In December Texans for Public Justice reported that Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons had contributed $620,000 to Governor Rick Perry. TPJ’s publication Lobby Watch questioned how Perry’s appointees could objectively regulate Simmons’ nuclear ambitions. That question looms larger after Simmons gave Perry another $500,000 this in 2010. Having given him a total of $1,120,000, Simmons now ranks as the governor’s No. 2 individual donor.1
And now, Harold Simmons, is the largest benefactor for the new Railroad Commissioner, David Porter. According to the report filed yesterday with the Texas Ethics Commission, which covered the period from late October until the fundraising moratorium triggered by the 2011 legislative session, Porter’s largest single donation came from Harold Simmons, the owner of Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists, who delivered a check for $25,000 to Porter on Oct. 27. . . .and another check for $25,000 the same day. Simmons also made contributions to Porter in June to the tune of $10,000, according to Ethics Commission reports.
I think the giving levels of Harold Simmons warrant watching, especially given the fact that much of his business is regulated by state agencies, and his predilection for spending money late in the election cycle (such as a gift of half a million dollars to Texans for Lawsuit Reform- a notorious tort reform super-PAC), a trick employed by Karl Rove to escape campaign finance scrutiny until an election is looooong over.