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For Immediate release:
May 10, 2010

Craig McDonald, Andrew Wheat
PH: (512) 472-9770

Recession Penetrates
‘Austin’s Oldest Profession’

• Texas Lobby Spending Dipped in 2009.
• But Top Hired Guns Not Tightening Belts.

Austin—Special interests spent up to $344 million on Texas state lobby contracts in 2009, dipping below the $348 million that they spent in the previous legislative year (2007). This marked the only time in a decade when lobby spending did not skyrocket from one legislative year to the next, according to a new edition of Austin’s Oldest Profession, Texans For Public Justice’s biennial analysis of the Texas lobby.

By the end of 2009, 1,690 lobbyists reported that 2,866 different clients paid them up to $344 million to execute 8,166 paid lobby contracts. Despite the rare contraction in lobby spending, the state’s top lobbyists reported that they are raking in more money than ever before.

As usual, Ma Bell’s reincarnation—AT&T—trounced all comers, spending up to $9.3 million on 117 lobbyists. Energy Future Holdings Corp. came next. Together with three of its subsidiaries, this energy giant spent up to $7.3 million on the lobby.

Key findings of Austin’s Oldest Profession include:

  • 27 clients spent more than $1 million apiece on 615 lobby contracts. These mega-clients collectively spent up to $47 million on the lobby, accounting for 14 cents of every Texas lobby dollar.

  • Led by Energy Future Holdings Corp, the “Energy & Natural Resources” sector ranked No. 1. Clients in this category spent up to $62 million, accounting for 18 percent of all lobby spending.

  • Interests classified in the No. 2 “Ideological and Single-Interest” category spent up to $55 million, led by local government interests.

  • 36 lobbyists reported maximum incomes exceeding $1.5 million apiece. These elite lobbyists received up to $78 million, inhaling a stunning 23 percent of all lobby income. People are hurting out there.

  • Reporting up to $3.4 million from 52 clients, Blackridge, Inc. lobbyist Carol McGarah reported the biggest lobby gross.  Andrea McWilliams followed, reporting up to $3.3 million.

  • Lobbyists reported 53 mega-contracts worth “more than $200,000” apiece. Two Connecticut-based executives of London-based Henderson Global Investors reported the largest contracts at $501,000 apiece.

Read the full report at:

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


©Copyright Texans for Public Justice, May 2010