A Closer Look – Holloway Frost & Kathaleen Wall
Holloway “Holly” Frost and Kathaleen Wall make up one of the most politically influential couples in the greater Houston area; a remarkable feat given the fact that the city boasts arguably the largest, and deepest, pockets for political giving in the state. Mr. Frost was the founder and CEO of high tech company Texas Memory Systems, while Ms. Wall has made a name for herself by not only donating money, but volunteering her time to block walk, phone bank, and serve on various political committees.
Mr. Frost & Ms. Wall are relatively new to the Texas political giving scene, with their first donation coming in 2008. They’ve made up for lost time over the past few cycles though, as their giving has increased dramatically. Mr. Frost, 72, and Ms. Wall, 50, are members of Second Baptist Church in Houston.
Here’s an overview of Mr. Frost & Ms. Wall’s giving from the past election cycle:
|Holloway Frost & Kathaleen Wall – A Closer Look|
|Total Number of Donations||122|
|Average Donation Amount||$8,371.36|
|Donations to Republicans||$521,467.60|
|Donations to Democrats||$0|
|Donations to Texas House Candidates||$105,715|
|Percentage of Donations to Texas House Candidates||10.35%|
|Donations to Texas Senate Candidates||$37,002|
|Percentage of Donations to Texas Senate Candidates||3.62%|
|Donations to Statewide Candidates||$352,500|
|Percentage of Donations to Statewide Candidates||34.51%|
|Donations to Advocacy Groups||$439,838|
|Percentage of Donations to Advocacy Groups||43.07%|
|Donations Given Inside Home District||$0|
|Percentage of Donations Inside Home District0||0%|
|Donations Given Outside Home District||$1,021,305.60|
|Percentage of Donations Outside Home District||100%|
Key takeaways from Mr. Frost & Ms. Wall’s giving:
- Focusing on Houston.
Mr. Frost & Ms. Wall are clearly focused on keeping Houston economically and socially prosperous. Nearly all of their gifts, outside of statewide elected officials, have some sort of Houston connection. Be it local advocacy groups or district judges, Mr. Frost and Ms. Wall are investing significant resources close to home.
- No support for their own representatives.
Ironically, none of the donations Mr. Frost & Ms. Wall made in the past election cycle went to their own Texas House or Texas Senate representatives (State Representative Sarah Davis and State Senator Joan Huffman). While not a certainty, this likely spells dissatisfaction with how they’re currently being represented in Austin. Given their past willingness to support challengers to incumbents, this dissatisfaction could mean financial support for challengers in the future.
- Value of advocacy groups.
Over 43% Mr. Frost & Ms. Wall’s contributions went to advocacy groups. These entities, some believe, have the ability to target voters and message issues in a way candidates and elected officials cannot. Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Texas Right to Life PAC, and The Texas Conservative View, each Houston-based, received significant levels of support. This shows Mr. Frost & Ms. Wall highly value the influence of these advocacy groups, and the pressure they put on elected officials to deliver policy results.
Most interesting donation:
As noted above, Mr. Frost & Ms. Wall’s giving focused almost exclusively on the greater Houston area. But one donation, $5,000 to Richard “Bo” West French, sticks out. Mr. French unsuccessfully challenged incumbent State Representative Charlie Geren in Texas House District 99, located in Northwest Tarrant County. State Rep. Geren, whom many consider one of the most powerful men in Austin, is a close ally of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. Most conservative-leaning advocacy groups have measured the results of the Texas House under Speaker Straus’ leadership and found them wanting. This gift, given in a race taking place across the state that has arguably nothing in common with the rest of their giving in the cycle, likely points to Mr. Frost & Ms. Wall wanting more conservative policy reforms out of Austin.
**Note: this article originally used donation information from 1/1/2015 – 6/30/2016, as that was the only available data at the time of publication. Since then, numbers throughout the article have been updated to reflect all giving from 1/1/2015 – 12/10/2016.
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, thus providing context so citizens can determine the motivation behind the donor’s giving. Stay tuned for the next installment.