ChrisTackettNow Profile picture
Aug 29, 2018 21 tweets 11 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
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
Dunn - "Austin-based lobby groups typically consider their contribution an investment - an investment in getting, or avoiding, something from government. ...many others want special favors and privileges from government that are not available to the ordinary taxpayer." #txlege
The quote above from Dunn is the absolute peak of hypocrisy. Empower, Wilks, the other major ET donors, all demand loy. And if you don't do exactly what they want, they cut you off. #txlege
Dunn - "In the campaign, Rep. Flynn made an issue out of donations his opponent received from outside the district, in particular donations attributed to me." Yes, as he should have. #txlege
In HD2, Empower Texans candidate Bryan Slaton received $181.9k from 235 contributions
$84.7k - Empower Texans (46.6%)
$20k - Texas Right To Life (ET) (11%)
$13.4k - Constituents Focus (ETR) (7.4%)
$10k - Kyle Stallings (ET9) (5.5%)
$5.7k - Jonathan Stickland (ETR) (3.2%)
Continuing the top donors to Bryan Slaton in HD2
$5k - Stacy Hock (ETR) (2.7%)
$5k - Dick Saulsbury (ET9) (2.7%)

Just taking these top 7 donors to Slaton, who are ALL CONNECTED to the same group (Empower Texans), it makes up 79.1% of his total contributions.
On the 2nd page of the letter, Dunn says he's in it for you, the little guy. And of course he talks about property taxes and references a report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation to back him up. But the transparency guy isn't very transparent. #txlege
When you look up who is on the Board Of Directors for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, it's a who's who of donors to Empower Texans
- Tim Dunn (who is referencing the group)
- Windi Grimes
- Stacy Hock
- Jeff Sandefer
- Kyle Stallings
- Mayes Middleton (former)
And then you dig a little deeper into who is giving to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and you see the Koch brothers fingerprints all over the org. The data on foundations is a little harder to get and hence older, as it is only available via IRS records. #txlege
Back to Dunn's letter. On page 3, he tells you that "You can't trust the newspapers" and "you certainly can't trust campaign ads". But who can you trust? I guess the answer must be Empower Texans. Because they were outspent 9 to 1. But is that accurate? #txlege
Let's look at just the House races, as that is the biggest play Empower Texans has made. Who was the largest donor? Empower Texans. How many Empower backed candidates were there? 42. How many other Republicans were there? 88. I'll break down some numbers for you. #txlege
In the House races, the top 20 contributors to candidates gave a total of $14.4 million. Empower Texans and their donors were $6.4 million of that. So 45% of the dollars from the top 20 donors all have the same agenda. #txlege
I'll remind everyone here who the Empower Texans donors are (ET9).
Tim Dunn - $2.5m
Farris Wilks - $985k
Dan Wilks - $625k
Kyle Stallings - $378k
Mayes Middleton - $207k
Dick Saulsbury (and sons) - $167k
Holly Frost - $50k
Darlene Pendery - $50k
Monty Bennett - $20k
When you filter the donors to just money given to those 42 Empower Texans candidates, you see that the only people giving significant dollars to the 42 are the same ones who give to Empower Texans. I give to Empower to give to a candidate, and then I give to a candidate. #txlege
Let's circle back to the House 88 Republicans and the 42 Empower candidates.
On the 88 Republicans, $22.3 million was raised. $253k per candidate
On the 42 Empower, $11.3 million was raised. $269k per candidate
That doesn't feel like 9:1 #txlege
Are there candidates where I see a lot of PAC money and it makes me cringe? Yes. Do you see the same kind of concentrated money flowing in from the same sources in the non-Empower Republicans or from the Democratic candidates? No. #txlege
Dunn closes on page 4 with a pitch to go to their website and sign up for their propaganda. Please don't. Find real sources of info, that look fairly at both sides of things. Be wary of those who yell Fake News and can't back up claims. #txlege
Everything in this thread, other than the letter and the stuff about TPPF, are from my website (, which is 100% sourced from the Texas Ethics Commission. I load the data and set up the lists and charts so that you can make your own decisions.

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More from @christackettnow

Aug 31, 2018
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
Aug 25, 2018
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
Aug 16, 2018
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
Aug 15, 2018
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
Aug 14, 2018
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
Aug 12, 2018
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

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