Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #TXlege

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Ever wonder who the Texas governor and other statewide elected officials are talking to and meeting with in Washington? We did.

Come look at what @tombenning and @stephanierlamm found out:

"Hello, Washington? It’s Texas"

The vast majority of those interactions happen outside the public’s view. So we used open records requests to get the official schedules for Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton and others.
While not all meeting details or activities are recorded, even an incomplete look makes clear that these Texans are enjoying easy access in President Donald Trump’s Washington.
Read 6 tweets
Sitting here, writing up some thoughts about what's on the ballot in Texas this year, and feeling like maybe I shouldn't bother. The demotivational aspects of the media are getting to me, and it really pisses me off. #GOTV
I mean, *I* care. I got involved in 1992 as a Presidential Year voter. By 1996, I became an Early Vote devotee. In 2006, that expanded to every damned election, every time. I was SO MAD that Rick Perry won the Governor's seat with 39%. #GOTV
I stayed mad. Nearly every election cycle, I saw success locally (City/County/TX House & Sen), but watched the Democrats get their clocks cleaned in TX. I couldn't figure out what was happening. It's turnout. We love to vote every 4 years. Midterms? Nah. #GOTV
Read 13 tweets
Donna identifies a significant truth here 👇🏽 We repeatedly ask our Texas Senators to hold town halls, to meet with us, to talk with constituents about pressing issues and solutions. Our experience has been they are only willing to meet with high dollar donors #txlege 1/
Week after week, we’ve gone to their offices - offices paid by our tax dollars - and asked to meet with them, only to either be turned away by security personnel, or given 3 or 4 minutes with junior staff. Despite giving our contact info, no one follows up or engages with us 2/
We’re asking for genuine representation from elected officials, leaders who will listen to us, prioritize us, be accountable to VOTERS rather than big-dollar donors.
Corporations ask for tax cuts;
Real people ask for health care, good schools, clean air, please listen to us! 3/
Read 3 tweets
Based on everything I have currently in my database, the House, Senate, Statewide races, and the largest contributing PACs, here is who my data shows as the 20 largest individual contributors to the 2018 Texas election cycle, giving over $23 million combined. #txlege
Green is ET World, Red are donors who primarily give to Republican candidates. If someone gave to PACs, and also directly to candidates, all dollars are captured and rolled together. I'm still adding some PACs in, so the totals might flex some, but likely not dramatically.
In case you were wondering where the other 3 members of the ET9 fell into the individual rankings:
28 - Holloway Frost - $420k
29 - Dick Saulsbury - $415k
114 - Monty Bennett - $100k (but this doesn't count his MJB Operating, which gave another $117k)
Read 3 tweets
We can add Kel Seliger in SD31 to the list of Republicans being attacked by Empower Texans as we head to the general. Rather than “money from Austin”, it’s switched up to money outside his district. #txlege
Tim Dunn and ET World seems like they are really mad about wasting all that money on Mike Canon.
$349k - Empower Texans
$50k - Kyle Stallings
$20k - Texas Right To Life
$20k - Tim Dunn
$10k - Dick Saulsbury
And wasting all that money on Stuart Spitzer in HD4
$183k - Empower Texans
$57k - Texas Right To Life
$40k - Darlene Pendery
$36k - Jonathan Strickland Campaign
$18k - Stacy Hock
$10k - Constituents Focus
And on and on and on
Read 10 tweets
Tim Dunn and Empower Texans are sending out letters to folks in House District 2, attacking Dan Flynn, the Republican incumbent. Yes, thats right. The republican incumbent is being attacked by the extreme end of the republican party as we near the general election. #txlege
First off, Empower is telling people to use transparency texas . org for campaign finance data. This is a site with campaign finance stuff, but what they don't tell you is that Empower Texans owns the site. Show up for data, read Empower propaganda. Not very transparent. #txlege
Empower is attacking Dan Flynn for 52% of his contributions coming from Austin. And yes, the 52% is a real number. Flynn has had $430k contributed to his campaign since 01/01/17, with 52% of it coming from an Austin address. #txlege
Read 21 tweets
1/ Here’s how it happens.

You get pulled over for speeding. You get a ticket. You can’t afford to pay. Your license is suspended.

You get pulled over again. For driving without a license, you owe more.

It keeps happening. Eventually, you go to jail.
2/ You owe more fees for driving without a license. Your surcharges add up. You still can’t afford to pay. You still can’t afford to not drive.

You keep driving. You keep ending up in jail.

You now owe thousands of dollars.
3/ This is the Driver Responsibility Program.

As of January 2018, there were approximately 1.4 million records of people ineligible to obtain their licenses under this program.
Read 10 tweets
Since Jessica was good enough to bring up Paxton and Empower and declare "He's their man", I thought I pull together a mini-thread and few pie charts to help illustrate that fact. #txlege
In the 2014 election cycle, Ken Paxton was running for AG for the first time. From 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2014, Paxton raised:
$8,323,245 from 3,951 donors
$4,443,856 (53%) from the top 100 donors
$1,098,470 came from ET World (DOES NOT include a $1,000,000 loan from ET) #txlege
When you look at the Ken Paxton 2014 election cycle, the ET World money breaks down as:
Empower Texans - $402,470 (does not include a $1,000,000 loan from ET to Paxton)
ET9 (major ET donors) - $600,000
ETR (ET related donors) - $96,000
Total - $1.1m
2014 - He's their man #txlege
Read 8 tweets
Looks like Texas Alliance For Life is doing "pay to play" advertising for some candidates.
02/25 - Mailer supporting Jason Villalba $11,886
02/28 - Villalba donation for $12k
02/28 - Mailer supporting JD Sheffield $10,483
06/08 - Sheffield donation for $11k
And then there is a $17k donation from Texas House Leadership Fund to Texas Alliance For Life on 03/14. Right after TAFL had spent $16,657 on mailers for Capriglione & Cosper ($13k on 02/28), and Clardy ($3.6k on 03/02), all candidates that THL had supported. #txlege
I know stuff like this has just been “politics”. This is the kind of thing the Empower World does, specifically with the New Leadership PAC (which I’ve talked about before). Please, let’s be better than that and not stoop to that level.
Read 7 tweets
Get ready to change the world in 3 simple steps:

Below is a list of candidates that will be on the Nov. 6th ballot. Please follow their social media accounts, promote their tweets and say their names.
Some may not have been your primary favorite. But these candidates might be the only path to take back our democracy. Please support them by making sure everyone knows these names.

If you have more Dems candidates Nov 6 ballot, please post below.
Read 28 tweets
I've looked at the 19 Empower Texans candidates still on the ballot. Some serious money pouring in, dominating a candidates finance report. It's even more startling when you see the 23 candidates who didn't advance in the primaries.
23 Empower Texans endorsed / funded by the ET World candidates got knocked out in the primaries. There was A LOT of money poured into these candidates from all across ET World. The graphic shows you just how much ET World filled up their coffers vs regular folks. #txlege
There are just 4 knocked out ET World candidates who received less than 50% of their money from an ET / ET related source:
43% Susanna Dokupil
41% Brandon Hall
35% Chris Fails
0.2% Amber Pearce (late endorsement in a crowded field, but not any money of note)
This is nuts #txlege
Read 4 tweets
What will follow is a snapshot of the contributions and donors to each Texas Senate race. I'll post the candidates by Republican, Empower, and Democrat. Pies will be added in fits and starts, but all will be in this thread.
Bob Hall (E) running against Kendall Scudder (D)
Since 01/01/17 raised $1,382,313
657 donations
$2,103 avg
ET / TRL - $503k (36.4%)
ET9 - $208.5k (15%)
ETR - $269k (19.4%)
ET World Total - $980.5k (71%)
Top Donors
- Empower Texans ($393k)
- Dan Patrick ($247k)
Kendall Scudder (D) running against Bob Hall (E)
Since 01/01/17 raised $131,596
920 donations
$143 avg
Top Donors
- Cristan Shamburger ($39.8k) 30%
- Kolby Flowers ($20k) 15%
Donations from
- Commerce 32.4%
- Dallas 16.9%
- Forest Hills 15.2%
Read 30 tweets
Following up on my thread from yesterday, the snapshot of each of the 19 Empower Texans endorsed / funded TX House candidates still on the ballot, let me make a few group observations.
Of the 19 Empower Texans House candidates still on the ballot, 9 of 19 have received 50% or more of their total campaign dollars from ET World. Mayes Middleton is the highest, but it's mostly his money. Deanna Metzger is over 80% ET, Mike Lang is 75%+, Stickland is 70%+ #txlege
Let's look at the $$ raised by Empower Texans candidates from ET World vs their non-ET World $$. Middleton is left off, as $1.4MM is self funded. Next is Mike Lang, with over $400k from ET World. Jonathan Stickland is over $300k, Kyle Biedermann over $200k. #txlege
Read 3 tweets
Time for an Empower Texans candidate (ETs) snapshot. ETs are on the ballot as Republicans, but I separate them due to donor mix. What will follow is a snapshot of the 19 ET endorsed House candidates still on the ballot (23 endorsed / funded ETs are out). #txlege
As you read through the thread, I'll be using shorthand to save characters.
ET / TRL = Empower Texas and Texas Right To Life. Both are funded by the same folks.
ET9 = Top 9 donors to Empower Texans
ETR = Big $ donors / campaigns who exclusively give to ET candidates
Kyle Biedermann (HD73) running against Stephanie Phillips (D)
Since 01/01/17 raised $336,600
422 donations
$797 avg
ET / TRL - $167,713 (49.9%)
ET9 - $5k (1.4%)
ETR - $30.5k (9%)
ET World Total - $203k (60.3%)
Top 9 donors - $227.8k (67.7%)
#txlege (1/19)
Read 21 tweets
All profiles on the site are fully updated through the SemiJul report. Some links to jump right to the charts:
TX House Contributions -
TX House Rankings -
TX Senate Contributions -…
(cont) #txlege
(cont) All profiles on the site are fully updated through the SemiJul report. Some links to jump right to the charts:
TX Senate Rankings -…
TX Statewide Contributions -
TX Statewide Rankings -
Observations on overall TX House contributions since 01/01/17:
$43,496,804 contributed
59,018 donations
$737 avg donation
Empower Texans is the top overall donor, giving $2,625,082
Assoc Republicans of Texas are 2nd, giving $1,723,025
Read 19 tweets
A few updates on what's happening with my christackettnow webpage / dashboards. I'm changing the structure on some of the pages, which I hope will keep the info just as clear, but allow a deeper dive if that's what you are looking for. I'll detail changes below.
First up is a new page for Texas statewide races. I had done posts about statewide elements, but had not dedicated space on the site for them. That has changed. Gov, Lt Gov, Commish (RR, Ag and Land), Attny General, & Comptroller are all captured. #txlege
Please note that since Greg Abbott is a freaking donation machine, the Statewide page can take a few seconds to load. Seriously. Abbott has had 77,733 donations since 01/01/2017. #txlege
Read 11 tweets
Time for a quick, back from vacation, wanting to drop something on a Sunday night kinda thread. First off, I've got a new page added to the site with statewide races (Lt Gov, Attyy General, Ag Commish, Land Commis) which you can access here: #txlege
Pulling from the consolidated data from 01/01/2017 through 06/30/2018, let's see where the money / donors etc stands in the 4 races I've got queued up.
Lt Gov - Dan Patrick (R) from 01/01/17 to 06/30/18
Raised $11.8MM
1,737 donations
$6,828 avg donation
Top Donor - Drayton McLane ($300k)
358 donations over $10k
Over $10k donations are 87% of total raised
Read 12 tweets
Guess what? Empower Texans did an unexpected 10 days After A Change In Campaign Treasurer report which had Tim Dunn give another $500k. Let's get a quick reminder of what the Empower Texans donor mix has been since 01/01/2015. #txlege
Updated donors to Empower Texans PAC since 01/01/15
- $6.5MM total
- $2.67MM Tim Dunn (40.7%)
- $2.4MM Wilks family (37%)
- $448k Kyle Stallings (6.8%)
- $302k Mayes Middleton (4.6%)
- $297k Dick Saulsbury (4.5%)
- $413k EVERYONE ELSE (6.4%) (471 people)
And, since Texas Right To Life PAC is just Empower Texans PAC with one or two different donors, I really shouldn't leave them out. #txlege
Read 5 tweets
I see my dude @christackettnow is looking at campaign finance in the Lt Gov race. I've been looking at the Attorney General stuff. Mute this thread if you don't care :) #txlege
AG Ken Paxton had a big campaign haul, again, this cycle: $2.5m. (I'm sure @christackettnow will do his analysis of Paxton vs. Kim Olson on # and average size of donors.) But a couple of things stood out to me in Paxton's filing. #txlege ...
First, major donors to Empower Texans & related PACs make up about 17% of Paxton's fundraising this filing. Kyle Stallings, Windi Grimes, Dick Saulsbury, the Sparkses, Wallace Hall, and Kathaleen Wall all gave. But there were 2 massive Empower-world donors there, too... #txlege
Read 27 tweets
I’ve been almost exclusively focused on the Texas House races, with some emphasis in the Senate, nothing on the statewide races. With the SemiJul reports out, let’s rectify that. Let’s open with @DanPatrick and @CollierForTexas in the Lt Governor race #txlege
On the SemiJul report, there are some striking differences in donor counts, both unique donor and total donations.
Dan Patrick
- 378 Unique donors
- 418 Total donations
- 804 Unique donors
- 1798 Total donations
Dan Patrick has a lot fewer donors then Mike Collier, but then you look at how much people are giving.
Of Dan Patrick’s 378 unique donors, 124 (33%) of them gave $10,000 or more. #txlege
Read 7 tweets
Wrapping up the Top 20 lists with the Empower party.
If you want to see part 1, the Dem list, it's here:
And here is part 2, the Rep list:
There are 6,568 unique contributors to Empower candidates running for Texas House. How much of what candidates have received has come from the Top 20 Empower donors (which we can hopefully all agree would be “Special Interests”)? Remember, top 20 is 0.3% of the total donors. /2
Let me be clear here before continuing. When I refer to the Top 20 Empower donors, I'm not speaking about the donors to the Empower Texans PAC. I'm referring to those PACs and individuals who give extensively to Empower backed candidates. I see them as their own party. #txlege /3
Read 17 tweets
Last thread we agreed that top donors to any party are the "special interests" who are working to gain influence for their goals and issues with candidates in a party. I detailed the Dems last time. Now lets get a good look at the Republicans. #txlege /1
There are 9,133 unique contributors to Republicans running for Texas House. How much of what candidates have received has come from the Top 20 Republican donors (which we can hopefully all agree would be “Special Interests”? Remember, the top 20 are 0.2% of the total donors. /2
What % of total Rep candidate donations have come from the top 20 Rep donors?
HD001 VanDeaver, Gary - 6%
HD002 Flynn, Dan - 35%
HD003 Bell, Cecil - 18%
HD007 Dean, Jay - 13%
HD008 Harris, Cody - 69%
HD009 Paddie, Chris - 31%
HD010 Wray, John - 21%
#txlege /3
Read 19 tweets
If we can agree that the top donors to any party can and should be thought of as the special interests, I'd like to build upon my data from yesterday and illustrate the candidates who are (or aren't) being funded by those top donors.
There are 8,724 unique contributors to Democrats running for Texas House. How much has each candidate received from the Top 20 Democrat donors (which we can hopefully all agree would be “Special Interests”)? Remember, the top 20 are 0.2% of the total donors. #txlege /2
What % of total Dem candidate donations have come from the top 20 Dem donors?
HD001 Brannon, Bill - 0%
HD003 Segar, Lisa - 0%
HD008 Ratcliff, Wesley - 0%
HD010 Emery, Kimberly - 0%
HD011 Johnson, Alec - 0%
HD012 Arnold, Marianne - 0%
HD013 Webster, Cecil - 0%
#txlege /3
Read 22 tweets
I've finally got every Texas House candidate who will be on the ballot in November updated in the database at Now that it's all in, it gives us an interesting look at how the parties have raised money through the run-offs. #txlege /1
Let's start with the overall. $30 million has gone into Texas House races since 01/01/2017. Your top contributor to House races is Empower Texans, with $2.3MM, which is 8% of the total. Here are the top 20 in a pie chart (including the overall total) and bar chart #txlege /2
As I have mentioned before, I see Texas not with two parties, but with three parties: Republicans, Empower, and Democrats. This is due to the extreme lack of crossover between donors in the R and E camps. When you look at this way, the money splits get interesting. #txlege /3
Read 11 tweets

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