To prevent the appearance (or reality) of politicians getting paid to vote a certain way, they are not allowed to accept campaign donations during the biennial regular legislative sessions. But it’s not uncommon for political donations to pour into campaign accounts after a legislative session. As usual, legislators raised vast amounts of money from individual donors and PACs immediately following the regular 85th Legislative Session. Those numbers were shown on the June semi-annual reports.
But this year was different. Governor Greg Abbott called legislators back to Austin this summer from July 18 – August 15 for a “Special Session” to address what Gov. Abbott considered unfinished business from the regular session. Unlike the regular session, there was no moratorium on politicians receiving donations during the special session. They could legally take money from those in Austin seeking to influence legislation. Some lawmakers publicly announced they wouldn’t take donations during the special session, while others remained silent. Several prominent elected officials took donations up until the day before the special session began, and then turned off the flow of money once the session began.
We’ve updated our data to show all donations available since the June semi-annual reports. Below are seven interesting takeaways from the newest batch of data:
1.Of the $7,029,069.39 donated to politicians and PACs since the June semi-annual report, Gov. Greg Abbott has raised $894,202.75 (nearly 13%).
2. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has not raised any money since the June semi-annual report.
3. State Representative Wayne Faircloth, who introduced legislation related to wind insurance claims during the regular session, received $25,000 from Texas State Farm Agents PAC during the special session. Thus, while in Austin State Rep. Faircloth took money from those seeking to influence legislation.
4. Comptroller Glenn Hegar received only one donation, for $50.
5. State Senators Borris Miles and Chairman of the Transportation Committee Robert Nichols both received $5,000 from Transport Workers Union PAC during the special session. Members of the Democrat and Republican parties respectively, these Senators took money while in Austin from those seeking to influence legislation.
6. Land Commissioner George P. Bush raised the second most of any elected official at $158,720.17.
7. Vice-Chair of the Energy Resources Committee, State Representative Charles “Doc” Anderson received $5,000 from both Enviro PAC and Texans for Clean Water during the special session.
These takeaways are but a few of the many interesting donations that have taken place since the end of June. We encourage citizens to research their elected officials and see who’s supporting them financially.