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Superfund a Super Deal
for Texas Polluters, Part III: Money Talks

In the first two installments "Superfund a Super Deal for Texas Polluters," PEER focused on how the Gov. Bush and his allies in the Legislature succeeded in undermining the State Superfund laws. Their actions put more responsibility on Texas taxpayers to pick up the tab for hazardous waste clean up and also limited citizens right to know and take action with regards to Superfund sites in their communities.

This week we examine the relationship between campaign contributions from industry to the campaigns of Governor George Bush and shed some light on how industry was able to turn a Superfund program that was designed to clean up communities contaminated by toxic pollution into another corporate welfare program.

A Wise Investment

The industries that crafted the plan to overhaul state superfund laws, lobbied for the bill in the legislature and benefited from it have donated at least $3.5 million to George W. Bush in his 1994 and 1998 campaigns for Governor. These industries have long had clout in Texas state government, but it was not until George W. Bush was elected Governor that industry was able to get legislation signed to take the teeth out of the state Superfund law.

In December 1995 to August 1996, representatives of powerful industry groups met in a workgroup to hammer out changes in the Superfund law. The Political Action Committees (PACs) of the industry groups represented on this workgroup donated $386,400 to Governor Bush from 1993 when Bush began raising money for his first gubernatorial race until August 1996 when the group concluded its rewrite of the Superfund. By the time the legislation to enshrine the proposed changes into law in mid-1997, the PACs of the workgroup donated an additional $116,000. By the end of Bush's second campaign for Texas Governor in the end of 1998 these PACs had donated an additional $358,611. In total, these PACs gave the Governor $861,011.

PAC Contributions to Bush Gubernatorial Campaigns from Superfund Workgroup Participants

Workgroup Participants Companies & Assns Represented

1993-8/96

9/96 - 6/97

6/97- 12/98

Total

Ronn Cobb American Insurance Assn $3,000 $1,500 $1,000 $5,500
Allen Beinke Arter & Hadden $10,000 $ - $10,000 $20,000
Pam M. Giblin & Mark J. White Baker & Botts $40,000 $ - $35,000 $75,000
Lisa K. Anderson Brown, McCarroll & Oaks Hartline $15,000 $5,000 $15,000 $35,000
Sandy Henderson Dow Chemical Company $10,000 $5,000 $11,000 $26,000
Jim Kennedy Dupont $ - $ - $ 1,000 $1,000
Karen Neeley* Independent Bankers Assn.* $1,000 $1,000 $5,000 $7,000
Lisa Shelton Motorola $1,000 $ - $4,500 $5,500
Leonard Dougal & Kathy Hutto Small, Craig & Werkenthin $ 500 $1,000 $ - $1,500
Paul Hugon Temple Inland Forest Products $10,000 $5,000 $10,000 $25,000
Christopher Shields Tx Ag Aviation Associates $ - $1,000 $1,000 $2,000
Mary Miksa Tx Assn Bus & Chambers of Comm. $160,000 $ 71,000 $ 122,500 $ 353,500
Jon Fisher & Mark Shilling Tx Chemical Council $66,500 $13,500 $61,111 $141,111
Bill Powers Tx Farm Bureau $45,400 $5,000 $50,000 $95,400
Cindy Morphew Tx Oil & Gas Assn $2,500 $ - $18,500 $21,000
Robert E. O'Bryan Union Carbide Corp $1,000 $1,000 $1,500 $3,500
Mary Reagan Winstead, Sechrest & Minick $20,500 $6,000 $11,500 $38,000
TOTALS   $ 386,400 $ 116,000 $ 358,611 $ 861,011
 
*Karen Neeley with Independent Bankers Assn. lobbied on behalf of the legislation but was not on the workgroup.

However, the PAC contributions tell only a small part of the story. Many company executives and lobbyists have been major contributors to George Bush's gubernatorial campaigns. Many of these individuals give to their company PACs and also give directly to candidates. There are no limits on what donors - PACs, lobbyists or executives - can give to candidates and some have been extraordinarily generous to the Governor.

Counting the contributions from the PACs and individuals associated with the workgroup participants brings the total to $3,159,715. PAC & Individual Contributions to GW Bush Gubernatorial Campaigns from Superfund Workgroup Participants

PAC & Individual Contributions to GW Bush Gubernatorial Campaigns from Superfund Workgroup Participants

Company/Association Represented Total to GWB 93-98
American Insurance Assn $24,500
Arter & Hadden $179,200
Assn of Fire & Casualty Co$43,300
Baker & Botts $76,000
Brown, McCarroll & Oaks Hartline $35,000
Capital Consultants $10,750
Dow Chemical Company $35,100
Dupont $1,000
Independent Bankers Assn.* $7,000
Motorola $5,500
Nat'l Federation of Independent Business $8,700
Small, Craig & Werkenthin $1,500
Temple Inland Forest Products $27,000
Tx Ag Aviation Associates $9,000
Tx Assn of Bus & Chambers of Commerce $796,750
Tx Chemical Council $545,811
Tx Farm Bureau $100,400
Tx Oil & Gas Assn $1,189,204
Union Carbide Corp $3,500
Winstead, Sechrest & Minick $38,000
Total $3,159,715
 
*Lobbied on behalf of the legislation but was not on the workgroup.

The most generous of the companies represented in the workgroup included :

Enron $301,500 Tx Chemical Council/Tx Oil & Gas Assn.
Arter & Hadden $179,200 Law firm
Beecherl Investments $159,750 Tx Oil & Gas Assn
Farmers Insurance $121,000 Tx Assn. of Business & Chambers of Commerce
Sanchez O'Brien Oil & Gas $115,000 Tx Oil & Gas Assn
Wagner & Brown $112,500 Tx Oil & Gas Assn
International Bank of Commerce $106,000 Tx Assn of Business & Chambers of Commerce
Hunt Oil Company $105,000 Tx Oil & Gas Assn
The Sterling Group $100,000 Tx Oil & Gas Assn/Tx Assn of Bus. & Cham of Comm

Most generous individual contributors among the organizations represented on the workgroup include:

Louis Beecherl $146,000 Beecherl Investments - oil & gas
Tom Loeffler $141,000 Arter & Hadden
Edith & Peter O'Donnell Jr $141,000 oil & gas
Kenneth & Linda Lay $122,500 Enron
A. Sanchez $106,000 Sanchez O'Brien Oil & Gas Corporation
Ray Hunt $105,000 Hunt Oil Co
William McMinn $100,000 Sterling

PEER researchers also examined the companies and individuals which were listed as applicants for the new designation of Innocent Property Owners. (See Superfund a Super Deal for Texas Polluters Part II for details.) We found that 17 of these companies had PACs or individuals which made donations to George Bush's presidential campaign. These companies gave a total of $384,600.

Contributions from Companies
Seeking "Innocent Owner" Status

Innocent Owner Applicant

Total $ to GWB 93-98

Autozone $1,500
Centex Corporation $5,000
Century 21 $10,000
Chevron* $3,000
Coastal Products & Chemicals* $27,000
Ford Motor Company $12,000
HEB Grocery $55,000
Home Depot $2,000
Julius Schepps $12,400
Norwest Bank $19,500
Patriot American Hospitality $20,000
Specís Liquor $5,200
Trinity Industries $22,000
Union Pacific Companies $42,000
Vinson & Elkins $133,000
Wells Fargo $14,000
TOTAL $383,600
 
*These companies were represented in the Workgroup.

After George Bush was elected Governor in 1994 powerful economic interests from the chemical, oil & gas, agriculture, insurance and banking industries which bankrolled his campaign came to together in 1995 and 1996 to propose dramatic changes in the Texas Superfund program. In 1997 the bill passed the Legislature and was signed by Governor Bush. The Governor was re-elected in 1998 - again with generous support from the economic interests who weakened the Texas Superfund program and those who have benefited directly from that assault. All told these PACs and individuals contributed $3,513,315 to Governor Bush's campaigns from 1993 to 1998.

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