The latest campaign finance reports reveal that the Texas Democrats who broke quorum collected $491,000 between their July 12 departure and the end of the first special session. Over 25 percent of that money came from out-of-state donors.
A majority of Democratic Texas legislators refused to show up to the special legislative session — first in July and then again in August — as a way to block the passage of Republican-backed voting legislation. Many boarded a chartered flight bound for Washington, D.C., while others hid in plain sight back in Texas. By not appearing to vote, those legislators brought the House to a virtual standstill — preventing progress on the election bill or any others by breaking quorum (the number of legislators required in attendance for the House to conduct business). A number of Texas Senators joined the protest, but not enough to prevent a quorum in the Senate.
The Texas Democrats faced two options to defray the cost of hotels, flights and other expenses while breaking quorum — pay for it from their personal funds or from their campaign accounts. If they chose to pay for the related expenses from their campaign accounts, those contributions have limits on how they can be used, and donations would have to be reported in detail on their campaign finance filings. (Lawmakers are required by law to report detailed information including the donor’s name, address, occupation, and employer for all donations of more than $90 per donor per reporting period. For special session reports, contributions of any amount must be itemized.) The walkout gained national attention and support, and many of the legislators openly asked for donations during their absences from Austin.
Despite Democratic efforts, Senate Bill 1 passed in early September.
Earlier this month, all Texas legislators were required to file reports detailing their contributions from the first special session. According to the available data, the Texas Democrats who broke quorum raised $491,000 beginning on July 12, when many made their now-historic flight to Washington, D.C. that kicked off their last-ditch effort to block the voting bill.
Here’s how much each of those legislators raised from in-state and out-of-state. All Democratic representatives are included in the chart, with the names of those not listed by the Texas Tribune as having fled the state in italics. Click any name to see detailed lists of their donors.
Donations to Democratic Texas House Representatives (7/12/2021 – 8/6/2021)
|House District||Representative||Position||In-State||Out-of-State||Total Contributions|
|22||Joe Deshotel||Chairman: Land & Resource Management Committee||$233.16||$997.41||$1,230.57|
|34||Abel Herrero||Vice Chairman: Energy Resources Committee||$50.00||$0.00||$50.00|
|35||Oscar Longoria Jr*||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|36||Sergio Munoz Jr*||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|38||Eddie Lucio III*||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|40||Terry Canales||Chairman: Transportation Committee||$11,500.00||$0.00||$11,500.00|
|41||Robert Bobby Guerra||$249.02||$1,093.57||$1,342.59|
|42||Richard Pena Raymond||Chairman: Defense & Veterans’ Affairs Committee||$210.19||$888.36||$1,098.55|
|49||Gina Hinojosa||Vice Chairman: Human Services Committee||$5,611.39||$1,519.51||$7,130.90|
|75||Mary Edna Gonzalez||Vice Chairman: Appropriations Committee||$456.77||$3,641.23||$4,098.00|
|76||Claudia Ordaz Perez||$631.44||$1,046.00||$1,677.44|
|78||Joseph Moody||Speaker Pro Tempore; Vice Chairman: Calendars Committee||$675.17||$884.37||$1,559.54|
|79||Peter “Art” Fierro||$0.00||$1,135.27||$1,135.27|
|90||Ramon Romero Jr||$1,964.00||$1,360.99||$3,324.99|
|95||Nicole Collier*||Chairman: Criminal Jurisprudence Committee||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|101||Chris Turner||Chairman: Business & Industry Committee; Chairman: House Democrat Caucus||$18,037.39||$2,171.71||$20,209.10|
|103||Rafael Anchia||Chairman: Pensions, Investments, & Financial Services Committee||$7,645.89||$955.61||$8,601.50|
|104||Jessica Gonzalez||Vice Chairman: Elections Committee||$1,179.60||$2,074.92||$3,254.52|
|107||Victoria Neave||Chairman: Juvenile Justice & Family Issues Committee; Vice Chairman: General Investigating Committee||$7,392.91||$1,525.67||$8,918.58|
|109||Carl Sherman Sr||$12,759.30||$1,460.18||$14,219.48|
|110||Toni Rose||Vice Chairman: Redistricting Committee||$1,828.35||$907.06||$2,735.41|
|111||Yvonne Davis||Vice Chairman: Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee||$5,270.38||$1,025.90||$6,296.28|
|116||Trey Martinez Fischer||$31,808.80||$30,174.86||$61,983.66|
|117||Philip Cortez*||Chairman: Urban Affairs Committee||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|118||Leo Pacheco*||Vice Chairman: Higher Education Committee||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|120||Barbara Gervin-Hawkins||Vice Chairman: Culture, Recreation, & Tourism Committee||$6,814.14||$997.23||$7,811.37|
|123||Diego Bernal||Vice Chairman: Public Education Committee||$2,165.00||$807.31||$2,972.31|
|136||John Bucy III||$14,962.89||$1,776.66||$16,739.55|
|140||Armando L. Walle Jr.||$3,198.12||$871.93||$4,070.05|
|141||Senfronia Thompson||Chairman: Licensing & Administrative Procedures Committee; Vice Chairman: S/C on Constitutional Rights & Remedies||$3,447.47||$3,797.16||$7,244.63|
|142||Harold Dutton Jr**||Chairman: Public Education Committee||$6,000||$0.00||$6,000|
|143||Ana Hernandez||Vice Chairman: State Affairs Committee||$253.55||$526.17||$779.72|
|144||Mary Ann Perez||$1,508.71||$896.23||$2,404.94|
|146||Shawn Thierry||Vice Chairman: Ways & Means Committee||$2,438.21||$1,298.40||$3,736.61|
|147||Garnet Coleman||Chairman: County Affairs Committee||$0.00||$100.00||$100.00|
|148||Penny Morales Shaw||$3,989.56||$1,391.07||$5,380.63|
|149||Hubert Vo||Vice Chairman: Insurance Committee||$209.17||$1,017.48||$1,226.65|
*These representatives did not file a special session financial report, as of September 13.
**House Rep. Dutton filed on September 9th. Because his report was not within the first session filing period, his $6000 donation is not yet included in the Transparency USA database. This number comes from the raw TEC report, and will be reflected in the next data update on our site.
While Texas Democrats dominated the headlines during the special session, it was the Texas House Republicans who brought in the most money from their donors. Texas House Republicans picked up $553,542 in contributions during the special session, raised by 47 members. The largest fundraiser of the group was Rep. Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville), who brought in $200,000.
Texas Democrats took their departure from the state and their arguments over elections bills to a national audience and it showed from their campaign hauls during the special session. About 25 percent of the total contributions to Texas Democrats during this period came from donors outside of the state, accounting for over $124,000 in funds raised. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, who was the top fundraising Democrat during this period, received the largest cash total of contributions from donors outside of the state during this period.
In contrast, Republican legislators received less than one percent of their donations from outside of Texas.
The majority of Democrats in the Texas House participated in the quorum break tactic. While Democratic lawmakers brought in over $505,000 in total campaign contributions during the fundraising period, over $491,000 in contributions were raised by lawmakers who were recorded by the Texas Tribune as having fled the state. This included over $123,000 of the contributions raised from donors outside of Texas — which makes up the majority of contributions from out-of-state donors to Texas lawmakers during the period.
All data from the first special session reports are included on Transparency USA. Search any lawmaker for big picture trends and detailed transaction reports for both Democratic and Republican members of the Texas Legislature. Reports from the second special session are due mid-October. Subscribe to get the latest numbers delivered to your inbox as soon as they’re released.