Infamously dubbed by Dallas Magazine “Dallas’ Most Evil Genius”, socialite and energy tycoon Harold Simmons is no stranger to Texas lobbying. As this blog previously reported in January, Simmons has contributed $1.12 million from 2001 to September 2010 to Rick Perry significantly increasing his contributions between 6/25/2009 and 9/30/2010 totaling $600,000 in a 15 month period or more than doubling his previous contributions. Now why did Simmons increase his campaign contributions? Perhaps it’s been used to grease the wheels on his recently passed radioactive waste bill SB 1504 allowing Simmons’ company Waste Control Specialists a monopoly on Texas low-level radiation waste disposal.
Simmons’ money didn’t stop at Perry. According to the Texans for Public Justice, Simmons paid $182, 350 in the 2010 election cycle to 92 members of the House, 94% Republicans and 6% Democrats. Obviously, all of this is significant because of the recent vote in the House on bill SB 1504. 76% of the members who received Simmons contributions or $138,350 voted with the money, yea, while only 13% or $24, 500 voted nay and 11% or $19,500 abstained from voting. Contrary to a damning report by Public Citizen addressing the dangers of nuclear waste disposal , 84% of the House members who took Simmons’ money voted following the company line while only 16% or 15 members abstained from voting or voted nay.
Simmons granted a rare interview to the Dallas Business Journal in 2006 offering an eerie outlook on his lobbying efforts “It took us six years to get legislation on this passed in Austin, but now we’ve got it all passed. We first had to change the law to where a private company can own a license [to handle radioactive waste], and we did that. Then we got another law passed that said they can only issue one license. Of course, we were the only ones that applied.
Most House Members Who Took Simmons’ Money Voted To Grant Him A Monopoly to Import Nuclear Waste
|Simmons BillVote in House||No. of Members||Percent of Members||Total Amount From Simmons||Average Amount from Simmons|
House Members Taking Simmons’ Money but Bravely Went Against Their Benefactor
|House Member||Dist.||Party||Simmons Amount in 2010 Cycle||2nd Reading Vote 5/17||3rd Reading Vote 5/18|
|Issac, Jason A.||45||R||$1,000||Nay||Nay|
|*Martinez Fischer, Trey||116||D||$1,000||Nay||Nay|
|Straus, Joe||121||R||$15,000||Not Voting||Not Voting|
*Member of House Natural Resources Committee that first approved bill.
Note: If you are interested to see if your representative voted with the money or even received 2010 campaign contributions from Simmons please visit this link provided by TPJ, Bankroll Call: Correlating Simmons Contributions To Texas House Votes.