Report details $158 million spent in 2006 electionsNew this year: reports on individual state House and Senate members.
By Laylan Copelin
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Texans for Public Justice has released its comprehensive analysis of campaign spending for the 2006 election cycle with a new feature: reports on individual lawmakers.
The report focuses on money raised by 378 major-party candidates for the Texas Legislature and seven statewide offices, ranging from governor to land commissioner. It continues the group's past analyses of top donors (Houston builder Bob Perry repeats as No. 1), campaign dollar totals (32 percent higher than four years ago) and the most prolific political action committees (Texans for Lawsuit Reform edged out the Texas Association of Realtors).
What's new are the "Officeholder Profiles" that include the top donors to individual officeholders.
The reports might bust a few myths.
For example, Perry, who spent most of his $7.1 million on Republicans, was the top donor in 2006 to next year's Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, state Rep. Rick Noriega ($7,000). Both are from Houston.
It also reinforces some stereotypes.
State Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Williamson County, who leads the House Transportation Committee and champions toll roads, was favored by construction and concrete companies. His top three donors were from those industries.
The report was compiled from campaign fundraising and expenditure reports available from the Texas Ethics Commission.
Craig McDonald, executive director of Texans for Public Justice, said that even though the information is readily available, it's difficult for the public to compile in a meaningful way because there are so many reports and so many donors who contribute under slightly different names.
"If you try to do this at the Texas Ethics Commission, you are stymied," he said. "This is one-stop shopping."
Unfortunately, it looks back at only the 2006 elections. Real-time analysis, McDonald said, will have to wait for real-time money for quicker results.
To see the report, Money in PoliTex: A Guide to Money in the 2006 Texas Elections, visit www.tpj.org/reports/politex2006.
Money in the 2006 campaign, at a glance:
-$158 million raised for 173 statewide and legislative offices.
-Two-thirds of that money went to the winners.
-141 big-dollar donors ($100,000 or more) gave one-third of the $158 million.
House candidates raised 81 percent of their money ($48 million) outside their district (mostly from Austin-based groups or lobbyists).
Senate candidates raised 70 percent of their money ($14 million) from outside their districts (mostly from Austin-based groups or lobbyists).
9 percent of the money - so-called late train money - was given after the November election