:
|James Leininger||Kinetic Concepts (hospital beds)||$50,000||$75,000|
|Dick Weekley||Weekley Development||$50,000||$100,000|
|William McMinn||Sterling Chemicals||$50,000||$85,000|
|Andrew Beal||Beal Bank/Beal Aerospace||$45,000||$45,000|
|Robert Folsom||Folsom Investments (developer)||$25,500||$50,500|
|Harlan Crow||Trammel Crow (construction)||$25,000||$77,500|
|Kenneth Lay||Enron Corp. (energy)||$25,000||$50,000|
|David Underwood||Lovett Underwood (stocks)||$25,000||$62,500|
|David Weekley||David Weekley Homes||$25,000||$75,000|
|Terry Huffington||Huffco. Inc. (energy)||$25,000||$51,000|
|Robert McNair||Cogen Technologies (utilities)||$25,000||$100,000|
|James Lightner||Electrospace Systems (defense)||$25,000||$40,000|
|Gordon Cain||Sterling Chemicals||$20,000||$35,000|
|Robert Rogers||Texas Industries (cement)||$15,000||$18,500|
|Walter Mischer||Allied Bancshare, Dover Homes||$11,000||$17,000|
|Louis Beecherl||Beecherl Investments (energy)||$11,000||$21,000|
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