Will TLR’s Big Donors Bankroll Karl Rove’s anti-Conservative Smear Campaign?

As noted by Erick Erickson here at RedState and by a number of other media outlets, Karl Rove has decided he wants to play kingmaker in Republican primaries across America. Rove’s plan to bankroll smear campaigns against candidates backed by Tea Party groups and other grassroots conservatives is hardly a surprise- the only surprise is that Boss Rove is so brazen and open in his zest to control the outcome of Republican primaries.

While Rove may be the puppet master in this nefarious scheme, his enablers are the big-money establishment donors who are concerned only with their personal financial interests and have no desire to advance ideological conservatism or limited government public policy. While we won’t know for sure who is funding Rove’s newest effort for some time, one can reasonably assume that many of the major donors to his American Crossroads SuperPAC have committed to funding these efforts that will attempt to marginalize the grassroots.

Here in the Lone Star State, many of Rove’s biggest donors (and some his of more modest donors, too) have long track records of providing financial assistance to groups that undermine the hard work of grassroots conservative activists. The most glaring example of this is the tremendous overlap in donors to American Crossroads and to the special interest PAC Texans For Lawsuit Reform (TLR).

No group better exemplifies the political establishment in Texas better than TLR. It is no coincidence that the two biggest donors to American Crossroads nationally, nuclear waste magnate Harold Simmons and homebuilder Bob Perry, are also the two biggest donors to TLR. Some of the other major donors to American Crossroads from Texas include Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, businessman Robert Rowling, oilman Trevor Rees-Jones, former Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane, Dallas billionaire Kenny Troutt, beer distributor John Nau, and real estate mogul Harlan Crow. All of them have also given big to Texans For Lawsuit Reform.

These Texas mega-donors also have something else in common- they all contributed to efforts to support David Dewhurst against Ted Cruz in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. In fact, Bob Perry and Harold Simmons (the two biggest donors to both American Crossroads and to TLR) were also the two biggest donors to the so-called “Texas Conservatives Fund” SuperPAC that ran televisions ads blaming Ted Cruz for the suicide of a young man and accused him of aiding the Chinese government.

The political establishment and their henchman, Boss Rove, are scared to death about the threat that an energized and organized grassroots base poses to their power. Based on the ads that the American Crossroads and TLR mega-donors from Texas paid for to smear Ted Cruz, it is obvious they are willing to stoop to any lows they deem necessary in order to win.

These anti-Conservative attacks are also par for the course for TLR, which has donated over $3 million to Democratic candidates and officeholders in Texas in recent years. In a recent special election for a State Senate seat that included two Republican candidates, TLR Chairman Dick Weekley contributed $2,500 to Democratic candidate Carol Alvarado. TLR’s President, Dick Trabulsi, is a longtime Democratic activist and fundraiser. All told, three dozen Texas donors to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads have also contributed to Texans For Lawsuit Reform (see chart below for more details).

Conservatives across America should continue to fight back against this attempted power grab by Karl Rove and the political elite and strongly scrutinize candidates supported by his SuperPAC. Texas conservatives would be wise to give this same scrutiny to establishment front groups like Texans For Lawsuit Reform and their favored candidates that are funded by the same mega-donors that are making Boss Rove’s efforts possible.


Contributor Name Amount to TLR Amount to American Crossroads
Bancroft, Christopher $1,000.00 $25,000.00
Barineau, John $1,000.00 $1,325.00
Bass, Lee $125,000.00 $250,000.00
Box, Bernay $1,000.00 $1,000.00
Bridwell, Tucker $10,000.00 $27,500.00
Crow, Harlan* $939,246.70 $1,750,000.00
Finley, Daniel $500.00 $3,000.00
Foster, Paul $50,000.00 $100,000.00
Frank, E H $5,000.00 $250.00
Griffy, Tim $250.00 $2,000.00
Grimes, Windi $40,500.00 $5,000.00
Harte, Houston** $25,000.00 $1,000.00
Hiles, Marcus $15,000.00 $505,000.00
Hill, Al G. Jr. $25,000.00 $600,000.00
Holsenbeck, Howard $6,550.00 $1,250.00
Kelso, Robert $50,350.00 $200,000.00
Matthews, J.J. $40,000.00 $500,000.00
McIntyre, William $500.00 $45,000.00
McLane, Drayton $125,000.00 $250,000.00
McNair, Robert $2,375,000.00 $1,000,000.00
MISCHER, WALT*** $76,000.00 $25,000.00
MOSSY, WILEY $15,500.00 $5,000.00
Nau, John L. $185,000.00 $100,000.00
Ogilvie, Staman $10,000.00 $15,000.00
Perry, Bob J. $2,831,000.00 $15,500,000.00
Pickens, T. Boone $1,287,000.00 $1,000,000.00
Rees-Jones, Trevor $500,000.00 $1,000,000.00
Rowling, Robert***** $125,000.00 $10,841,880.00
Rund, Norman $250.00 $50.00
Simmons, Harold****** $2,400,000.00 $25,500,000.00
Simon, Jerome $5,000.00 $1,500.00
Speights, James $200.00 $1,000.00
Stai, Dian Graves $55,500.00 $67,500.00
Stedman, Stuart $35,616.37 $75,000.00
Troutt, Kenny $35,000.00 $500,000.00
*Crow’s gifts to American Crossroads were under the names “HARLAN R. CROW FAMILY BRANCH PARTNERSHIP” and “CROW HOLDINGS L.L.C. – DISTRIBUTION”
**Harte’s gift to TLR was under the name “Harte, Houston & Carolyn”
***Mischer’s gifts to TLR were under his own name and that of “Mischer Investments L.P.”
****North Cypress’s gift to TLR was listed under the name “North Cypress Medical Center Operating Co. Ltd (not a corporation)”
*****Several of Rowling’s gifts to American Crossroads were in the name of the company “TRT Holdings Inc.”
******Two of Simmons’ gifts to American Crossroads were in the name of the companies “Southwest Louisiana Land LLC” and “Dixie Rice Agricultural Corporation”; three others were from “Contran Corporation”