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- The nine current Texas Supreme Court justices raised more than $11 million for their most recent elections (the earliest of which occurred in 1994). This study analyzes their contributions of $100 or more, which accounted for $10.8 million—or 96 percent of their total haul.
- The average war chest raised by these justices was $1.4 million, or almost three times the average war chest of their opponents ($463,109).
- Justice Hecht amassed the largest of these war chests ($2.1 million). Justice Baker had the smallest winning war chest ($1.1 million). Justice Baker also raised 334 times what his opponent raised, giving him the No. 1 fundraising advantage.
- Seven of the eight sitting justices who have stood for election out-raised their opponents. Just one sitting justice, Priscilla Owen, bested an opponent who wielded a fundraising advantage—albeit a narrow one.
- Lawyers and law firms supplied 48 percent ($5.2 million) of the justices’ money. Business and defense attorneys—led by Vinson & Elkins, Baker Botts and Fulbright & Jaworski—tossed in 79 percent of all lawyer and law firm cash; plaintiff attorneys accounted for 13 percent. Plaintiff lawyer Frank Branson ($27,500) was the leading individual attorney contributing to the justices.
- The justices’ dependency on lawyers is escalating. The share of money that they took from lawyers increased by 63 percent from 1994 to 1998. The justices who ran in 1994 took 35 percent of their money from lawyers and law firms. This same source supplied 57 percent of the money that justices raised in 1998. Justice Hankinson leaned the heaviest on lawyers, who gave her 65 percent of her cash.
- The Energy & Natural Resources sector—led by the Bass family—was the most important source of money after lawyers. It pumped $1.4 million into the justices’ war chests—or 13 percent of their total. The justices’ top individual donor was diversified oil man Louis A. Beecherl, Jr. ($58,486).
- Contributions to the court are highly concentrated. The justices took 24 percent of their money ($2.6 million) from just 25 sources of campaign cash. Business and defense law firms dominated these leading sources of campaign money.
- Members of the Supreme Court took $1.6 million—or 15 percent of their money—from PACs and individuals affiliated with Texas’ two big business tort groups: Texans for Lawsuit Reform and the Texas Civil Justice League. Justice Hecht was the most dependent on money affiliated with these tort groups, taking 18 percent of his war chest from this tort lobby.
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