Texas trial lawyers surpassed their 2008 benchmark for campaign spending, shelling out $13.6 million so far in 2010, with famed Houston hurricane attorney Steve Mostyn providing almost half the cash.

Mostyn, the incoming president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, has spent $5.9 million, according to an Oct. 22 press release from Texans for Lawsuit Reform.

Mostyn was the lead attorney on the recent Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Hurricane Ike settlement, which reportedly netted over $75 million in attorney fees. At the request of Mostyn, Judge Susan Criss, 212th District Court, sealed the award on Oct. 11, so exact figures are not known.

"As has now become the norm, the majority of trial lawyer contributions are funded through deceptively named groups that mask the source of the contribution on candidate reports," said TLR spokeswoman Sherry Sylvester in the press release.

"Personal injury trial lawyers have anted up more this election cycle than any other business or industry to elect candidates who will work to overthrow the lawsuit reforms – the very reforms that have bolstered the Texas economy in these tough times and increased access to health care throughout the state."

Mostyn also founded Back to Basics, spending more than $3 million so far to run attack ads against Governor Rick Perry and state house candidates who do not support the trial lawyer agenda, the press release states.

"Texans for Insurance Reform, which has nothing to do with insurance or reform, has reported $1.3 million in contributions, 99 percent of which came from personal injury trial attorneys. TIR supports candidates who push the trial lawyer agenda," Sylvester said.

"Trial lawyers also provide the major funding for the Texas Democratic Party. So far this cycle, 92 percent of the funding from the Texas Democratic Party has come from the Texas Democratic Trust a trial lawyer PAC founded by the late Fred Baron, an asbestos lawyer."

In addition to Mostyn and Baron, the top five trial lawyer contributors include John Eddie Williams, Nix Patterson & Roach and Provost Umphrey – three firms that were part of the 1998 $3.3 billion tobacco fee awarded by former attorney general and later convicted felon Dan Morales, the press release states.

Williams, Umphrey and Nix have been among the top Texas political contributors since that settlement.

Other trial lawyer groups that funnel money to Texas campaigns include the Coalition of Harris County Democratic Elected Officials, Texas Progress Council PAC, Texas Values in Action Coalition PAC, Lone Star Project PAC, Texas Forward Committee, Texans for Public Education, Turn Texas Blue and the Valley Political Action Committee, according to the press release.

"Personal injury trial lawyers represent only a tiny sliver of the legal community and an even smaller segment of Texas businesses and professionals," Sylvester said. "By contrast, TLR is the state's largest civil justice reform organization."

TLR is a bipartisan, volunteer-led coalition with more than 17,000 supporters residing in 869 Texas communities and representing 1,266 different businesses, professions and trades.

2010 Election Cycle*

Total Trial Lawyer Contributions: $13, 513,395


  • Texas Democratic Trust
    Total Contributions: $4,599,551
    Total Trial Lawyer Contributions: $3,297,500
    Trial Lawyer Contributions Percentage: 71%

  • Back to Basics PAC
    Total Contributions: $3,238,177
    Trial Lawyer Contributions: $3,076,365
    Trial Lawyer Contributions Percentage: 99%

  • Texas Trial Lawyer Association PAC
    Total Contributions: $1,351,395
    Total Trial Lawyer Contributions: $1,351,395
    Trial Lawyer Contribution Percentage 100%

  • Texans for Insurance Reform PAC
    Total Contributions: $1,309,400
    Total Trial Lawyer Contributions: $1,296,550
    Trial Lawyer Contributions Percentage: 99%

  • Coalition of Harris County Democratic Elected Officials
    Total Contributions: $451,300
    Trial Lawyer Contributions: $406,170
    Trial Lawyer Contributions Percentage: 90%

  • Texas Progress Council PAC
    Total Contributions: $285,502
    Texas Progress Council PAC's only source of funding is the Texas Democratic Trust
    Trial Lawyer Contributions Percentage: 71%

  • Texas Values in Action Coalition
    Total Contributions: $262,269
    Total Trial Lawyer Contributions: $135,800
    Trial Lawyer Contributions Percentage: 52%

  • Lone Star Project
    Total Contributions: $231, 757
    Total Trial Lawyer Contributions: $31,405
    Trial Lawyer Contributions Percentage: 11%

  • Texas Forward Committee
    Total Contributions: $110,300
    Total Trial Lawyer Contributions: $100,000
    Trial Lawyer Contribution Percentage: 90%

  • Texans for Public Education
    Total Contributions: $100,230
    Total Trial Lawyer Contributions: $100,000
    Trial Lawyer Contribution Percentage: 99.9%

  • Turn Texas Blue
    Total Contributions: $100,730
    Total Trial Lawyer Contributions: $75,000
    Trial Lawyer Contribution Percentage: 74%

  • Valley Political Action Committee
    Total Contributions: $75,580
    Total Trial Lawyer Contributions: $75,000
    Trial Lawyer Contribution Percentage: 99%

    Trial Lawyer Contributors to Partisan Groups in the 2010 Election Cycle

  • Texas Democratic Party
    Total Contributions: $776,905
    Texas Democratic Trust Percentage: 92%

  • House Democratic Campaign Committee
    Total Contributions: $1,527,219
    Trial Lawyer Contributions: $717,792
    Trial Lawyer Percentage: 49%

    MAJOR TRIAL LAWYER CONTRIBUTORS

    Steve & Amber Mostyn (The Mostyn Law Firm) – $5,918,253

    Lisa Blue Baron - $1,243,036

    John Eddie Williams (Williams Kherkher) – $1,089,499.

    Nix, Roach, Patterson LLP – $957,295

    Provost Umphrey – $920,690

    Baron & Budd – $348,274

    Waters & Kraus – $335,545

    Mark Lanier – $183,943

    Richard Mithoff – $176,263

    Heard, Robins, Cloud & Lubel LLP – $173,300

    Law Offices of Frank Branson – $163,109

    Joe Jamail – $146,000

    Mikal Watts – $142,700

    Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels & Agosto – $139,945

    Simon, Eddins & Greenstone – $87,650

    Hagans, Burdine, Montgomery & Rustay PC – $71,810

    Reaud, Morgan & Quinn – $60,068

    Jose, Henry, Brantley, MacLean & Alvarado – $43,096

    Deluca & Nemeroff LLP – $36,715

    Sommerman & Quesada – $32,720

    Mary Alice McLarty – $28,731

    Marc Rosenthal (Rosenthal Watkins PC) – $24,650

    *Includes all contributions up to 30-Day Report plus contributions to the Democratic Governor's Association.

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