The TLR PAC and the 24 tort tycoons supplied 16 percent of the $6.5 million war chest that Cornyn amassed for his A.G. race.
Founded by Houston real estate developer Richard Weekley, TLR is Texas’ most aggressive advocate of anti-consumer “tort reforms.” These laws are designed to limit consumer lawsuits and shield corporate wrongdoers from liability.
Cornyn’s tort tycoons all have a stake in limiting corporate liability in consumer lawsuits. Dr. James Leininger led this pack, giving $96,000 to Cornyn and another $100,000 to TLR’s PAC.
Other Cornyn tort-dodger patrons include: Robert McNair, of private utility Cogen Technologies ($90,000 to Cornyn); Perry Homes’ Bob Perry ($85,000); and the Weekleys ($64,500).
Cornyn took another $135,000 directly from the TLR PAC. This PAC, in turn, got half of its $950,000 1998 war chest from just 16 tycoon families.
Such big-donor friends of Cornyn may lose less sleep now that he is the state’s top lawyer.
Cornyn has been soft on corporate crime and hard on consumer lawyers who would hold corporations responsible for their actions.
On the Texas Supreme Court, Cornyn led the swing to protect corporate defendants when sued by victims and consumers. As an incumbent Supreme Court candidate in 1996, Cornyn raised a greater share of his money from litigants who appeared before the court than any other justice (46% of his money came from parties on the court’s docket).
“The Attorney General’s job is to protect average Texas citizens from
powerful corporate wrongdoers,” said Texans for Public Justice Director
Craig McDonald. “Cornyn may be the A.G. who protects powerful corporate
wrongdoers from average citizens.”
|$ To Cornyn||$ To TLR|
|Tort-Reform Financier||Commercial Interests||A.G. Race||'94-'98|
|TLR||Top TX Special-Interest PAC||$135,000||$3.2 M.*|
|+James Leininger||KCI (hospital bed mfg.)||$96,000||$100,000|
|+Robert McNair (w/PAC)||Cogen Tech./Cogen PAC (power)||$90,000||$150,000|
|+Bob Perry||Perry Homes||$85,000||$25,000|
|+Ken Lay (w/PAC)||Enron/Enron PAC (energy)||$65,500||$55,000|
|+David/Dick Weekley Fam.||David Weekley Homes||$64,500||$225,000|
|Tom/R. Steven Hicks||Hicks, Muse/Capstar (radio)||$55,000||$5,000|
|+J. Virgil Waggoner||Sterling Chemical||$55,000||$20,000|
|+William McMinn||Sterling Chemical||$50,000||$90,000|
|+Reed Morian Fam.||Dixie Holding Co. (chemicals)||$50,000||$37,000|
|+Louis Beecherl Fam.||Texas Oil & Gas||$49,000||$21,000|
|+Gordon Cain||Sterling Chemical||$46,000||$35,000|
|+David Underwood||Lovett, Underwood…(stocks)||$45,000||$62,500|
|+Richard Salwen||Dell Computer||$35,000||$500|
|Charles Butt Fam.||HEB (grocery chain)||$32,500||$10,000|
|+James A. Elkins, Jr.||First City (bank)||$30,500||$11,000|
|Herb Vest||H.D. Vest (financial services)||$30,000||$0|
|+H.B. Zachry (w/PAC)||HB Zachry/ZacoPAC (constr.)||$29,250||$0|
|+Peter O'Donnell Fam.||First National Bank||$25,000||$60,000|
|+Harold Simmons||Waste Control (nuclear dumping)||$21,000||$10,000|
|Dennis Berman||Denitech Corp. (copier leasing)||$20,000||$5,000|
|B.J. "Red" McCombs||Red McCombs (auto sales)||$14,000||$2,500|
|John McGovern||McGovern Allergy Clinic||$13,500||$15,000|
|+Fred Meyer||Aladdin Ind. (lanterns/thermoses)||$12,684||$2,000|
|John Nau||Silver Eagle Dist. (alcohol)||$12,500||$1,000|
* Amount TLR’s PAC raised from July 1994 through September
+ Has served on TLR’s Statewide Committee or Board of Governors; all others are TLR members.
PAC subtotals included in above Cornyn figures: Enron PAC = $25,500; Cogen PAC = $25,000; ZacoPAC = $5,000. •
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