- These 80 Donors Already Spent $35.6 Million In 2002 Cycle
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 com-mittees (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 in-dividual donors and another 8 percent coming from 30 top institutional donors (see tables).
Top Individual Donors
Economic Interests of 'The Texas 50' Interest Amount Percent Energy $15,907,464 64% Construction $2,416,998 10% Finance $1,636,720 7% Chemicals $1,011,750 4% Health $993,256 4% Lawyers/Lobbyists $763,884 3% Real Estate $593,288 2% Agriculture $544,150 2% Transportation $457,000 2% Communications $265,000 1% Miscellaneous $162,000 1% Insurance $143,500 1% TOTAL: $24,895,010 100%
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.
Note: Contributions includes money given by immediate family members.
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 $10,172,407 David H. Dewhurst Falcon Seaboard Oil State Official Austin $2,570,277 Bob Perry Bob Perry Homes Construction Houston $1,550,500 James Leininger Kinetic Concepts Health San Antonio $823,506 Albert Huddleston Hyperion Resources Energy Dallas $695,000 Lonnie 'Bo' Pilgrim Pilgrim's Pride Agriculture Pittsburg $544,150 Harlan Crow Trammell Crow Real Estate Dallas $453,750 Robert McNair Cogen Technologies Energy Houston $391,150 Gordon Cain Sterling Group Chemicals Houston $386,500 Louis Beecherl Beecherl Investments Energy Dallas $357,000 Sam & Charles Wyly Wyly brothers investments Finance Dallas $345,000 William McMinn Sterling Group Chemicals Houston $315,000 B.J. 'Red' Mccombs McCombs Enterprises Transportation San Antonio $282,000 T. Boone Pickens Mesa Oil & Gas Energy Dallas $268,600 Kenny A. Troutt Excel Communications Communications Dallas $265,000 Dan Duncan Enterprise Products Co Energy Houston $238,080 Geoffrey Raynor Q Funding Finance Fort Worth $235,720 Ray Hunt Hunt Oil Energy Dallas $230,500 Joe D. Jamail Jamail & Kolius Lawyers/Lobbyists Houston $230,500 Harold Simmons Contran Corp Finance Dallas $218,250 James Pitcock Williams Bros. Construction Construction Houston $188,250 J. Virgil Waggoner Sterling Group Chemicals Houston $193,000 Thomas Friedkin Friedkin Automotive Co's Transportation Houston $175,000 Mort Topfer Castletop Capital Finance Austin $174,500 Peter O'Donnell Jr. First National Bank-Dallas Finance Dallas $165,000 Charles Butt HEB Grocery Miscellaneous San Antonio $162,000 Richard Weekley David Weekley Homes Construction Houston $161,911 J. Ralph Ellis Jr. Ralph Ellis Co. Energy Irving $156,500 Robert B. Rowling Tana Oil & Gas Energy Irving $156,250 Lucien Flournoy Flournoy Production Co. Energy Alice $151,750 Frank L. Branson Frank L. Branson, P.C. Lawyers/Lobbyists Dallas $148,180 James Flores Ocean Energy Energy Houston $147,000 John McGovern McGovern Allergy Clinic Health Houston $169,750 Randall Goss U.S. Risk Insurance Group Insurance Dallas $143,500 George Hixon Hixon Properties Energy San Antonio $142,250 James Dannenbaum Dannenbaum Engineering Construction Houston $141,900 Ned Holmes Parkway Investments/TX Real Estate Houston $139,538 Nicholas Kralj Nicholas Kralj Lawyers/Lobbyists Austin $137,133 Charles Miller Meridian Advisors Finance Houston $136,350 Mikal Watts Watts & Heard Lawyers/Lobbyists Corpus $132,721 David Hartman Hartland Bank Finance Austin $130,900 Woody Hunt Hunt Building Corp. Construction El Paso $129,038 Michael Stevens Michael Stevens Interests Construction Houston $126,399 Chaz Glace Chasco Investments Construction Round Rock $119,000 Charles Tate Hicks Muse Tate & Furst Finance Dallas $118,500 Reed S. Morian D X Service Co. Chemicals Houston $117,250 William Clements Jr. Southeastern Drilling Co. Energy Dallas $116,650 Dee Kelly Kelly Hart & Hallman Lawyers/Lobbyists Fort Worth $115,350 Sid Bass Bass Bros. Enterprises Energy Fort Worth $114,050 Thomas Hicks Hicks Muse Tate & Furst Finance Dallas $112,500 TOTAL: $24,895,010
*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).
Economic Interests of 'The Texas 30' Interest Amount Percent Lawyers/Lobbyists $4,783,031 44% Partisan PACs $1,847,222 17% Real Estate $1,023,987 10% Health $913,799 9% Communications $479,771 4% Energy $475,108 4% Ideological $444,473 4% Labor $409,724 4% Transportation $372,151 3% TOTALS: $10,749,266 100%
The sole Ideological PAC in the top 30, Texans for Lawsuit Reform ($444,473), also spends its money to support the corporate-defense agenda.
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.
† Corporate-defense firm.
Texas-Sized Institutional Donors
Top 30 Institutional Donors in Texas' 2002 Election Cycle
Donor Interest City Amount Republican National State Elections Com. Partisan Washington $1,149,372 TX Assoc. of Realtors Real Estate Austin $1,023,987 †Fulbright & Jaworski Lawyers/Lobbyists Houston $687,661 TX Medical Assoc. Health Austin $590,799 •Provost & Umphrey Lawyers/Lobbyists Beaumont $572,540 †Vinson & Elkins PAC Lawyers/Lobbyists Houston $568,315 †Bracewell & Patterson Lawyers/Lobbyists Houston $477,550 Texans For Lawsuit Reform PAC Ideological Houston $444,473 TX Automobile Dealers Assoc. PAC Transportation Austin $372,151 †Haynes & Boone Lawyers/Lobbyists Dallas $363,100 TX Bell Employee PAC Communications Austin $328,921 Texas Dental PAC Health Austin $323,000 †Hughes & Luce Lawyers/Lobbyists Dallas $309,765 *Bass Family Energy Fort Worth $307,701 Governor Bush Committee Partisan Austin $290,200 †Locke Liddell & Sapp Lawyers/Lobbyists Houston $265,378 †Jackson Walker Lawyers/Lobbyists Dallas $255,150 Democratic Congressional Campaign Com. Partisan Washington $235,150 •Gallagher Law Firm Lawyers/Lobbyists Houston $232,000 †Winstead Sechrest & Minick Lawyers/Lobbyists Dallas $219,599 Internat'l Brotherhood of Teamsters PAC Labor Washington $213,435 •TX Trial Lawyers Assoc. Lawyers/Lobbyists Austin $202,130 Plumbers Local Union No. 68 PAC Labor Houston $196,289 HillCo PAC Lobby Austin $186,693 Republican Party of TX Partisan Austin $172,500 Reliant Energy (with Entex) PACs Energy Houston $167,407 †Thompson & Knight Lawyers/Lobbyists Dallas $154,000 AT&T PAC Communications Austin $150,850 †Brown McCarroll Lawyers/Lobbyists Austin $145,150 •Constitutional Defense Fund PAC Lawyers/Lobbyists Port Arthur $144,000 TOTAL: $10,749,266
• Plaintiff firm.
*Includes the Bass family's PSEL PAC, Good Government Fund and Texas Progress Fund.
1The 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.
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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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