X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
As George W. Bush is fond of pointing out, Texas is not Washington. And the fund-raiser earlier this month for Democratic state Rep. Robby Cook certainly wasn’t your typical Capitol Hill wine and cheese reception. The invitation for the Oct. 4 event — a fish fry and skeet shoot — was printed on camouflage paper. An hour outside of Austin and three miles off the highway, donors drove pick-up trucks and Jaguars over a cattle guard to a ranch house where a young woman sat on a wooden fence handing out name tags and ammo bags. Inside, supporters, most of whom were wearing hunting caps and almost none of whom were wearing ties, sipped cans of Miller Lite and watched as large men tending vats of boiling oil fried breaded catfish and potatoes. When the crack of shot hitting skeet ended, the donors gathered under a tent for a gun auction, with Republican state Rep. Edwin Kuempel serving as barker. The event raised nearly $15,000, including the $975 that one supporter paid for a shiny new shotgun. A group whose power is not in question in Texas politics is “The Lobby,” as those who practice the art of influence-peddling in Austin refer to themselves. Unlike in Washington, where power is diffuse and battles are constant, in the Texas legislature, The Lobby has a free hand. A lot of that is structural: The legislature meets for only six weeks every two years, has a small, low-paid staff, and is so business-friendly that its liberal members supported tort reform. And with no limit on campaign contributions, there is little incentive for members to resist big business. “There’s absolutely nothing that the real Texas establishment wants that they don’t get,” says Charlie Wilson, a former member of the Texas legislature and a former Democratic congressman who is now a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. with Hooper Owen & Winburn. And while the old days of the “three Bs” — beef, booze, and blondes — are pretty much over now, hunting trips and Gulf Coast fishing junkets still take place despite the passage of ethics reform in the administration of former Gov. Ann Richards. The law is riddled with loopholes, says Jim Marsten, who served four years as vice chairman of a state ethics commission before resigning because he believed the reform commission was not working. And lawmakers can still go on hunting trips paid for by lobbyists — they just need to do it as a fund-raiser. A member may hold a fund-raiser hunting trip at $5,000 a pop and bring 50 lobbyists along.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.