Mostyn's millions mauled

The SE Texas Record Nov. 6, 2010, 5:18am

Early in September we editorialized about the full-page newspaper ads running statewide that labeled Gov. Rick Perry a coward for refusing to debate his Democratic opponent, former Houston Mayor Bill White.

We noted that the ads were paid by a front group for Houston attorney Steve "Moldy Millions" Mostyn, the incoming president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.

Not content with the millions he made in mold-related lawsuits and angling to make a few million more in hurricane litigation, Mostyn naturally favored fellow trial lawyer Bill White -- who might be willing to try to reverse the legal reforms that have hampered his recent get-rich-quick trial schemes.

Confident that Perry could "count on fair-minded Texans to rally to his side," we supported our governor who "stood up courageously against the business-bashing barratry of trial lawyers" and predicted that "Mostyn's cowardly attack is bound to backfire."

And so it did, spectacularly.

Trial lawyers of Mostyn's ilk spent more than $13 million on behalf of Democratic candidates. Mostyn alone chipped in almost $6 million.

According to Texans for Lawsuit Reform, 92 percent of the funding from the Texas Democratic Party came from the Texas Democratic Trust, a trial lawyer PAC.

Nevertheless, Republican incumbents Gov. Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and three state Supreme Court justices coasted to reelection.

We're glad to see men like Mostyn giving back to the community by sharing their millions with Texas media companies, our print shops, outdoor sign companies, newspapers, radio and television stations, phone banks, etc. And we hope they'll continue to do so in the future, with similar results.

But we have to question the wisdom of Texas Democrats who pander to this small, wealthy lobby. Granted, they've cornered the market on trial lawyer support, but it clearly didn't translate into success at the ballot box.

Maybe it's time for the Democrats to try appealing to a broader constituency who have votes rather than stacks of special interest money.

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