Capitol Crowd

Our Capitol Crowd series outlines and highlights the politicians, advocacy groups, and donors that have the biggest impact during the 140-day legislative session. Check back throughout the session for updates.


Geren Under Fire — Will His Supporters Flee?

State Representative Charlie Geren has recently been linked to two scandals. This has many political insiders wondering, will donors continue to support him? First, Geren, who chairs the powerful House Administration committee, had to announce an updated and more rigorous sexual harassment policy after claiming just last month there was no need to discuss the policy… CONTINUE


The Next Speaker

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus’ recent announcement that he will not seek reelection in 2018 naturally brings up questions for both the political insider and the casual observer. Who will be the next Speaker of the Texas House? Will one of Straus’ close allies take the reins? What sort of say will Democrats have? How… CONTINUE


Who’s Gonna Get Ten Million Dollars?

Yes, ten million. That’s how much money Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus has in the bank. As of the most recent reports, Speaker Straus has approximately $10,039,844 in his campaign account. Straus announced today he will not seek re-election as Speaker or to the Texas House of Representatives. More than 75 county GOP… CONTINUE


Seven Things You Should Know About the Post-Special Session Report

To prevent the appearance (or reality) of politicians getting paid to vote a certain way, they are not allowed to accept campaign donations during the biennial regular legislative sessions. But it’s not uncommon for political donations to pour into campaign accounts after a legislative session. As usual, legislators raised vast amounts of money from individual… CONTINUE


Shocking Donations by Abbott’s Inner Circle

Would you be surprised to find out the Chief of Staff for one of the most conservative governors in the nation gave money to a group dedicated to helping elect Democrats? We were. At Transparency Texas, we routinely examine the political giving (and taking) of elected officials. And for good reason – these men and… CONTINUE


Abbott’s Business

Conventional wisdom in the Texas Capitol is that politicians, particularly Republicans, must decide if they are with voters or the business community. Allegedly one cannot advocate on behalf of both. A more honest explanation of the battle within the Republican party comes down to whether politicians want to side with voters and business owners who… CONTINUE


The Man with the Calendar

In the Texas House of Representatives, while each piece of legislation is referred to an issue specific committee, one committee has veto power over every single measure before it reaches the full House for a vote: the House Committee on Calendars. Republican State Representative Todd Hunter is currently serving his fourth term (out of ten… CONTINUE


Texans for Lawsuit Reform

Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR) is a non-profit organization focused on tort reform in Texas. It was founded in 1994 by several prominent Texas businessmen including Leo Linbeck – CEO of Aquinas Companies, Dick Trabulsi the owner of a liquor store chain in Houston, and Richard “Dick” Weekley the co-founder of Weekley Homes. TLR’s primary… CONTINUE


What Happened to the Ban on Abortion by Dismemberment?

A legal ban on abortion by dismemberment – a gruesome procedure whereby an unborn baby is killed in utero by dismembering his or her limbs, one by one – just died in the Texas House. What happened? Until recently, it seemed a dismemberment ban was sure to become a reality during the 85th session of the… CONTINUE


Border Health PAC

Headquartered along the Rio Grande in McAllen, Texas, the Border Health PAC has serious sway with lawmakers in Austin. With donations of $2,545,960 and expenditures of $2,554,042, Border Health PAC (BHPAC) is one of the “heavy-hitters” in the Texas political scene, ranking 8th for donations among Texas political PACs in the last election cycle. Border… CONTINUE