T. Dan Friedkin is the owner and CEO of Gulf States Toyota, the largest private company in Houston. With exclusive rights to sell Toyota vehicles in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas, Mr. Friedkin has expanded upon the business originally built by his father. In 2016, according to Forbes, Mr. Friedkin ranked as the 162nd wealthiest person in the United States. In the most recent 2016 primary election cycle, Mr. Friedkin was the tenth largest donor to political campaigns and PACs in the state of Texas.
In his spare time, Mr. Friedkin flies World War II-era P-51 Mustangs with an aerial acrobatic troupe. Mr. Friedkin, 51, is married with 4 children.
Mr. Friedkin has been active in the Texas political scene dating back to the late 1990s, supporting candidates in both parties, although the vast majority of his contributions go to Republicans.
Here’s an overview of Mr. Friedkin’s giving from the past election cycle:
|T. Dan Friedkin – A Closer Look|
|Total Number of Donations||21|
|Average Donation Amount||$41,314.38|
|Donations to Republicans||$597,602|
|Donations to Democrats||$0|
|Donations to Texas House Candidates||$25,000|
|Percentage of Donations to Texas House Candidates||2.88%|
|Donations to Texas Senate Candidates||$3,000|
|Percentage of Donations to Texas Senate Candidates||.35%|
|Donations to Statewide Candidates||$569,602|
|Percentage of Donations to Statewide Candidates||65.66%|
|Donations to Advocacy Groups||$260,000|
|Percentage of Donations to Advocacy Groups||29.97%|
|Donations Given Inside Home District||$3,000|
|Percentage of Donations Inside Home District||.35%|
|Donations Given Outside Home District||$864,602|
|Percentage of Donations Outside Home District||99.65%|
Key takeaways from Mr. Friedkin’s giving:
Most interesting donation:
At first glance, there appears to be an outlier in Mr. Friedkin’s giving this cycle: a $10,000 gift to a challenger in a State House race halfway across the state from Friedkin’s home district. That challenger was Scott Fisher who unsuccessfully sought to take the seat of State Representative Jonathan Stickland. State Rep. Stickland’s efforts in Austin have drawn the ire of many in the Capitol. Some believe State Rep. Stickland was a top target of House Speaker Joe Straus (another recipient of Mr. Friedkin’s money) and Speaker Straus’ leadership team. In actuality this gift wasn’t an outlier at all, rather, it was more support for the status quo.
**Note: this article originally used donation information from 1/1/2015 – 6/30/2016, as that was the only available data at the time of publication. Since then, numbers throughout the article have been updated to reflect all giving from 1/1/2015 – 12/10/2016.
Our A Closer Look series provides a breakdown of a particular donor’s giving habits within Texas politics. We specifically analyze to whom money is given and when, thus providing context so citizens can determine the motivation behind the donor’s giving. Stay tuned for the next installment.