a prominent Texas businessman who has access to the talk in business circles once stated to the Observer, “I . . . have reason to believe that the Texas Research League is financed, in the main, by the oil interests. I believe the Humble Company kicks in $70,000 a year, Shell $50,000, and the Texas Company $40,000.” If this is the case, or approximately the case, and if the fact was widely known, the effects on public and official evaluations of the league’s more controversial recommendations might be considerable; but there is no way to know whether it is the case or not, because the league won’t tell. ” “We make public the amount of our budget. We will not make public our contribution list,” McGrew said to the Observer in answer to its direct inquiry on this matter. “We don’t make that public because if we made it public to one, we’d have to make it public for everybody.” Would the league provide an analysis of contributions by industry sources? “We haven’t been very successful refining it [the list] for our own purposes,” McGrew said. “You know what the major industries of the state are .. . oil, manufacturing, insurance, retailing, wholesaling,’ professional people, individualsI suppose they made money in business first. They may call themselves ranchers now. They may be ranchers, I don’t know. And banking, finance.” In other words, no, the league will not provide a breakdown of its income by industry source. “We’re not interested in such a breakdown particularly,” the league’s executive director, Burger, told the Observer. “Our contributors include the usual bigthe larger companies. . . .” Is oil the major single industry source? “I’m not at all sure that it is,” Burger said. “It might be, but it doesn’t mean anything.” SINCE the league declares that it is “engaged in objective research,” and since a conservative slant in this research would have serious implications for the public interest which the league continually discusses, it is fair to ask whether the businessmen who finance the league and are its directors shape and control the work of the research staff. The league’s two principal staff men, Burger and McGrew, turn this question away with asseverations of the independence and objectivity 4 The Texas Observer of the staff. “Our [the staff’s] recommendations are not . subject to any review or amendment by our board of directors,” Burger says categorically. Does not the staff go over these recommendations with directors in advance of their release? “Yes, we compare notes with a lot of people,” Burger says. “We like to keep our board, our executive committee particularly, current.” But, says the executive director, “In the ten years that we have been here we’ve never had any conclusion that our research staff reached altered or changed or even pressed to [be changed] by any member of our board.” “I don’t think the money influences us at all,” McGrew says. “Nobody’s ever put any pressure on us to do things. If the reports are conservative, I guess it’s because the staff is largely conservative.” As to a review of reports for directors in advance, “If possible, and generally it is possible, we like to tell ’em what’s in the report before it’s released.” The directors of the league, in a policy statement adopted on Feb. 11, 1953, said, “The League . . . will be strictly nonpolitical in character, and its studies will be conducted objectively. . . . The League . . . will make studies and conduct research only on the request of public _officials and after the research project has been approved by the League’s Executive Committee or Board. . . . “The Executive Committee will meet at regular stated times, and at other times on call, at which meetings it will hear reports from the Executive Director and staff members. . . . Projects . . . will be approved in advance by the Executive Committee before the work is undertaken. The Executive Committee will keep itself and the Board informed concerning the nature and course of the work and will maintain general supervision of the projects.” Who are the executive committee? They are R. A. Goodson of Dallas, vice president-Texas, Southwestern Bell, the chairman of the league presently ; Ray H. Horton, vice presidentSouthwest region, Humble Oil & Refining Co, and the league’s vice-chairman ; Grogan Lord, president, Texas Capital Corp. of Georgetown, and the league’s treasurer ;J. Harold Dunn, board chairman of Shamrock Oil & Gas of Amarillo ; Lewis Boggus, Sr., president of Boggus Motors of Harlingen ; Beeman Fisher, president and general manager, Texas Electric Service Co., Fort Worth; S. J. Hay, board chairman, Great National Life Insurance Co., Dallas; Davis E. Proper, executive vice president of Pearl Brewing Co. of San Antonio ; Walter W. Trout, president, Lufkin Foundry and Machine; and Ben H. Wooten, board chairman of the First National Bank of Dallas. The eleventh place on the committee is vacant, the late Herman Brown not yet having been replaced. There is also a screening committee that considers studies before the executive committee decides whether they shall be done. This committee is made up, at present, of Godfrey, Edward H. Harte, editor of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, and W. W. Overton, Jr., chairman of the board of Texas Bank and Trust Co. of Dallas. Burger, the executive director, was research director for the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce for 17 years and then for the Council of State Chamber of Commerce for five years before coming to the league. In New Jersey his assistant was McGrew. McGrew supervises the work of a dozen profesional research people for the league. The researchers are all prohibited from taking positions on state boards or commissions. “This is kind of against our religion, to take a job with the state,” McGrew says. The league staff “enlists the voluntary services of executives and technicians recruited from Texas business ,and industry.” A 1956 league pamphlet called this the “application of private ‘know-how’ to the operations of Texas government.” When a pitch is made to a businessmen to give money to the league, McGrew says, his “enlightened selfinterest” is appealed to, because “It’s to the interest of business to have a good government, as economical as possible.” The prospect held forth is not reduced taxes, but rather that in the long run, government services will “cost us less than they. would,” McGrew says. McGrew says the league is modeled after the Pennsylvania Economy League, which has been supported by Democratic and Republican governors there. “We like to think that the fellows over here, though of different philosophies, all have confidence” in the league, McGrew says. The Observer asked Burger if he would give instances in which the league staff’s recommendations ran counter to the interests of the league’s directors. He cited the staff’s recom
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