Texas

Energy companies, gambling firms, road builders among the underwriters of the inaugural Abbott-Patrick party

Austin. Large donors sent their checks. Many came in person.

Wealthy campaigners and even corporations – the latter of which took a rare opportunity to donate directly to a state politician – supported the inaugurations of Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday.

The 81 donors listed in the first program alone contributed nearly $3.73 million towards the costs of Tuesday’s celebration.

It included a swearing-in ceremony, a Taste of Texas food extravaganza on the Capitol grounds, and a three-band dance and concert at the PBS Moody Theater. Austin City Limits recorded, late Tuesday evening.

While Dallas Morning News requested a list of members from the 2023 Texas Foundation Committee, but nothing has been received.

According to the program, Diamond Sponsors who donated $100,000 and received six tickets to the Monday Night Inaugural Dinner and eight tickets to a separate Tuesday Night VIP Party at the chic Four Seasons Hotel Austin included

  • Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, whose chief executive Kelsey Warren is one of Abbott’s mega-donors.
  • AT&T from Dallas
  • Dallas-based Ryan LLC, a global tax services firm led by J. Brint Ryan.
  • The three gambling games are Sands, Landry’s, and the IGT slot machine company.
  • San Antonio-based grocery store chain HEB opens stores in North Texas.
  • Four firms associated with road or railroad construction—Cintra, Colorado Materials Ltd., Williams Brothers Construction, and TGS—along with Associated General Contractors of Texas.
  • Other energy moguls and companies such as co-owner Walter Oil & Gas Co. Carol Walter Look of Houston and Devon Energy of Oklahoma City, and the Texas Oil and Gas Association.

This year, proponents of expanding gambling hope to finally break through and benefit from the legislature and the legalization of Abbott casinos and sports betting. This will require a constitutional amendment approved by the voters, probably in elections this fall.

Penn Entertainment, which has interests in regional casinos and resorts as well as sports betting, donated $50,000 to the Texas Inaugural Committee in 2023. PrizePicks, which offers daily fantasy sports competitions, donated $25,000.

Corporations are generally prohibited from donating to candidates in Texas, but the first fundraiser is not subject to the state’s campaign finance code.

Gold sponsors (who donated $50,000 and received six tickets to an exclusive Four Seasons event) and silver sponsors ($25,000 and four tickets) included medical and insurance providers, banks, utilities such as Vistra and Oncor, defense contractors , technology companies, wine companies. and beer interests, car dealers, title company owners, and physicians.

North Texas residents in the gold category were Tara and Cody Campbell of Fort Worth. He and co-founder John Sellers sold their DoublePoint Energy of Midland company to Pioneer Natural Resources (which also made $50,000) last year for $6.4 billion, according to Forbes.

The Silver Cohort included Dallas residents Fallon and Roby Vaughn—Robi Vaughn runs a private equity firm and ran an oil company—and textile manufacturer and cotton merchant Arun Agarwal, who is president of the Dallas Parks and Recreation Board.

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