Texas anti-abortion group tacks to the right, dividing state Republicans

July 26, 2018

Texas Right to Life’s political action committee raised $2.5 million so far this year, up from $500,000 in 2016. Nearly $2 million of the total came from Dan and Farris Wilks, west Texas fracking billionaires who also bankrolled the campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz, as well as other Texas PACs such as Empower Texans and the Texas Home School Coalition that back tea party conservatives in the Texas legislature.

Texas voters offer a triumph of the moderates [Editorial]

June 04, 2018

Exhibit A for this trend could be what happened in March here in the Houston area, where incumbent state Rep. Sarah Davis was targeted for defeat by Gov. Greg Abbott and Empower Texans, a dark money fueled fountain of disinformation and dirty politics run by a man whose nickname is “mucus.” Even though the governor took the unusual and ill-advised move of campaigning against GOP lawmakers who refused to march in lockstep with his agenda, Davis easily won her primary. Indeed, two out of the three Republican incumbents Abbott campaigned against cruised to victory despite his opposition.

Is the Texas House conservative enough? This lawmaker spent $300K to push it right

June 01, 2018

Empower Texans (which is largely funded by oilmen such as Tim Dunn from Midland and the Wilks Brothers from Cisco) and GOP House members such as Stickland invested in this year's primary races and believe they saw some positive results.

...Stickland waded into the battle this year, using around $300,000 in campaign money to help nearly two dozen conservative political newcomers, hoping to grow the Freedom Caucus in the House.

Meet Farris Wilks, Kingmaker of the Texas GOP

May 15, 2018

Along with his brother, Dan, Farris is among Texas’ top GOP kingmakers. Since July, the two have donated around $3.5 million to Texas Republican campaigns and groups, including $1.9 million to the PAC affiliated with Texas Right to Life, an absolutist anti-abortion group, and $1.25 million to Empower Texans, the militantly conservative enforcement unit funded by Midland oilman Tim Dunn. 

On Stickland, Empower Texans' role in Euless, Colleyville campaigns

May 01, 2018

"Local government should be local, not owned by some West Texas oilmen."

PAID FOR BY EMPOWER TEXANS: ADS FROM POLITICAL GROUP TARGET BROWNWOOD VOTERS

May 01, 2018

Empower Texans may say they work to empower Texas’ voters with information, however one has to wonder how much power is handed to the group’s main financial contributors: billionaire Midland oil man Tim Dunn, and billionaire fracking industry brothers Dan and Farris Wilks of Cisco.

Beilue: Public connects dots on Empower Texans - now what?

March 08, 2018

“The issue were the lying men in Cisco, Texas (Wilks brothers) and Midland, Texas (Dunn) that are putting out all these negative pieces,” Geren said. “And Michael Quinn Sullivan is a liar — a damn liar.”

Look to Panhandle conservatives to defy Texas' shift to the far right

February 27, 2018

For voting their districts — for voting against school vouchers and Austin mandates that do little to lower local school property taxes — Panhandle lawmakers have been targeted by outside groups that recruit and fund primary opponents.

Groups like Empower Texans call themselves conservative; however, the lexical root of the term proves to be "con." Empower isn't interested in conserving much of anything, especially rural places and interests.

These Texas House Republicans were once backed by two prominent conservative groups. Now, they're targets.

February 27, 2018

"Their agenda seems to be to elect candidates with which they can control," (Rep. Wayne Faircloth) told the Tribune, speaking of Empower Texans. "I’m not one of those guys. What would Texas have to look like to satisfy them?"

Texans, don't let campaign money skew your vision when you go to the polls

February 28, 2018

We're concerned that the recommended policies and rhetorical message of Empower Texans will come at the expense of losing the competitive business edge that has kept our state's economic machine humming.

How those political 'scorecards' in your mailbox don't really add up

February 24, 2018

Since 2015, Houston-based Texas Right to Life has worked openly with Empower Texas, the West Texas oilmen's mad-money machine behind the Freedom Caucus.

The group now has enough money to attack anyone. Even the Catholic bishops.

Beilue: Texas may be facing tipping point in state politics

March 03, 2018

Empower Texans, a small cadre of heavy donors, already have Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton and the emptiest of suits, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, in their pocket. They control much of the 20 Republicans in the 31-seat Senate and are honing on the last remaining obstacles — open-minded pragmatic Republicans in the House.

Commentary: Radical Republicans are trying to push Texas further right

March 01, 2018

If these extremists have their way, rich Texans will get richer and poor Texans will get poorer. Public school teachers and school children will suffer, as will the state’s business climate. Moderate Republicans will have to bow to the extremists or face its well-financed wrath.

Fracking billionaires pump millions into Texas races, pushing state GOP even further to the right

February 22, 2018

Through Jan. 25, the Wilkses and their main PACs — Empower Texans, Texas Right to Life and Texas Home School Coalition — had plowed nearly $2.7 million into state races, mostly GOP legislative campaigns, according to a Dallas Morning News analysis of campaign-finance reports to the Texas Ethics Commission.

Biedermann ‘reports to Empower Texans,’ foe says

February 21, 2023

Since January 2015, Biedermann has raised about $121,342 from Empower Texans alone — more than half of the $218,607 he raised from all entities that contributed to him.

Michael Quinn Sullivan’s Latest Stunt Aims to Undermine our Democracy

February 21, 2018

Because of their dark money, groups like Empower Texans thrive in the shadows of secrecy and misinformation, using the same kind of loopholes that allowed Russian spies to try to manipulate voters in the 2016 elections. 

Prosecutors reviewing complaint against Empower Texans over attack ad resembling government notice

February 21, 2018

Legit advertisement or dirty campaign trick? That's the question for Travis County prosecutors who are reviewing a criminal complaint against the influential conservative group Empower Texans. At issue: A mailer that looks like an official government notice targeting their top bête noire, state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth.

Beilue: Empower Texans — It’s like a season of ‘House of Cards’

February 17, 2018

Welcome to the political world of Empower Texans, which bills itself in flowery prose as a “nonprofit organization focused on promoting free-market principles in Texas.” It sounds like a political version of the Boy Scouts, except it’s anything but.

It’s a well-funded, far-right enforcement group that wants centralized power in Austin that it can control, and if they have to spread lies and distortions all over the state, well, that’s just the price of doing business.

Texas Republicans Escalate Their War—on Each Other

February 16, 2018

The closer we get to the March 6 primary election, the more we should expect to see the conflict between centrist Republicans and far-right conservatives grow more intense. Already the intra-party struggles are increasing.

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All campaign finance data sourced from candidate and PAC filings with the Texas Ethics Commission.

This website was inspired by recent reporting on this subject and was made by concerned Texans. 

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