This report was published in July 2000. It should be considered outdated and is kept online for historical purposes only.

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Pioneer Profiles: George W. Bush's $100,000 Club
Name: R. Steve Letbetter
Occupation: CEO, Reliant Energy
Industry: Energy & Natural Resources
Home: Houston, Texas


Political Contributions:
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Reliant is the new name of the former Houston Industries, the parent of Houston Lighting & Power. It turned a $622 million profit in ‘99. Letbetter recently replaced Pioneer Don Jordan as CEO of this company. Jordan recalls his toughest challenge as completing Texas’ first nuclear plant. The South Texas Nuclear Project went 15 years and millions of dollars over budget. Reliant was the fourth largest employer of Texas lobbyists in ’99, spending up to $1.8 million on a phalanx of 43 lobbyists. Between ’95 and ’98, the company’s political action committees spent $631,324 to influence politicians, moving $25,000 to Bush. Bush has been reliable for Reliant. When Texas deregulated its electric markets in ’99, Reliant achieved its goal of making ratepayers bail it out for the cost of its nuclear plant, which cannot compete in an open market. Exploiting a “grandfather” loophole, Reliant never installed modern pollution controls on filthy old power plants that have annual air-pollution emissions equivalent to that of 670,482 cars. 

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