Texas State Government!
Under the nose of Texas’ Homeland Security Task Force, rogue WorldCom Corp. openly bought influence with Texas politicians through an Austin PAC and 11 hired guns.
WorldCom recently decapitated its top management after admitting that it bamboozled investors by inflating its profits by $3.8 billion since 2001. The company now says new audits are likely to shave another $1 billion off its reported profits.
The non-federal campaigns of Texas statewide and legislative candidates took more than $135,000 from MCI WorldCom’s PAC and executives since 1997, when MCI and WorldCom announced their merger. MCI WorldCom TEXPAC moved most of this money. The PAC’s donors include newly fired WorldCom CFO Scott Sullivan and current Chief Operating Officer Ronald Beaumont—who just stepped down as host of a U.S. Senate fundraiser for John Cornyn. The top recipients of MCI WorldCom money are Governor Rick Perry and Attorney General John Cornyn (see table 2).
WorldCom also paid 11 lobbyists up to $675,000 in the last legislative session. Its hired guns include former Bush gubernatorial aides Roy Coffee and Reggie Bashur (Bashur’s move from the Governor’s Office into the lobby helped prompt Bush to adopt belated revolving-door rules for his staff). WorldCom also hired three ex-legislators and ex-Public Utilities Commissioner Marta Greytok.
WorldCom-mies In Texas' Lobby (12/31/01) Lobbyist Background Max. Value
Reggie Bashur GOP consultant/lobbyist $100,000 $50,000 Marta Greytok Ex-PUC Commissioner $100,000 $50,000 *†Neal Larsen Top MCI Austin staff lobbyist $100,000 $50,000 *Jamie P. Luby WorldCom TEXPAC Treasurer $100,000 $50,000 Roy C. Coffee Gov. Bush's top D.C. lobbyist $50,000 $25,000 Richard G. Hardy Hardy & Assoc. lobby firm $50,000 $20,000 *Mark Seale Ex-aide to Ex-Sen. Jerry Patterson $50,000 $25,000 Hector Uribe Ex-Legislator $50,000 $25,000 Hilary B. Doran Jr. Ex-Legislator $25,000 $10,000 *Alfred R. Herrera MCI Senior Counsel $25,000 $10,000 William E. Siebert Ex-Legislator $25,000 $10,000 TOTAL: $675,000 $325,000 Donor to MCI WorldCom TEXPAC; † Gave $5,000 to Rick Perry on 9/2/99.
Since its merger, one of MCI WorldCom’s main objectives has been to get the Texas Legislature and Public Utility Commission (PUC) to lower the fees that other phone companies must pay to access Southwestern Bell’s local phone lines. While lower fees stimulate competition, lawmakers and regulators have been slow to embrace this reform as a result of Southwestern Bell’s vastly superior clout. Its parent company, SBC Corp., spent up to $6.9 million on 96 Texas lobby contracts in 2001.
Whether it was criminal intent or extraordinary negligence that prompted WorldCom to bilk investors out of billions of dollars has little effect on the misfortunes of its victims. So far, just a few Texas politicians have elevated WorldCom to Enron-scandal status by returning this money or donating it to WorldCom victim funds.
Yet the top recipients of this money say they will return just pennies on the dollar. Governor Perry, who took at least $32,500 from WorldCom’s PAC and executives, has said he will return $10,000. Cornyn, whose attorney general campaign took $15,000, said he will return just the $5,000 received by his U.S. Senate campaign.
In contrast, Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander has said she will return $4,500 in WorldCom money. That is more than the $2,000 reported here because her campaign says it went all the back to 1994 contributions to purge itself of this dirty money.
After WorldCom bamboozled investors with accounting tricks that disclosed just a fraction of its actual business expenses, politicians should not try to bamboozle voters by returning just a fraction of their total WorldCom receipts. The public deserves a full accounting when it comes to the politics of business and the business of politics. •
Top Recipients of
MCI WorldCom Cash
Rick Perry $32,500 John Cornyn $15,000 David Sibley $7,500 Steven Wolens $7,000 John Carona $6,000 Ken Armbrister $4,500 Jeff Wentworth $4,500 Greg Abbott $3,000 Kip Averitt $3,000 Gonzalo Barrientos $3,000 Fred Hill $3,000 James 'Pete' Laney $3,000 Florence Shapiro $3,000 Juan J. Hinojosa $2,500 Kyle Janek $2,500 David Bernsen $2,000 David H. Cain $2,000 Frank Madla $2,000 Rene Oliveira $2,000 Carole K. Rylander $2,000 Todd Staples $2,000 Barry Williamson $2,000 Buster Brown $1,000 George W. Bush $1,000 David Counts $1,000 Robert Duncan $1,000 Craig Estes $1,000 Troy Fraser $1,000 Mario Gallegos, Jr. $1,000 J.M. Jackson $1,000 Mike Jackson $1,000 Jon Lindsay $1,000 Eduardo Lucio $1,000 Jim Mattox $1,000 Michael Moncrief $1,000 Jane Nelson $1,000 Steve Ogden $1,000 Bill Ratliff $1,000 Eliot Shapleigh $1,000 John Sharp $1,000 Leticia Van De Putte $1,000 Royce West $1,000 John Whitmire $1,000 TOTAL: $135,000 Note: Covers Jan. 1997 through April 1, 2002.
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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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