EDITORIAL Big Bucks and Blue Blood I didnt find Garry Mauro. Or his mother But it seems like everyone else was there From the University of Texas Law School there was staid and respectable Charles Alan Wright and the Con-Law professor who recently made the Law School a nationwide embarrassment Lino Graglia. \(Graglia gave more though none of the club owners from the American League have yet come through. Former NASA di rector and University of Texas Chancellor Hans Mark gave $50Q and former National Security Agency dollarsmailed out of the 77019 River Oaks zip where the Bush campaign has done exceptionally well. Democratic Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock wasn’t listed, but not because he hasn’t given. Bullock’s contribution to the Republican governor wasn’t on file because his check was written so recently that it hasn’t yet been listed at the Texas Ethics Commission. As Garry Mauro scrambles to put together a million dollars to use as a down payment on a gubernatorial race, it appears that everyone in the state, except the Christian right, is on one of George W. Bush’s direct mail lists. And almost everyone has already mailed in a check. \(Even Mauro got a fundraising letterwhich Bush’s direct mail consultant Karl Rove said came from a mailing list purchased from In four years in office \(and it might be said that Bush began running for that office at the 1988 Republican National Conventogether a remarkable fundraising operation that has raised something close to $10 million for the next electionwhich is still a year away. Rove might have missed when he failed to purge Garry Mauro’ s name from the Economist’s mailing list, but he has connected with funders small and large from all over the country. Bush’s filings at the ethics commission are voluminous because the Governor has elected to list contributions under $50, which is optional. But his files would not occupy so much space if he hadn’t raised so much money. The number of small-donor listings is staggering. Page after page after page of $10, and $25, and $50 contributions, which are the result of relentless direct mail fundraising. Is it cost-effective for an incumbent governor to solicit contributions in ten-dollar denominations? Rove believes it is, and as Bush’s direct-mail operation raised a fourth of the money spent on his 1994 campaign, he’s obviously right. “Those ten dollar contributions are part of large universes of people,” Rove said, “and direct mail is essentially applying the law of probability to large universes of names.” To listen to Rove is to understand that direct mail is the scientific application of the law of probability. Each list, he said, generates “gifts” clustered around certain amounts. “Forbes magazine is seventy-five bucks, Ruby Red Grapefruit is eighty dollars, Dole For President is forty dollars and thirty cents.” When a list yields low results, it is no longer used. But in a sense, you can’t lose. Fundraising letters mailed by Karl Rove + Company in 1994 and this year include “volunteer options,” which Rove describes as way to broaden grassroots involvement. “As soon as those names come in,” he said, “we ship them out to the county chairman and say `get these people involved.'” This is not to say that Bush is not raising money among the traditional high-dollar Republican funders. The pages of listings of small direct-mail contributionsranging from $10 to $1,000are interrupted by lists of really big givers who don’t mail their checks in, but hand them over at fundraising events. Houston businessman David Dewhurst, himself now a candidate for land commissioner, contributed $25,000; Houston energy magnate Robert McNair gave $25,000; Houston oil-and-gas man S. Reed Morian contributed $25,000. As did Fred Meyer, the Dallas CEO and Bush family friend who was driven from his position as chairman of the Republican Party of Texas by the fundamentalist Christians who took control of the party machinery by showing up at precinct conventions while country-club Republicans were playing golf. And this is just a sampling of the big donor list, which, not surprisingly, includes many of the same donors who funded the 76 in 96 and the Associated Republicans of Texas political action committees, which drastically altered the partisan division of both the House and Senate. Missing from the twelve months of records surveyed for this article are the big givers of the Christian right, in particular San Antonio Dr. James Leininger, who in ten years has given $4.7 million to Republican candidates and causes. \(This might explain former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed’s recent talk of joining the Bush campaign as a consultant. Reed could help the Governor connect with the Christian right, which has always been suspicious of his commitment to their social issues agenda. It also explains why the Governor has recently discovered phonics, one of the educational fundamentals fundamentalists believe will save education and And as George W. Bush’s 1998 governor’s race looks more and more like a rehearsal for his presidential campaign in the year 2000, it is at least noteworthy that his direct mail fundraising is not limited to Texas. Ac 4 THE TEXAS OBSERVER NOVEMBER 7, 1997
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.