Emails (excerpted), responses to PolitiFact Texas, Sherry Sylvester, senior communications advisor, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Dec. 6-Dec. 13, 2012

1237 pm

Dec. 6, 2012

Hey Gardner – Over the past decade, the Texas Democratic Party has received $15, 688,274 in contributions, minus the federal pass-through PAC’s that target federal races.  Personal injury trial lawyer contributions to the Democratic Party total $11,749, 296 or 75.4%. Beginning in 2006, many of these contributions were made via Fred Baron’s PAC, the Texas Democratic Trust.  Before the Trust, a trial lawyer PAC called Texas 2000 provided contributions to the Party.  

 

As I mentioned on the phone, I did not do the research on 2004 and have not yet been able to identify where trial lawyer dollars were targeted that year.  The trials may have put their dollars in a vehicle like the Texas Democratic Trust or Texas 2000 that year as well. I’m still looking and will let you know what I find. If you subtract 2004 from my analysis the percentage of trial lawyer contributions rises to 80.06%.

 

I didn’t include 2012 because we only have the pre-election reports.  Trial lawyers have provided 64% of the funding for the Texas Democratic Party so far this cycle.  Because this does not include much of the funding for GOTV efforts, we expect their contribution percentage to rise.  

 

Please give me a call if you have any questions about this.  Thanks.  sherry

 

2002

Contributions                                                                 $7,689,130

Trial Lawyer Contributions                                           $5,512,641

Percentage  71%

2004

Contributions                                                             $1,490,876

Trial Lawyer Contributions                                       $369,299

Percentage  24%

2006

Contributions                                                             $937,609

Trial Lawyer Contributions                                       $835,873

Percentage 89%

2008

Contributions                                                             $3,925,470

Trial Lawyer Contributions                                       $3,701,259

Percentage 94%

2010

Contributions                                                             $1,565,189

Trial Lawyer Contributions                                       $1,330,320

Percentage:  84%

 

Sherry Sylvester

Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC Communications

247 pm

Dec. 6, 2012

Here’s my lists of trial lawyer contributors to the TDP.    As I mentioned this morning, 2002 and 2004 were before my time at TLR, but I have read through the TEC reports and totaled up the trial lawyer contributions.   sherry

 

2006:

Texas Democratic Trust  $751,203

Baron & Budd  $2000

Brent Coon  $10,000

Dickie Grigg $1000

Frank Branson $2,500

Steve Mostyn $5,000

Bryan Pope $250.

Charles W Nichols $120.

Ted Lyon $1000

Texas Values in Action Coalition (Watts) $35,000

The Barnes Law Firm $2500

Waters & Kraus $15,000

Mikal Watts $10,300

TOTAL  $835,873

 

2008:

Texas Democratic Trust $1,744,059

Mikal Watts - $270,000

Williams Kherkher Hart & Boundas LLP - $265,000

Nix Patterson & Roach - $250,000

Provost & Umphrey - $250,000

Fisher Boyd Brown Boudreaux & Huguenard – $100,000

Frank Branson PC - $105,000

John O’Quinn - $100,000 Houston

Reaud and Associates - $100,000

Reaud Morgan & Quinn - $100,000

Waters & Kraus - $100,000

Richard Mithoff - $100,000

William Fred Hagans - $100,000

Contributions under $50K - $117,200

TOTAL  $3,701,259

 

2010:

Texas Democratic Trust  $1,285,220

TTLA  $5000

Ted Lyon $1000

Frank Branson $5000

Steve Mostyn $5000

Kirk Watson $5700

Vote Texas (Watts) $3,750

Lone Star (Baron) $15,000

Lisa Baron $1000

Waters & Kraus $1000

Valley PAC (Mostyn) $2500

Trey Martinez Fischer $150

TOTAL $1, 330,320

 

 

Sherry Sylvester

326 pm

Dec. 8, 2012

Granted, I should not have said that trial lawyer dollars comprise 80% of the contributions to the Texas Democratic Party over the last decade without reviewing the figures for 2002 and 2004. Knowing that the percentage of trial lawyer contributions to the TDP had been over 80% since 2006 and as high as 94% in 2008, I assumed that at least 80% was accurate.  Still, surely you agree that the fact that the percentage is 75.4% instead of 80% does not change my point.

 

In fact, trial lawyer contributions dominate Texas Democratic Party funding and have for the last decade.  An additional point I made in my op-ed is that trial lawyers damage the brand of all Democratic legislators in Texas.  Texans of all political stripes don’t like personal injury trial lawyers, and the fact that Democrats are widely perceived to be blindly beholden to the trial lawyers is a major factor in the failure of Democrats to win a single statewide office since 1994.

 

Another point I made in my op-ed is that trial lawyers make most of their campaign contributions through the Texas Democratic Party as well as PAC’s with deceptive names that do not make it immediately clear that they are the source of the money.  Trial lawyer PAC’s including Texans for Insurance Reform, Back to Basics, Texas Values in Action Coalition, Vote Texas and the Valley Political Action Committee are examples.  This year, Houston hurricane lawyer Steve Mostyn, who calls himself a committed liberal and was the third largest contributor to President Obama, formed and almost exclusively funded a PAC called Conservative Voters of Texas so he could get involved in Republican primaries.  In contrast, the name Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC tells voters exactly who we are.  If folks oppose our tort reform agenda, they can vote against the candidates we back.

From: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) [mailto:wgselby@statesman.com]

Sent: Monday, December 10, 2012 12:15 PM

To: Sherry Sylvester

Subject: Following up

 

Got it.

 

I’m tentatively getting total contributions to the TDP, account no. 15831, of $11.3 million from 2003 through October 2012, not counting inter-party transfers. This is not your total of over $15 million.

 

Am I missing/overlooking something?

1253 pm

Dec. 10, 2012

Recall that I reviewed the reports from 2002 to 2010.  In 2002, the TDP reported $7.8 million in total contributions, minus federal pass-throughs.  Also, please note that the TDP reports are a little ragged, particularly in 2002 and 2004 where there are duplicates of some reports while a couple of 30 day reports appear to be missing.  I carefully weeded out the duplicates.  Another ragged example occurred in 2010 when they reported $63K in contributions from the Texas Democratic Trust even though the Trust reported giving them $240K during the same period.   They may have corrected this on their reports the following year, but I’ve not seen it.  ss

 

Sherry Sylvester

325 pm

Dec. 10, 2012

I reviewed the reports from the 2012 cycle, but they do not change my point that trial lawyer contributions dominate the Texas Democratic Party.  Adding in 2012, minus federal PAC’s that target federal races, the total amount of TDP contributions is $16,595,367.  The total amount of trial lawyer contributions is $12,401,156 or 74.7%.   Details are below.

 

*TOTAL Contributions 2002-2012: 16,595,367.

*TOTAL Trial Lawyer Contributions  2002-2012: $12,401,156.  

Percentage:  74.7%

 

2012

Total Contributions                                                    $907,093

Trial Lawyer Contributions                                       $651,860

Percentage  71%

2010

Contributions                                                             $1,565,189

Trial Lawyer Contributions                                       $1,330,320

Percentage:  84%

2008

Contributions                                                             $3,925,470

Trial Lawyer Contributions                                       $3,701,259

Percentage 94%

2006

Contributions                                                             $937,609

Trial Lawyer Contributions                                       $835,873

Percentage 89%

2004

Contributions                                                             $1,490,876

Trial Lawyer Contributions                                       $369,299

Percentage  24%

2002

Contributions                                                                 $7,689,130

Trial Lawyer Contributions                                           $5,512,641

Percentage  71%

 

*2012 only includes pre-election reports and do not reflect most of GOTV spending.

 

Sherry Sylvester

427 pm

Dec. 10, 2012

Here’s what I got from the reports:

2002 Totals:            DCCC         $6,575,168

                              DSCC     $4,705,455

                              DNC           $   107,160

TOTAL:                 TOTAL  Fed PAC Contributions:  $11,387,783

 

Total Reported 2002 TDP Contributions -  $19,043,828

Minus $11,387,783 in Federal PAC Contributions = $7,689,130

Total Trial Lawyer Contributions $5,512,641

Trial Lawyer Percentage:  71%

1156 am

Dec. 13, 2012

.  I have been saying for several years that the Texas Democratic Party’s funding is dominated by trial lawyers.  That has never been challenged by the Democratic Party or by the trial lawyers.

 

As I told you, I based my statement on the fact that trial lawyer giving to the Texas Democratic Party had exceeded 80% for the last 3 election cycles and was over 90% in the 2008 cycle.  I had not looked at the 2002 and 2004 election cycles that closely before your inquiry, but now that I have, the pattern holds.  I am not sure why the dem party was not more engaged in 2004 – but it doesn’t change my point.  In terms of 2012, I stress that all the data is not in yet.  We have heard that two trial lawyers underwrote several million dollars worth of the urban counties’ GOTV, but we won’t know if that’s actually true until the Jan 15 reports.  

216 pm

Dec. 13, 2012

I pulled out the federal PAC money in 2002 because that money was clearly sent to Texas to support federal candidates that year (Ron Kirk for US Senate and other congressionals).   State Parties use federal money for federal candidates because it is much harder to raise and there are strong restrictions against using state money for those candidates.  My focus is state and legislative races.  ss

 

 

Sherry Sylvester