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Who Owns Texas? Top 10 Most Influential Oligarchs.
In 2012, Berkley psychologists ran several studies looking at whether social class (as measured by wealth, occupational prestige, and education) influences how much we care about the feelings of others. These studies found that wealthy people were more likely to have unethical behavior.
Another 2012 study found that people in a higher economic class had less compassion towards their fellow man than people with lesser means.
What happens when these same ultra-wealthy people can make the laws that govern a state? Not through running for office but by buying off the politicians who are in office. And what happens to a state where this type of unfettered corruption goes on for decades?
The ability of the ultra-wealthy to buy off politicians and influence legislation has led to unfettered corruption in Texas. Hundreds of millionaires and billionaires pour mountains of cash into Texas elections each cycle. Let’s talk about some of the worst and what their agendas are.
Tim Dunn - Spent $8 million on the 2022 election.
If you’ve already seen the CNN special, “Deep in the Pockets of Texas,” then you are likely already familiar with who Tim Dunn is. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth the watch.
Dunn is an ultra-right religious fascist who practices in the Seven Mountains Mandate Dominionism. This theological and political ideology asserts that Evangelical Christians are mandated to control society's seven main spheres or “mountains” of influence. These spheres are typically identified as religion, family, education, government, media, arts and entertainment, and business/economy.
Dunn believes he was called to actively engage and dominate these spheres to establish a Christian worldview and bring about societal transformation. Each election cycle, he pours money into the worst politicians with the most regressive views on society.
Dan Patrick, Ken Paxton, Bryan Slaton, Wayne Christian, and Jeff Younger received massive amounts of cash from Dunn and his Defend Liberty PAC during the 2022 election. These politicians also seemed to be most interested in taking away your rights and the rights of others.
Dominion believes that God calls Christians to exercise dominion over society. Dunn has used his massive wealth in Texas for over a decade to control society through policy and lawmaking. It isn’t just state politics Dunn has sunk his hooks into. He and Ferris Wilks also sunk $100,000 in the Houston mayoral race, funding the far-right MAGA candidate.
Janet L. Duncan - Spent $6.6 million on the 2022 election.
According to Forbes magazine, in 2007, Duncan was the wealthiest person in Houston and the 3rd richest person in Texas, with a net worth of 8.2 billion dollars, but he died in 2010. Janet L. Duncan is his widow. As of 2020, the Duncan family is the eleventh richest family in America.
Now in her 80s, Duncan hasn’t held a public profile, so it’s hard to say what her motivations for dumping so much money into Texas elections are. The bulk of her money has gone to the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC, a long-standing PAC that aims to remove consumer protections and make it harder to sue a business when they cause injury.
During the 2020 election, Duncan spent $2.8 million on a pro-life PAC. She’s an older woman with far-right beliefs and enough money to throw around. She may not have an agenda other than the current hot topic for the GOP.
Richard Weekley - Spent $5.7 million on the 2022 election.
Richard Weekley has long been known as one of Texas’ biggest Oligarchs and the biggest spender in plenty of election cycles. Weekley is the person who began the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC, and it’s the bulk of where most of his money often goes.
Over the last few decades, Texans for Lawsuit Reform has been the number one driver in destroying consumer protections in Texas. You can learn more about some of the damage this long-standing and well-funded PAC has done in Texas here:
It should be noted that Tim Dunn and Richard Weekley have created warring factions within the GOP. The Weekley faction is pro-business, anti-worker, and the Dunn faction wants to control everyone’s life, regardless of business cost. We’ve seen these warring factions go at each other online and in the State House, and their little war is still playing out over the impeachment of Ken Paxton.
S. Javaid Anwar - Spent $5.5 million on the 2022 election.
S. Javaid Anwar is the CEO of Midland Energy, an oil and gas mogul. Anwar doesn’t believe in climate change and is bankrolling Texas Republicans to ensure they don’t stop oil companies from killing the planet or causing more cancer clusters around the state.
Over the last few years, as Ken Paxton sued the EPA and other climate protection organizations to remove pollution regulations in Texas, he was well-funded by Anwar and other oil company executives. Anwar’s motivation is to keep getting richer at the behest of the rest of the planet with fossil fuels, and he will fund any Republican he thinks will help make that happen.
H. Ross Perot JR - Spent $4 million on the 2022 election.
Ross Perot JR’s father, late billionaire presidential candidate Ross Perot SR, let his son borrow against his fortune to start his real estate empire. Now, he’s in the top Fortune 400 and owns over 70 million square feet of real estate.
The biggest recipient of Perot’s money in 2022 was Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC, with $2 million. Perot is a pro-business, anti-worker Republican who funds legislatures that will remove regulations, block raising the minimum wage, and block healthcare in Texas. Just like so many, Perot is focused on growing his wealth, much to the expense of the rest of the state.
Michael and Mary Porter - Spent $3.8 million on the 2022 election.
The Porters moved here from Arizona a few years ago and have tried to keep a low-profile, out of the public eye mostly. Mary’s maiden name was Mary Elizabeth Batten, and she was heiress to the Frank Batten fortune.
Frank Batten was one of the Weather Channel founders and had an estimated net worth of $3 billion when he died in 2009. His estate was split between his three children, Mary being one of them. There isn’t a lot of information on Michael Porter. It’s assumed he just married a wealthy woman.
Now, the Porters own several thousand acres in Doss, Texas, where they have a ranch and frequently hold private events with elected officials, as seen in the photos below. These pictures were taken at the Porter Ranch, and in attendance, you can see Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, John Cornyn, Dawn Buckingham, and others, all of which were recipients of their money.
It makes you wonder, what kind of political favors can you buy for $3.8 million?
Kenny Trout - Spent $3.6 million on the 2022 election.
Kenny Trout may be the only self-made billionaire on this list. He made his fortune in the 1990s and has become one of the most prominent Republican donors in Texas. You can find stories about him all over the internet about how he used to be dirt poor, and now he’s filthy rich. However, none of those stories will cover how he gives the GOP millions of dollars to ensure they keep millions of people without healthcare and access to resources.
Although Kenny Trout keeps a low profile, like many other billionaires, his political motivations are known based on the money he’s spent, including $2 million to Greg Abbott and $1 million to Texans for Lawsuit Reform.
John L. Nau III - Spent $3.4 million on the 2022 election.
John L. Nau III is the chairman and CEO of Silver Eagle Beverages, one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in the nation. Silver Eagle employs more than 1,400 people who serve sixteen counties in Texas through operations in Houston, San Antonio, and six other cities across the state.
Nau is widely known for his philanthropic activity, which directly conflicts with his political action. Nau funded dozens of Republicans who spent the last legislative session removing the rights of the LGBTQ community, communities of color, and workers.
Farris Wilks - Spent $3.4 million on the 2022 election.
Farris Wilks is the other half of “Deep in the Pockets of Texas” and the “Defend Liberty PAC.” Wilks is well-known to be a participant and believer in the Seven Mountains Mandate Dominionism.
Through his involvement in the Defend Liberty PAC, Wilks has provided substantial financial support to politicians who align with his conservative Christian worldview and advocate for policies that reflect his beliefs. By leveraging his wealth, Wilks has sought to exert influence over the political landscape and advance his agenda, shaping legislation and policies in alignment with his interpretation of religious principles.
Jeffery Hildebrand - Spent $3.4 million on the 2022 election.
Jeffery Hildebrand is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Hilcorp Energy Company—another oil mogul. According to Forbes, Hildebrand is worth $10.2 billion as of July 2023. This oil tycoon is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and the National Petroleum Council.
The oil industry has had so many negative impacts on Texas. Oil spills, leaks, and accidents have polluted water bodies, harmed ecosystems, and endangered wildlife. Oil and gas extraction through fracking has been linked to groundwater contamination and seismic activity. Additionally, burning fossil fuels contributes to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating climate change.
You probably noticed that many of the Oligarchs on this list are oil tycoons. And the millions they pour into Texas Republicans yearly is why the GOP is worsening climate change and refusing to act—money over human lives.
We still outnumber them.
While these ten oligarchs have more combined money than the other 30 million people in Texas, we outnumber them at the polls. Democrats outnumber Republicans in Texas, and when we finally show up to vote, we can send them all packing.
The vast amount of money they spend on Texas politics shows how far they are willing to go to control your life, force you into hardships, and make sure that Texans suffer at their expense. But we can’t let that continue. We must rise up, mobilize, and use our collective power to demand accountability and change.
We can support candidates who prioritize the well-being of all Texans, not just the interests of a wealthy few. By actively participating in the democratic process, engaging in grassroots organizing, and promoting transparency and campaign finance reform, we can challenge the undue influence of money in politics. Together, we can build a future where the needs and voices of all Texans are heard and valued and where the devastating impacts of corruption and inequality are replaced with justice, fairness, and a sustainable future for generations to come.