JFB-RDB Inc. The two airplanes, a Beechcraft B-100 and a Cessna 310, have a combined value of nearly $1 million. The campaign pays for all the maintenance and upkeep on the planes. And according to statements filed at the Texas Ethics Commission, the campaign paid J1-B-RDB $77,705 in lease payments on the planes in 1996. When asked if he makes any money on the deal, Bullock said, “Not a penny.” He defends the arrangement saying, “I started in the airplane business because of the grand jury investigation in 1979. I don’t think there’s anything wrong at all with using campaign money for transportation that otherwise would have to be paid for by Texas.” While Bullock may be saving the state money on travel, he is also using his political position to build equity in an asset that he owns. He may not make any money off the planes right now, but they are not costing him anything either. Thus, he gets to own two planes that may appreciate in value while having his campaign pay all of the expenses. And if and when he decides to sell the planes, he could make a substantial profit. Moreover, “campaign money” does not fall from the sky; it is donated by contributors who inevitably have interests in state policies over which Bullock exercises heavy influence. Keeping the planes, Proffitt and the campaign office costs a lot of money: $1.2 million in both 1995 and 1996. But Bullock raises lots of money. Since January 1, 1995, his campaign has run a surplus: according to Bullock’s filings with the Texas Ethics Commission, his campaign currently has nearly $3 million in cash on hand. In the last six months of 1996 alone, Bullock raised $2.47 million, nearly a third of which came in donations of $10,000 or more. Much of Bullock’s money has come from wealthy donors and political action committees. In 1994, while running for re-election, Bul lock got $100,000 from Dallas-area developer Daniel Robinowitz, who owns interests in casinos in New Orleans and Colorado. Robinowitz, who also gave $105,000 to former Governor Richards, told the Dallas Morning News that he gave money to Bullock because he is a “stabilizing” force in Texas. Robinowitz added that in the casino debate, he would oppose gambling in Texasbecause casinos here would compete against the casino he was building in New Orleans. Four days after Robinowitz told the Morning News of his opposition, Bullock told the Austin American-Statesman, “I personally oppose gambling. I don’t believe that casino gambling represents the future of Texas.” \(Last session, Bullock had a highly-publicized run-in with casino lobbyists who tried to push a bill through the Senate without lining up the necessary votes. Bullock, never one to waste the Senate’s time, angrily confronted the lobbyists and declared their bill In 1996, Bullock raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from political action committees. The Texas State Teachers Association PAC gave him $35,000. The Texas Auto Dealers Association PAC gave him $25,000. The Texans for Lawsuit Reform Fund gave him $23,700. Bullock got $10,000 checks from numerous PACs associated with large law firms, including Fulbright & Jaworski, Baker & Botts, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and Vinson & Elkins. Chicken magnate Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim gave him $5,000 in 1996, as did Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, Fort Worth billionaire Perry Bass, Dallas oilman and football tyCoon Jerry Jones, and heavyweight Waco business economist Ray Perryman. Bullock got $10,000 checks from San Antonio-based grocery store owner Charles Butt, Austin-based homebuilder Bill Milburn, and e s toi S on the pr r a lot he doesn’t like having the press focus on him, and he’s not shy about fending off reporters. During the development of this profile, he displayed the efficiency of his political rnachine. The writer initially assigned to this story had jokingly responded to a Bullock fundraiser last year, writing on the back of the return postcard: “I might give that Republican son of a bitch a ride to the hospital.” In retaliation, Bullock refused to cooperate with the story until another reporter was assigned; and when I walked into the conference room adjacent to Bul e press “gets a to know about it.” Bullock’s defensiveness may be understandable, as he’s certainly had his share of embarrassing press. Perhaps the most revealing profile ever written about him was done in 1980, by a former aide, Bill Collier. The article, published in Texas Monthly and Inquiry magazine, detailed Bullock’s drinking, temper, and love life, and included allegations that Bullock had misused state planes and funds. The publication coincided with a lengthy grand jury investigation of Bullock’s office by Travis s him like a brother, eld his han wherfbe was sick, gave him money when he was broke, helped him when he was in trouble….lt really hurt me.” In another incident, one longtime member of the Capitol press corps was forbidden by Bullock to enter any of the comptroller’s officesfor eight years after writing an unflattering story about political files that Bullock maintained at the comptroller’s office at state expense. The story, which ran in 1975, found that Bullock was spending $4,091 per month of taxpayer money to maintain his personal clipping files. R.B. 14 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JANUARY 31, 1997
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