A half-dozen members, past and present, of the Texas congressional delegation are in the million-dollar-club.In incomplete returns (the Federal Election Commission doesn't have everyone's year-end report online yet), these Texans had at least $1 million cash in their political accounts at the end of the year: U.S. Reps. Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio, $2.1 million; Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, $1.8 million; Joe Barton, R-Ennis, $1.7 million; Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas, $1.1 million; Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, $1.1 million; and former U.S. Rep. Jim Turner, D-Crockett, $1 million.
• U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, got to the end of the year with $293,833 on hand. One opponent in the Democratic primary, Ciro Rodriguez, had $43,070 in the bank. The other, Victor Morales, had $11,126.
• Two Republicans want to challenge U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, in November. Van Taylor had $628,698 on hand at year end; Tucker Anderson had $66,391.
• It didn't show up in his report, but the Texas Club for Growth did a $12,000 poll for former state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, in late November. They said in their report that it was an in-kind contribution and that he wasn't a candidate at the time. He wants his seat back from Rep. Roy Blake Jr., R-Nacogdoches, who won it while Christian was trying for a spot in Congress. The Club listed only three contributors in the second half of 2005: James or Cecilia Leininger (the "or" is listed in the report), $13,000; and $7,500 each from Al Hartman Partnership LLP of Houston and Michael Boylan of Houston, both of whom listed their occupations as real estate. James Cardle, the treasurer, was paid $10,000 for four months of consulting. The group listed a $3,000 expenditure for website design, but we couldn't locate a website for them. Cardle says it's still under construction.
• Here's another new-ish group with an influx of money to spend. The Texas Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, formed last year, got $50,000 from Dr. James Leininger and $100 from John Norwood of Midland. Those were their only revenues. The group had two big expenses: They paid $20,000 to Anthem Media of Austin and $15,000 to Keep Texas Strong of Georgetown. Both expenses were for consulting. Anthem is a GOP consulting firm headed by former Midland County Judge Jeff Norwood. The Texas Ethics Commission hasn't posted any reports from Keep Texas Strong on its website, if in fact it has any. The group's post office box in Georgetown is also listed as the box for Williamson County Clerk Nancy Rister's campaign and for Ace Research (listed in other reports as A.C.E. Research and Technology), a firm headed by Milton Rister, her husband. He's the new head of the Texas Legislative Council and is presumably out of the political consulting business. Ace was active less than a month ago, though; Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC paid them $2,750 for consulting on January 6.