Sunday, September 18, 2005

Who spent how much in Austin — and what it bought - Robison: Who spent how much in Austin — and what it bought: "WHEN it comes to Texas politics, money is only slightly less subtle than Hurricane Katrina's recent assault on the Gulf Coast. The state capitol is awash in cash, and many of the special interests doling it out are getting handsome returns.

This observation isn't blockbuster news, but a new report offers still another reminder of how decisions are made in Austin and why restructuring the state's outmoded tax system and overhauling school finance remain so difficult.

The report by Texans for Public Justice, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics, concludes that political action committees in Texas spent $69 million during the 2004 election cycle, a record for a campaign season in which the governor and most statewide offices weren't on the ballot.

The money included contributions to judicial candidates, political parties and various causes. Much, however, was spent on races for the Texas Legislature. And, guess what?

Business as usual, not that there was any doubt, is alive and well. Many of the top contributors were among the biggest winners during this year's legislative sessions."


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