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I. Lobby Facts

  • Special interests spent up to $2.4 billion over the past decade on more than 62,000 Texas lobby contracts.

  • During 2007, 2,706 clients paid 1,629 Texas lobbyists up to $348 million, more than doubling the $164 million maximum spent in 1998.
  • Depending on how the numbers are crunched, Texas ranks somewhere between No. 1 and No. 4 in the nation in the amount of money that special interests spend to lobby this state government.

  • Thirty-one clients boasted maximum lobby expenditures exceeding $1 million in 2007. AT&T, which perennially tops this list, spent up to $10.2 million on 126 contracts. TXU and TXU’s new owners spent a combined total of up to $14 million on 177 contracts, collectively surpassing even AT&T.

  • Led by the old and new TXU, “Energy & Natural Resources” clients spent more on the lobby than any other industry (up to $60 million), accounting for 17 percent of Texas’ total lobby expenditures.

  • “Ideological & Single-Interest” clients, led by local governments, ranked No. 2, spending up to $49 million and accounting for 14 percent of all lobby spending.

  • Health clients ranked No. 3, led by the powerful Texas Medical Association. This physicians’ lobby euthanized proposals to spur competition from other health professionals.

  • Twenty-eight lobbyists reported maximum 2007 incomes exceeding $1.5 million apiece. The state’s best-paid lobbyists collectively received up to $67 million, accounting for 19 percent of all lobby dollars.

  • Lobbyist Todd Smith claimed the biggest gross income, reporting up to $3.9 million from 26 clients. Yet Smith may have inflated his income when he listed his own firm as the client for his three largest contracts.

  • Texas lobbyists reported 59 mega-contracts worth unspecified amounts of “more than $200,000” apiece. A 2007 reform requires better reporting of mega-contract values. Under the new law, the maximum category for a lobby contract is “$500,000 or more.” Lobbyists hitting this threshold must report the exact value of their contract. There were glitches implementing this new law in late 2007 but the Texas Ethics Commission says they have been ironed out in 2008.


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©Copyright Texans for Public Justice, September 2008