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Almost $3 Million In June & July!
 Sept 24, 2003
Big Bets Cast In Texas'
GOP Elephant Fight

Donors Line Up As Strayhorn Battles Perry and Dewhurst For Money and Power.

As mapmaking pens—wielded like swords—clove a bipartisanship legislature in two, Texas’ top GOP officials mustered their collective leadership to embrace one another--with steely knives.

Ostensibly, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn has spent the year clashing with Governor Rick Perry and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst over bean-counting disputes. But such theatrics fail to hide the fact that these politicians are less interested in cutting budgets than they are in cutting up each other—even when the next major statewide election is in late 2006!

As former Governor Bush is learning, wars are expensive. The hardest wars to finance are the internecine kind where opponents fight over the same pots of money. These three state politicians raked $2,850,999 into their war chests just in the months of June and July. In fact, while Strayhorn was raising money in early June, Perry and Dewhurst had to wait for the gubernatorial-veto window to close on June 23 to restart their fundraising machines.
June and July Fundraising
By Perry, Dewhurst & Strayhorn
Politician Money Raised Since
Regular Session Ended
Governor Perry $425,971
Lt. Governor Dewhurst $1,342,260
Comptroller Strayhorn $1,082,768
TOTAL: $2,850,999
Governor Perry has kept these machines primed with repeated special sessions for redistricting. This has kept Perry and Dewhurst in the news as partisan warriors struggling to throw their base more red meat. These same sessions have challenged Strayhorn to find creative ways to thrust herself into the news—a task made easier by the Governor Perry-backed special-session bill to strip away some Comptroller powers.

Against this tawdry backdrop, Lobby Watch investigates which big donors exclusively backed Strayhorn in recent months at the expense of Perry or Dewhurst--and vice versa (ignoring contributions of less than $1,000).

Comptroller Strayhorn raised almost $1.1 million in June and July, more than twice what Governor Perry raised and not far behind indebted Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst. Her top Strayhorn-only donors include: Hard-right heavy weights James Leininger and Lonnie Pilgrim; Energy interests that may reflect her Railroad Commissioner years (Patrick Moran and Duer Wagner); and investment firm heads Geoffrey Raynor, Fayez Sarofim and Charles Miller. Strayhorn appointed UT System Regent Miller to head her “e-Texas” education task force. Now her enemies want to take Strayhorn’s e-Texas program away from her. Perhaps the most intriguing Strayhorn contribution is the $10,000 she received from the lobbyist brother of Texas redistricting kingpin Tom DeLay.

Top Strayhorn-Only Donors
Strayhorn-Only Donor Amount Company/Interest City
Kenneth Banks $25,000 International Muffler Co. Schulenburg
Stanley Harper $25,000 Lenders & Members Service Group (auto loans) Mansfield
James Leininger $25,000 KCI, Inc. (hi-tech hospital beds) San Antonio
MAXXAM, Inc. PAC $25,000 MAXXAM (Charles Hurwitz, corporate takeovers) Houston
William McMinn $25,000 Sterling Group (chemical company buyouts) Houston
Lonnie Pilgrim $25,000 Pilgrim's Pride (poultry) Pittsburg
Q PAC $25,000 Q Funding (Geoffrey Raynor's investment firm) Fort Worth
Meredith Long $15,000 Meredith Long Galleries (art dealer) Houston
Patrick J. Moran $15,000 Moran Resources (energy) Houston
Fayez Sarofim $15,000 Fayez Sarofim & Co. (investments) Houston
Ben Barnes $10,000 Entrecorp (lobbying) Austin
Randolph Delay $10,000 Public/Private Strategies (lobbying) Houston
James Elkins $10,000 Retired banker Houston
Haynes & Boone $10,000 Corporate defense law firm Dallas
John McGovern $10,000 Allergy clinics Houston
Thomas Tourtellotte $10,000 Hance Scarborough et. al (law/lobby firm) Austin
J. Virgil Waggoner $10,000 Retired Vice Chair of Sterling Chemical Spring
Duer Wagner $10,000 Duer Wagner & Co. (energy) Fort Worth
Charles Miller $ 8,079 Meridian National Inc. (investments, UT Regent) Houston
Harlan Hall $7,500 SALT Group (tax consulting) Kerrville

Perry & Dewhurst
Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst led the fundraising blitz, taking in $1.3 million in the five-week period that ended on July 28th. Yet he is hardly ahead of the game. Dewhurst’s campaign reported a staggering $13 million debt left over from his squeaker election in 2002. The campaign spent $282,748 in the first half of the year just paying interest on these loans--which Dewhurst personally secured. Just to break even, this wealthy candidate must either raise frightening amounts of money or raid his personal piggy bank.

Being over the barrel can yield strange bedfellows. Dewhurst’s top non-Strayhorn donors range from nuclear-waste king and tort warrior Harold Simmons to plaintiff firm Gallagher Lewis Downey & Kim (many more plaintiff lawyers surface in Dewhurst’s second tier of donors).

Compared with Governor Perry, Dewhurst has raked in more non-Strayhorn money from GOP lions like Simmons and the Wyly brothers. In contrast, Perry’s top non-Strayhorn supporters come from a secondary tier of Texas donors. Perry also received no money from institutional donors such as PACs and businesses and his office says that he did not eschew such money. It is not clear if these differences arise because these interests actively favor Dewhurst over Perry or because Dewhurst’s huge debts have prompted him to panhandle more aggressively.

To be sure, a core of partisans and pragmatists gave both to Strayhorn and to one of the men whose offices she covets. Risk-adverse Houston real estate magnate Ned Holmes gave to all three politicians.

These politicians are due to file additional campaign disclosures on September 25th, which will cover fundraising that occurred during this year’s second special session of the legislature.

Top Non-Strayhorn Donors To Dewhurst
Non-Strayhorn Donor Amount Company/Interest City
Gallagher Lewis Downey… $50,000 Plaintiff law firm Houston
Polan Culley Advocacy $50,000 Lobbyists Austin
T. Boone Pickens $50,000 Mesa Water (water rights) Dallas
Harold C. Simmons $50,000 Corporate takeovers, nuclear waste Dallas
Kenny A. Troutt $50,000 Excel Communications Dallas
Sam & Charles Wyly $50,000 Ranger Capital (corporate takeovers) Dallas
Akin GumP Strauss Hauer… $25,000 Corporate law firm/lobbying Austin
Alan Erwin $25,000 Lobbyist Austin
Loeffler Jonas & Tuggey $25,000 Lobbyists San Antonio
James D. Pitcock $25,000 Williams Brothers Construction Sugar Land
Barkley J. Stuart $25,000 Glazer's (alcohol distributors) Dallas
TX Assoc. of Realtors $25,000 TX Assoc. of Realtors Austin
TX Farm Bureau $25,000 TX Farm Bureau Waco
TX Medical Assoc. $25,000 TX Medical Assoc. Austin
H. B. Zachry $25,000 Zachry Construction Corporation San Antonio

Top Non-Strayhorn Donors To Perry
Non-Strayhorn Donor Amount Company/Interest City
Phil Adams $25,000 Phil Adams Co. (insurance) Bryan
Moshe Azoulay $25,000 American Garment Finishers Dallas
David Carter $25,000 Personal Way Transportation Addison
Forrest Hoglund $25,000 Ex-Enron Executive  
John McStay $25,000 McStay Investment Council Dallas
Richard Salwen $25,000 Retired Dell Computer executive Austin
L.E. Simmons $25,000 SCF Partners (investments) Houston
Dian Stai $25,000 Retired Owen Healthcare (drugs) Abilene
Mort Topfer $25,000 Dell Computer Austin
Richard Wallrath $25,000 Champion Ranch Centerville

Major Donors To Strayhorn and Perry or Dewhurst
Donor Company/Interest City Strayhorn Perry Dewhurst
Bob Perry Perry Homes Houston $25,000   $50,000
Louis A. Beecherl, Jr. Beecherl Investments (oil) Dallas $10,000   $25,000
J. Dan Brown Brown Distributing (alcohol) Austin $1,000 $25,000  
Charles C. Butt H.E.B. groceries San Antonio $25,000   $25,000
Harlan Crow Crow Holdings (real estate) Dallas $25,000   $25,000
James D. Dannenbaum Dannenbaum Engineering (dams) Houston $10,000 $25,000 $25,000
J. Ralph Ellis, Jr. Ralph Ellis Co. (energy)  Irving $10,000 $25,000  
Robert Girling Girling Health Care Austin $25,000   $2,000
Ned Holmes Parkway Investments (real estate) Houston $5,000 $25,000 $10,000
Loeffler Jonas & Tuggey Lobbying San Antonio $25,000   $25,000
Drayton McLane, Jr. McLane Group, Wal-Mart, retail Temple $25,000 $25,000  
Vance C. Miller Henry S. Miller Co's (real estate) Dallas $1,000   $25,000
Peter J. O'Donnell, Jr. Retired banker Dallas $10,000   $25,000

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Texans for Public Justice is a non-partisan, non-profit policy & research organization
 which tracks the influence of money in politics.

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