Low-Fidelity Donors Give To Both Laney & Craddick
In the November 2002 elections, the Republican Party won the last vestige of state Democratic control: the Texas House. As conservative Democratic House Speaker Pete Laney passed the speaker’s gavel to conservative Rep. Tom Craddick--the first Republican House Speaker in 130 years--speculation abounds over how this transition will affect state policies.
In a critical respect, however, the new boss looks like the old boss. More than half of the campaign money that Craddick raised in the 2002 election cycle came from the very same special-interest lobby that bankrolled Laney in 2000. Of the $2.5 million that these powerful legislators raised in those time periods, 53 percent came from 202 donors who stocked the war chests of both men. A solid core of the special-interest lobby practices a low-fidelity pragmatism, plugging into the speaker--no matter who he or she might be.
As an incumbent speaker, Laney faced different circumstances in 2000 than Craddick faced in 2002. Throughout most of the 2002 cycle, donors faced much greater uncertainty about who would be the speaker during the 2003 legislative session. Speculation abounded over whether or not Republican-controlled redistricting would yield a GOP House majority, topple Laney’s reign or anoint Craddick or some other new speaker. After the November 5th election, however, it became increasingly clear that the GOP-controlled House would choose Craddick, its longest-serving Republican, as its new leader when it convened in January.
As the accompanying table shows, Craddick raised an astounding $1 million in the brief “late-train” period after the election. This torrent of money flowing to the man most likely to be king accounted for 92 percent of all the money that Craddick raised in the 2002 cycle. Here again, almost half of Craddick’s late-train money came from pragmatists who also had armed Laney’s war chest in the previous election cycle.
Stereo Speaker Aficionados
Give To Both Laney and Craddick
Laney ('00) $1,388,104 $767,997 55% $274,678 57% Craddick ('02) $1,095,536 $557,887 51% $1,003,645 49% TOTALS: $2,483,640 $1,325,884 53% $1,278,323 51%
The Texas Association of Realtors led the pragmatist donors, giving $35,000 to Laney in the 2000 cycle and buying a $25,000 ticket on the Craddick late train. Prominent among the lions of the special-interest lobby that bankrolled both speakers are seven energy interests, led by the Bass family and Texas Petroleum Marketers. Led by Akin Gump, five law firms made the cut, including one plaintiff firm: Baron & Budd. Five health-industry interests also appear, led by the Texas Dental Association. The leading individual pragmatists were lobbyist Rusty Kelley and HEB grocery CEO Charles Butt.
New Speaker, Same Old Tune? Major Donors
Laney and Craddick
Total To Laney ('00)
and To Craddick's
('02) 'Late Train'
'01 and '02
TX Assn. of Realtors $60,000 $35,000 $25,000 $2,000 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld $40,000 $30,000 $10,000 $1,000 Bass family PACs (oil fortune) $35,000 $10,000 $25,000 $10,000 TX Bell Employee PAC $32,500 $22,500 $10,000 $5,000 TX Dental Assn. $30,000 $20,000 $10,000 $2,000 TX Medical Assn $30,000 $17,500 $12,500 $0 TX Petroleum Marketers $30,000 $20,000 $10,000 $1,000 Vinson & Elkins $30,000 $20,000 $10,000 $0 Russell T. Kelley (lobbyist) $25,413 $15,413 $10,000 $0 Charles C. Butt (HEB grocery) $25,000 $20,000 $5,000 $0 TX Health Care Assn $22,500 $7,500 $15,000 $0 Texas Utilities $22,500 $15,000 $7,500 $0 Albert Huddleston (Hyperion oil) $20,000 $10,000 $10,000 $0 Robert McNair (Cogen Tech.) $20,000 $10,000 $10,000 $0 TX Optometric PAC $20,000 $10,000 $10,000 $0 HUBPAC $18,173 $8,173 $10,000 $0 Fulbright & Jaworski $17,000 $10,000 $7,000 $0 TX Manufactured Housing Assn. $17,000 $12,000 $5,000 $0 Real Estate Council of Austin $15,900 $10,900 $5,000 $0 Baron & Budd $15,000 $10,000 $5,000 $0 Houston Fire Fighters PAC $15,000 $10,000 $5,000 $0 TX Automobile Dealers Assn. $15,000 $10,000 $5,000 $0 TX Ophthalmological Assn. $14,000 $12,000 $2,000 $0 Assoc. Gen'l Contractors of TX $13,500 $11,000 $2,500 $0 Reliant Energy $13,500 $10,000 $3,500 $0 Compass Bancpac $12,500 $10,000 $2,500 $0 Independent Insurance Agents $12,500 $10,000 $2,500 $2,500 Jack L. Martin (lobbyist) $12,500 $10,000 $2,500 $0 TX Assn. of Builders HOMEPAC $11,000 $2,500 $8,500 $0 Koch PAC (oil) $11,000 $10,000 $1,000 $0,000 Locke Liddell & Sapp $11,000 $6,000 $5,000 $1,500 TOTALS: $667,486 $415,486 $252,000 $25,000
Each speaker also had big loyalist donors who were more partisan or exclusive than the lobby's pragmatists. The biggest partisan, the Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA), gave $30,000 to Laney in 2000 but did not give to Craddick in the 2002 cycle. With TSTA support, Laney used the speaker's gavel to fend off a “voucher system” that would let private schools tap public school funds. Vouchers stand a much better chance on Craddick’s watch.
Big Laney-Only Contributors Contributor Description Location Amount
TX State Teachers Assn Teachers union Austin $30,000 *Coastal Employees PAC Oil & gas company Houston $15,000 McGinnis Lochridge & Kilgore Corporate law firm Austin $10,000 Tigua Indian Reservation Tribal casino El Paso $10,000 James D. Pitcock, Jr. Williams Bros. Construction Sugar Land $10,000 Coalition for Better Transpo. Highway construction PAC Dallas $10,000 Stratus Properties PAC Real Estate developer Austin $9,000 Technet TX PAC High-Tech industry Austin $7,500 Bernard/Audre Rapoport American Income Life Ins. Waco $7,500 Coca Cola Enterprises PAC Beverage PAC Atlanta $7,000 * El Paso Corp. acquired Coastal Corp. in 2001.
Similarly, the Tigua Indians bet against the House when they looked to the Democrats and Speaker Laney to stop their Speaking Rock Casino from being shuttered. Neither the Tiguas nor the teachers boarded Craddick’s late train. While some business interests on the Laney-only list may start giving to Craddick when fundraising season opens again on June 3, liberal labor union insurer Bernard Rapoport and now-defunct Coastal Corp. are unlikely to join them.
Less fluidity is expected from Craddick partisans, who now have even less incentive to support Democratic candidates for state leadership positions than they did before the last election. One of Craddick’s top partisan backers is homebuilder Bob Perry, the single largest individual political donor in the state.
Like the new speaker, two top Craddick-only donors (Donald Wood and Julia Jones Matthews) have West Texas oil fortunes (Wood also sold a big chain of convenience stores in 2001). Until recently, another notable on the list, lobbyist Bill Miller, simultaneously served as a spokesman for Farmer’s Insurance and the new speaker’s transition team.
Another big Craddick-only donor is the PAC of investor Geoffrey Raynor, who may not want to extend radical tort reform to the financial industry. A Cayman Island entity that Raynor apparently controls filed two lawsuits last year against Ernst & Young. The litigation seeks to recover a $52 million investment in the bonds of a telecommunications company that failed.
*Manages hospitals' drug purchases.
Big Craddick-Only Contributors Contributor Description Location 'Late Train'
’01 and ‘02
Donald E. Wood Convenience store chains Odessa $10,000 $0 Julia Jones Matthews Dodge Jones Fdn. oil heir Abilene $10,000 $0 Dian Graves Stai *Ex-Chair Owen Healthcare Abilene $10,000 $0 Bob Perry Bob Perry Homes Houston $10,000 $0 Q PAC Investor Geoffrey Raynor Fort Worth $5,155 $2,000 Bill Miller Lobbyist Austin $7,096 $0 Friends of University PAC UT boosters Austin $5,000 $2,000 Bennie Bock II Attorney, ex-legislator New Braunfels $6,000 $0 American Electric Power Electric utility PAC Austin $5,000 $1,000
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