Texans for Public Justice

609 West 18th St., Suite E, Austin, Texas 78701 ·PH:(512) 472-9770 ·FAX:(512) 472-9830
Embargoed Until Sunday Midnight:
(AM Papers, Monday, May 24, 1999
Contact Craig McDonald
 (512) 472-9770

Special-Interests Spend Up to $180 Million
On Lobby Services in 1999 Legislative Session

Corporate Clients Dominate, Spending Record Amount;
Southwestern Bell, Other Business Lobbies Lock Out 'Bubba'

Austin:  A new study found that 1,700 different special interests will spend up to $180 million to influence Texas politics during the 1999 Legislative session. The cost of these special-interest lobby tricks is up 19 percent over what the lobby spent during the 1997 legislative session, according to the study, Austin's Oldest Profession: Texas' Top Lobby Clients and Those Who Service Them.

"Legislators are rubbing shoulders with 1,579 lobbyists, almost all of whom hustle for business interests," said Texans for Public Justice Director Craig McDonald  "While our legislative process is dominated by corporate interests, there is virtually no counterbalancing lobby to represent Bubba. Nowhere on the list of Texas' biggest lobby spenders will you find a single group dedicated to the interests of consumers, the environment or human services. No wonder these citizen interests repeatedly get steam rolled in Austin."

Among the secrets revealed in Austin's Oldest Profession:

"We all have the constitutional right to petition the government, but getting listened to takes money," said McDonald. "Lobbying in Texas is an arms race dominated by those who can afford to spend millions on hired guns. This is government of the utilities, by the insurance industry and for the chemical companies."

Lobby spending reported to the TEC and used in this report includes only expenditures for directly lobbying government officials.  It does not include the money, estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars,  spent on grassroots lobbying and public relations activities to support or oppose legislation.  Expenditures for television,  radio and print advertising,  phone-banking, direct mail campaigns, and similar non-direct lobbying activities do not have to be reported.

Data analyzed in Austin's Oldest Profession comes from reports that lobbyists filed with the Texas Ethics Commission as of March 25, 1999. Lobby fees are reported in broad ranges (such as $50,000 to $99,999).

Copies of Austin's Oldest Profession are available through Texans for Public Justice,
PH: 512-472-9770 or at http://www.tpj.org.


Texans for Public Justice is a non-profit, non-partisan
research and advocacy organization that tracks the role of money in Texas politics.

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