05/22/17

A Closer Look – Steve & Amber Mostyn

Ultra-liberal power couple Steve and Amber Mostyn have long been some of the biggest players in Texas politics. They are founders of the eponymous Mostyn Law Firm located in Houston which specializes in suing insurance companies over storm-related claims. In fact, in the wake of Hurricanes Rita and Ike, after Steve Mostyn settled a class action lawsuit against the Texas Wind Insurance Association for $189 million and pocketed an astounding 45% or $86 million in attorneys’ fees, he earned the moniker, “Hurricane Mostyn.”

The Mostyns apparently realized that hurricanes don’t happen regularly, so they expanded their focus to a more frequent weather event – hail. Largely thanks to the Mostyn Law Firm, hail-damage related law suits against insurance companies and insurance adjusters have skyrocketed in recent years from 2% to 22% of all damage claims.

Steve and Amber Mostyn, together with the money given via their law firm, donated $1,818,650 to political candidates and PACs in Texas in just the last election cycle. That number does not count millions given to national political causes.

 

Key takeaways from the Mostyns’ giving:

    1. Deep Desire to Turn Texas Blue:

Every penny of the Mostyns’ giving went to Democrat candidates or Democrat causes, especially those dedicated to turning Texas, known as a solidly “red” or Republican state, to a “blue” Democrat-controlled state. They gave $591,000,000 to Battleground Texas PAC, whose stated purpose is to win Democrat victories from the top of the ballot to the bottom, ensuring that Texas’ 38 electoral college votes go for the Democrat candidate, which would, in turn, guarantee the United States’ presidency is held by a Democrat. Similarly, the Mostyns gave $79,500 to Back to Basics PAC, $50,000 to Texans for America’s Future, and $750 to Act Blue Texas, all of which are dedicated to replacing Republicans with Democrats all across Texas.

    1. Supporting Women, as long as they are progressive, Democrat women:

The Mostyns gave $200,000 to Annie’s List, a PAC dedicated to electing progressive, pro-choice Democrat women. They also made direct contributions to a number of women endorsed by Annie’s List or fitting the pro-choice profile including $15,000 to Angelique Bartholomew, $5,750 to State Representative Shawn Thierry, $2,500 to State Senator Sylvia Garcia, $1,000 to State Representative Mary Edna Gonzalez, and $3,000 to River Oaks Area Democratic Women.

    1. Understanding the importance of local politics.

Like most savvy political givers, the Mostyns understand that local political races provide the “farm team” for the future “big leagues.” Although the Mostyns were one of the top donors to pro-Clinton super PACS, they don’t neglect their own back yard, even giving $5,000 to help elect Cody R. Wheeler to a Pasadena City Council seat.

 

Most Interesting Donation:

Although it seems the Mostyns’ are likely to take a legislative hit soon, as a bill making it harder to file frivolous hail-damage-related lawsuits is headed to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk, the Mostyns haven’t fought that hard to stop it. Other than a $56,000 donation to Texas Association of Consumer Lawyers, which opposed the bill, the Mostyns’ giving seems to have another priority. The Mostyns gave more than half a million dollars to the Texas Organizing Project (TOP), a liberal “community organizing” PAC. In fact, the two biggest donors to TOP are the Mostyns and George Soros. The Mostyns seem to understand that the current climate in Texas is stacked against their liberal priorities and instead appear to be playing the long game. Joining forces with Mr. Soros, the Mostyns are investing now, hoping for a liberal future for Texas.

 

Our A Closer Look series provides a breakdown of a particular donor’s giving habits within Texas politics. We specifically analyze to whom money is given and when, providing context so citizens can determine the motivation behind the donor’s giving. Stay tuned for the next installment.

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