Report HomeLobby FactsLobby ClientsLobbyistsTop 100 TX ClientsTPJ Home


Source: Data analyzed in this report come from 2005 lobby reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission. Texas lobbyists report their income within broad ranges (such as “$50,000 to $99,999”). For brevity’s sake, this study reports the maximum amount, labeling it “maximum” or “up to,” except where otherwise noted.

I. Lobby Facts

  • Special interests spent up to $2.2 billion over the past decade on almost 65,000 Texas lobby contracts.

  • Depending on how the numbers are crunched, Texas placed either first or second in the nation in the amount of money that special interests spent to lobby its state government in 2005.

  • During 2005, 2,471 clients paid 1,525 Texas lobbyists up to $304 million. This lobby spending was up 77 percent from the $172 million maximum spent in 1995.
  • Sixteen clients boasted maximum lobby expenditures exceeding $1 million in 2005. SBC (now AT&T), which perennially tops this list, spent up to $7 million on 129 contracts. This paid off when the phone giant won passage of a sweetheart bill during a 2005 special session that the governor ostensibly had convened to solve Texas’ school-funding crisis.

  • “Ideological & Single-Interest” clients spent more on the lobby than any other industry (up to $45 million), accounting for 15 percent of Texas’ total lobby expenditures. Local government interests led by the City of Austin dominated this category, helping to defeat a cap on property-tax appraisals.

  • “Energy & Natural Resources” clients, led by TXU Corp., ranked No. 2. Nuclear-energy interests dominated this category.

  • Health clients ranked No. 3, led by the powerful Texas Medical Association (TMA). TMA euthanized proposals to tax physician services and crushed proposals to spur competition from other health professionals.

  • Purveyors of gambling and alcohol “sins” penetrated the upper echelons of the No. 4-ranked “Miscellaneous Business” sector as lawmakers explored “sin-tax” hikes. Billy Bob Barnett’s would-be gambling company, Big City Capital, spent its way to the title for the lobby’s Cardinal Sinner.

  • Thirty lobbyists reported maximum 2005 incomes exceeding $1.5 million apiece, up from 26 such uber-lobbyists in 2003. These 30 lobbyists billed their clients up to $67 million, pocketing one out of every five Texas lobby dollars.

  • Public Strategies Managing Director Rusty Kelley led the lobby for the second consecutive legislative year, billing 64 clients up to $6.8 million.

  • Texas lobbyists reported 43 mega-contracts worth unspecified amounts of “more than $200,000” apiece. These open-ended contracts leapfrog the public’s right to know about lobby expenditures. Two clients sponsored three such mega-contracts apiece. These were: The city of Texas City; and Citgo Petroleum (which got a $5 million taxpayer handout from Governor Perry’s Enterprise Fund in 2004).


Previous PageNext PageTop of Page

©Copyright Texans for Public Justice, August 2006