Database Tracks Texas Campaign Cash

New database of Texas campaign contributions reveals surprises

Attorney General Greg Abbott has accumulated more campaign cash than any Texas candidate, according to an online database that tracks political contributions.

Abbott’s war chest is a sizable $10.4 million, according to the data compiled by The Texas Tribune. That’s more than Gov. Rick Perry and several other state officials. Perry has just $2.1 million cash on hand.

The Tribune, a non-profit media organization based in Austin, used campaign finance reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission to assemble the records.

The information reveals Gov. Rick Perry has collected $109 million in contributions since 2000. But Perry now has $2.1 million in the bank. The figures do not include money raised by his campaign for president or any other federal donations.

The Tribune’s executive editor, Ross Ramsey, said the searchable webpage includes 6.5 million contributions and allows voters to be informed about candidates for statewide office.

"Who is in this flock of birds?” Ramsey asked. “When you look at this candidate, if I join this crowd or run behind this flag, who am I running with? And one of the ways in Texas is to look at the money."

Some of the biggest money comes from companies that are regulated by the state.

Records show Valero energy company's two political action committees have contributed $11.5 million to Texas politicians.

But even all that money doesn't mean people or companies always get what they want.

On Wednesday, the state’s environmental agency turned down Valero's request for a $92 million tax break.

The top individual donor, by far, is Tony Sanchez. He spent $55 million of his own money to run for governor in 2002 -- and lost.

The database shows the top donor from North Texas is Dallas billionaire businessman Harold Simmons, who has given candidates $6.5 million. More than $1 million of it went to Gov. Perry.

The top corporate donor is listed as Texans for Lawsuit Reform, a business group that has battled trial lawyers to change the rules for filing lawsuits. The political action committee has collected $19 million, according to the database.

Click here to access the searchable donation application.

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