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Andy Taylor Clarifies The Identities of His Lobby Clients Taylor Client Company Donations TRM PAC TLR PAC Reported in TX Amount Amount Bob Perry Perry Homes $ 4,640,000 $ 165,000 $ 340,000 Louis Beecherl Jr. Beecherl Interests 400,335 35,000 20,000 Michael Stevens Stevens Interests 247,900 25,000 Vance/Tincy Miller Henry S. Miller 141,866 10,000 1,000 Charles McMahen Compass Bancshares 29,575 Walter Mischer Mischer Corp. 22,500 5,000 Fred Zeidman Greenberg Traurig 5,142 Total $ 5,487,318 $ 210,000 $ 391,000 COMMENTARY I BY ANDREW WHEAT Taylor-Made Election Law He’s the fastest hired gun in the West. Never in the history of “Austin’s oldest profession” had a lobbyist fulfilled his contract instantaneously. Yet by the end of his March 3 announcement that he would lobby to “clarify” state election laws, Republican fiber-lawyer Andy Taylor already had done so. Taylor did not accomplish this feat by suggesting specific election-law reforms. On the contrary, he abandoned the can dor of a couple months earlier, when he had vowed to repeal Texas’ prohibition on corporate electioneering. What clarified the issue this time was Taylor’s revelation that the clients paying his lobby fees are seven wealthy men who include some of Texas’ leading powerbrokers. Taylor’s clients gave almost $5.5 million to Texas PACs and state candidates in the 2004 election alone. Tellingly, most of Taylor’s clients have financial ties to the very 2002 scandal that seems to have prompted them to lobby for a “clarification” of state election law. Three of Taylor’s lobby clients gave a total of $210,000 to Texans for a His clients subsequently gave another $391,000 to ally Texans for Lawsuit naed in the TRMPAC probe. As a former counsel to Tom DeLay’s TRMPAC and as current counsel to Taylor has huge stakes in the criminal probe investigating whether these groups illegally spent $2.5 million in corporate money in 2002 to help Republicans take over the Texas House. How fitting that people who bankrolled these efforts now have hired Taylor to “clarify” laws that those groups flaunted. Taylor himself seemed to make this point by announcing his new clients during a recess in the civil trial of TRMPAC Treasurer Bill Ceverha. Taylor’s best-known new client is Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, who bankrolled attacks by Swiftboat Veterans for Truth on John Kerry’s Vietnam record. During the 2002 campaign Perry contributed $396,000 to the 21 Republican House candidates backed by TRMPAC and emerged as the top donor to TAB’s PAC. Although Perry is in a league of his own as Texas’ No. 1 indi vidual donor, all of Taylor’s clients enjoy ties to TRMPAC or Tom DeLay. Fred Zeidman arguably owes his very job to yet another DeLay ethics scandal. Greenberg Traurig named Zeidman head of its embattled lobby practice last year after it fired DeLay protg Jack Abramoff. Multiple investigations are examining what Abramoff did for the tens of millions of dollars that he billed to Native American tribes \(see “K Street Croupiers,” TO, Recently the National Journal reported evidence that Abramoff’s prior firm, Preston Ellis \(a $25,000 TRM-paid DeLay’s London hotel bills in 2002. This would violate U.S. House rules that bar lobbyists from paying travel costs for members of Congress. Taylor client Louis Beecherl is the long-time patron of TRM PAC Treasur er Bill Ceverha, who served on Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick’s transition team in 2002. The Travis County grand jury is investigating whether Craddick’s heavy TRMPAC involvement broke a state law governing speaker campaigns. Taylor client Vance Miller wrote Craddick’s name on his $10,000 check to TRMPAC. Miller would later say that Ceverha had “led me to believe that Tom Craddick was involved to elect more Republicans to the House.” The Observer previously reported the TRMPAC connections of Taylor client Charles McMahen, a retired vice continued on page 28 MARCH 18, 2005 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13