Texans for Public Justice


On Commission: Sun Never Sets On Politicians Taking Homebuilder Money
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On Commission: 
September 25, 2008
Sun Never Sets On Politicians
Taking Homebuilder Money

    • $4 Million Says Reports of Builder Agency's Demise Exaggerated
    • Big Bucks Back Bogus Bureaucracy

The Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) is undergoing a state Sunset Commission review to determine if it merits the tax dollars it consumes. Consumer and homeowner groups support the Sunset staff’s recent recommendation to scrap the agency because it adds insults to the injuries of those who buy lemon homes.

The recommendation to abolish the “fundamentally flawed” TRCC1 now goes to the lawmaker-controlled Sunset Advisory Commission, which will offer its own advice on the matter to the very legislature that huddled with homebuilders to create this lemon agency in 2003. Lawmakers at this week’s Sunset Commission hearing did not welcome calls for TRCC’s abolition.2

It will be difficult for the legislature and the state’s two top officials to view this sunset objectively. Apart from working with the homebuilding industry to create the TRCC five years ago, these officials have taken almost $4 million from the industry in the past three years.

The 10 lawmakers on the Sunset Advisory Commission took a total of $223,050 from homebuilders in this period.3 Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick, who appointed the eight Republicans and two Democrats to the Sunset Commission, took a total of $600,382 from homebuilders in that period.4 The builders gave another $649,218 to Governor Rick Perry, who wields veto power.

The Houston Chronicle’s Clay Robison recently reported that the 10 lawmakers now sitting on the Sunset Commission have taken a staggering $446,000 from Houston homebuilder Bob Perry over their legislative careers.5 In the past three years, Bob Perry has given almost $2.9 million to the governor, lieutenant governor and Texas lawmakers. This head of Houston-based Perry Homes accounts for 72 percent of the $4 million tracked in this report.

Homebuilder Contributions To Texas Lawmakers
And Top Officials, June 2005 Through June 2008
Office
Homebuilder
 Contributions
Amount From
Bob Perry
Bob Perry's Share
of Homebuilder
Total
House
$1,972,357
$1,531,000
78%
Senate
$832,623
$574,500
69%
Gov. Rick Perry
$649,218
$361,799
56%
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst
$537,882
$410,000
76%
  TOTAL:
$3,992,080
$2,877,299
72%
f
     John Krugh

In a 2006 study analyzing the crossover between Governor Perry’s campaign contributors and political appointees, TPJ found that the appointee with the most employer-related gubernatorial contributions was Perry Homes Corporate Counsel John Krugh.6 After Krugh helped draft legislation to create the TRCC, Governor Perry appointed him to a TRCC seat that Krugh still occupies. Houston Democratic Rep. Garnet Coleman was referring to this appointment when he told the Austin American-Statesman, “In Texas you can buy your own state agency, then regulate yourself.”7

The industry’s influence is extensive. Just six lawmakers did not appear to receive homebuilder contributions during the period studied. These Democrats were: Sen. Leticia Van De Putte and Rep. David Leibowitz of San Antonio, Reps. Dan Barrett and Lon Burnam of Fort Worth, Rep. Jessica Farrar of Houston and Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway of Dallas.8

Homebuilder Contributions To Members
of the Sunset Advisory Commission
Builder
Total
 Sunset Recipient
Party
Dist.
B. Perry
Total
B. Perry Share
of Builder Money
$59,200
 Sen. Glenn Hegar
R
18
$45,000
76%
$49,000
 Sen. Bob Deuell
R
2
$40,000
82%
$26,000
 Sen. Kim Brimer
R
10
$12,500
48%
$24,750
 Sen. Craig Estes
R
30
$12,500
51%
$18,500
 Rep. Linda Harper- Brown
R
105
$13,500
73%
$14,250
 Rep. Dan Flynn
R
2
$8,000
56%
$9,000
 Sen. Juan Hinojosa
D
20
$2,500
28%
$6,350
 Rep. Carl Isett
R
84
$0
0%
$11,500
 Rep. Ruth McClendon
D
120
$6,000
52%
$4,500
 Rep. Lois Kolkhorst
R
13
$1,000
22%
$223,050
 TOTALS
 
 
$141,000
63%

 

Top Homebuilder Contributors
Amount
 Contributor  Company
 City
$2,877,299
 Bob & Doylene Perry  Perry Homes  Houston
$700,973
 TX Assn. of Builders PAC  TX Assn. of Builders  Austin
$112,500
 Bobby & Phyllis Ray  Hovnanian Enterprises  Plano
$76,500
 John Speer  Royce Homes  Houston
$24,578
 John Robert Ray  Goodman Family of Builders  Plano
$11,000
 David Weekley  David Weekley Homes  Houston
$10,212
 Bob Bowling  Tropicana Homes  El Paso
$8,500
 Gr. San Antonio Builders Assn.  Gr. San Antonio Builders Assn.  San  Antonio
$8,000
 Dori E. Mattson  DMW Construction, Inc.  McGregor
$7,575
 Robert L. Bowling  Tropicana Homes  El Paso
$7,000
 Stephen E. Conaway  Conaway Homes  Whitehouse
$6,710
 Temple Area Builders Assn.  Same  Temple
$6,000
 Ronald Costa  Zia Homes  El Paso
$5,450
 Lee Hughes  Maverick Homes  Fort Worth
$5,125
 Gregory Bowling  Tropicana Homes  El Paso

 

Top Recipients of Homebuilder Contributions
Homebuilder
Total
 Recipient
Party
Dist.
B. Perry
Total
B. Perry Share
of Builder Money
$649,218
 Gov. Rick Perry
R
NA
$361,799
56%
$537,882
 Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
R
NA
$410,000
76%
$106,000
 Rep. Phil King
R
61
$97,500
92%
$99,500
 Sen. 'Mike' Jackson
R
11
$92,500
93%
$86,550
 Rep. Sylvester Turner
D
139
$86,000
99%
$71,900
 Rep. Aaron Pena
D
40
$70,000
97%
$71,750
 Rep. Jim Murphy
R
133
$66,000
92%
$69,500
 Sen. Mario Gallegos
D
6
$66,000
95%
$65,750
 Rep. Kino Flores
D
36
$62,000
94%
$65,400
 Sen. Dan Patrick
R
7
$55,000
84%
$62,500
 Speaker Tom Craddick
R
82
$20,000
32%
$59,200
 Sen. Glenn Hegar
R
18
$45,000
76%
$58,550
 Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale
R
130
$52,000
89%
$51,250
 Rep. Kirk England
R
106
$47,500
93%
$50,450
 Rep. Eddie Lucio III
D
38
$50,000
99%
$50,050
 Rep. Betty Brown
R
4
$47,500
95%
$49,000
 Sen. Bob Deuell
R
2
$40,000
82%
$48,500
 Sen. John Whitmire
D
15
$45,000
93%
$46,961
 Sen. Troy Fraser
R
24
$30,000
64%
$45,250
 Rep. Tony Goolsby
R
102
$42,000
93%
$44,800
 Rep. John Davis
R
129
$42,500
95%
$44,250
 Rep. Dawnna Dukes
D
46
$40,000
90%
$44,100
 Rep. Charles Anderson
R
56
$42,000
95%
$43,925
 Rep. Patrick Rose
D
45
$37,500
85%
$43,750
 Sen. Tommy Williams
R
4
$27,500
63%
$41,453
 Rep. Kevin Bailey
D
140
$37,000
89%
$32,750
 Rep. Mike Hamilton
R
19
$30,000
92%
$32,500
 Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr.
D
27
$30,000
92%
$32,500
 Sen. Florence Shapiro
R
8
$7,500
23%
$32,300
 Rep. Dwayne Bohac
R
138
$26,000
80%
$30,500
 Rep. John Zerwas
R
28
$26,000
85%
$30,350
 Sen. Robert Nichols
R
3
$20,000
66%
$30,350
 Rep. Bill Zedler
R
96
$30,000
99%
$29,750
 Rep. Patricia Harless
R
126
$25,000
84%
$29,000
 Sen. John Carona
R
16
$17,500
60%
$28,522
 Rep. Larry Phillips
R
62
$27,000
95%
$28,516
 Rep. Jerry Madden
R
67
$25,000
88%
$26,531
 Rep. David Swinford
R
87
$12,000
45%
$26,000
 Sen. Kim Brimer
R
10
$12,500
48%
$25,200
 Rep. Joe Crabb
R
127
$22,500
89%
$25,000
 Rep. Susan King
R
71
$25,000
100%
$24,750
 Sen. Craig Estes
R
30
$12,500
51%
$24,500
 Sen. Rodney Ellis
D
13
$22,500
92%
$24,250
 Sen. Kyle Janek
R
17
$15,000
62%
$23,950
 Rep. Ana Hernandez
D
143
$23,500
98%
$23,000
 Sen. Kip Averitt
R
22
$5,000
22%
$22,100
 Rep. Jim Pitts
R
10
$15,000
68%
$21,750
 Rep. Charlie Geren
R
99
$0
0%
$21,250
 Rep. Nathan Macias
R
73
$20,000
94%
$21,000
 Rep. Beverly Woolley
R
136
$17,000
81%

 


1  “Texas Residential Construction Commission Sunset Hearing Material,” Texas Sunset Commission, September 2008. http://www.sunset.state.tx.us/81streports/trcc/trcc_hm.pdf
2  “Sunset Commission Questions Whether Abolishing TRCC Is the Right Solution,” Quorum Report, September 23, 2008.
3   Some lawmakers joined the Sunset Advisory Commission recently. Dewhurst tapped Senators
Hegar and Hinojosa for the panel in January 2008. Craddick appointed Representatives
Isett and Harper-Brown in October 2007.
4  Apart from lawmakers, there are two so-called “public” members of the Sunset Commission. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst appointed retired Compass Bank executive Charles McMahen to the commission. Speaker Craddick appointed Ike Sugg, head of Abilene’s Bar None Hunt Co.
5  “A Builder, A Commission, A Lot of Cash,” Houston Chronicle, August 24, 2008.
6  "Governor Perry’s Patronage," Texans for Public Justice, April 10, 2006. http://www.tpj.org/page_view.jsp?pageid=979&pubid=744
7  “Unassuming home builder getting more notoriety for latest donation than for record amounts in 2002,” Austin American-Statesman, August 28, 2004.
8  Judgment calls are involved in distinguishing some contributors whose primary interest is hammer-and-nail homebuilding from residential developers who job-out more of these building functions. Some of the six lawmakers took money from contributors who skate this line. Van de Putte, for example, received $250 from Henry Cisneros, the head of CityView, which forms joint ventures with homebuilders to build housing. TPJ coded CityView as a residential developer but has no problem with those who prefer to characterize it as a homebuilder. The same is true for the head of Houston’s William Carl & Co., who gave Jessica Farrar $500. TPJ codes mobile homes separately from homes built on-site and did not count mobile-home money here (Van de Putte and Farrar took money from the Texas Manufactured Housing Association PAC). During the 2006 cycle, when Bob Perry accounted for 61 percent of the money raised by the PAC of HillCo Partners lobby firm, that PAC gave $3,556 to Van de Putte and $1,000 to Burnam. So far in the 2008 cycle, Bob Perry has supplied 36 percent of the money raised by HillCo’s PAC. This cycle HillCo’s PAC has given $3,827 to Farrar, $1,500 to Burnam and $1,000 to Mallory Caraway. Classified as lobby money, HillCo PAC contributions were not counted in this study.

Texans for Public Justice. September 25, 2008.