Did Koch Industries Bribe Cornyn As Texas AG?

An interesting Texas Monthly piece from way back in 2000 suggests that then Texas Attorney General John Cornyn went easy on the powerful Koch industries after they polluted Texas waters in return for their support for him during his 1998 campaign.

John Cornyn was a judge at the Texas Supreme Court from 1991 to 1997 and was elected Texas Attorney General in 1998. Prior to his stint at the Texas Supreme Court, Cornyn was a judge at the Texas 37th District Court.

According to the Texas Monthly piece, pipelines belonging to Wichita-based Koch Industries leaked oil products into the waters of Texas and several other states. The federal government went after Koch Industries for violations of the Clean Water Act and several states including Texas joined the lawsuit. Texas attorney General at that time was Dan Morales (Cornyn’s predecessor). AG Morales is famous for the major win he scored against the Tobacco industry that netted the Lone Star state a staggering $17.3 billion in fines from Big Tobacco.

It is against the backdrop of AG Morales’ win against Big Tobacco that Koch Industries backed John Cornyn’s candidacy for Texas AG–in essence to shield themselves from having to pay astronomical fines to the Lone Star state as Big Tobacco did. So you say, “OK @Emolclause you’re really grasping at straws here. Cut to the chase and explain how Koch Industries recruited Cornyn to avoid paying astronomical fines to the Lone Star state after polluting its waters.” Here it is in a nutshell.

As the Texas Monthly piece correctly points out, going after Big Tobacco, Big Oil etc in court usually involves very complex litigation that requires a battery of “cream of the crop” attorneys. Needless to say, such attorneys charge astronomical fees for their services–fees that most state elected officials(AGs) feel uncomfortable paying using taxpayer funds. What most states end up doing therefore (at least before AG Cornyn came along) is that they enter into agreements with these smart attorneys whereby the attorneys take on the complex litigation without any payment from the state in return for a share(percentage) of the fines they recoup from the offending company. In the case of Big Tobacco for example where Texas netted an astronomical $17.3 billion in fines, the attorneys in the case ended up getting paid a whopping $3.3 billion.

AG Morales attempted to duplicate his success against Big Tobacco in his fight against Koch Industries by using the same technique of a battery of smart attorneys not paid by the state. Koch Industries backed Cornyn’s campaign for Texas AG in 1998, donating $5000 to his campaign. Cornyn went on to win the election in 1998 and when he became AG, immediately began fighting the practice of using “outside” lawyers for complex litigation like the one the state was pursuing against Koch Industries. Cornyn wanted only state attorneys(from the AG’s office) to handle the complex litigation against Koch Industries and others–an obvious legal advantage to the big companies. He used the straw argument that the staggering $3.3 billion paid to attorneys in the Big Tobacco case should have ended up in the state’s coffers instead.

What ended up happening is that the high-powered attorneys AG Morales had lined up to go to trial against Koch Industries left and the Lone Star state was forced to accept a paltry $35 million settlement from Koch, a settlement that deeply angered environmentalists. Most experts agree that had Cornyn allowed Morales’ attorneys to take Koch to trial, they were looking at a possible $225 million or more in fines. Obviously some of the $225 million would have gone to pay the attorneys’ fees but the Lone Star state would still have ended up with more than the paltry $35 million “slap on the wrist” settlement Cornyn got. Therefore Koch essentially backed Cornyn as AG in order to save themselves from paying astronomical fines to the state for polluting its waters. Sad indeed!!

Cornyn when confronted about this “slap on the wrist” settlement against Koch industries reportedly answered that it was “pretty darned good for a Republican.” In other words he did not aggressively pursue Koch Industries as much as he should because they traditionally supported Republicans.

Even more troubling is the fact that Cornyn assailed his GOP primary opponent in the Texas AG race for engaging in the exact similar conduct he was now excusing–taking money(contributions) from a company the Texas AG’s office was pursuing in court. This means Cornyn knew what he was doing was unethical but did it anyway.

It also cannot be left unsaid that the Texas Monthly piece accused John Cornyn of “playing politics with the law at the expense of the public interest.”  This is especially instructive now that he is running for reelection in 2020. Hopefully his Dem challengers will dig into this excellent Texas Monthly piece to dig up other troubling aspects of John Cornyn’s political career

Bottom line, Texas has always been assumed to be a reliably “red state” by much of the national mainstream media and indeed by some establishment Democrats. Yours Truly challenged this notion back when nobody thought Beto O’Rourke had any chance against Ted Cruz and we saw what happened. The same needs to happen with John Cornyn, whose long record both in Texas politics and as U.S. Senator provides ample oppo-research fodder for his prospective Dem challenger. Yours Truly will certainly do his part to expose John Cornyn for the corrupt politician he has always been, beginning with this shady deal he did for Koch Industries against the best interests of the Lone Star state.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out.

You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

House GOP Members Support Break From NATO

In case you missed it, on 1/22/2019 the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 676, the NATO Support Act, which essentially affirms that the U.S. stands with and will remain in NATO. The NATO Support Act was of course necessitated by reports in the media that Trump had mentioned to aides he may be open to pulling the U.S. out of NATO. U.S. withdrawal from NATO would of course be the best news ever for Russian President Vladimir Putin who has been scheming for decades for such an eventuality.

As expected, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to stay in NATO. The final vote tally was 357 Yeas(208 Dems & 149 GOP) and 22 Nays with 54 not voting. The 22 Nays were all Republicans–essentially saying that they would back Trump were he to pull the U.S. out of NATO, giving Putin his ultimate prize.

Prior to the Trump presidency, no member of Congress would even consider pulling the U.S. out of NATO. Because this is such a shocking development, it deserves a HANDY LIST

Here’s a HANDY LIST of the 22 shameful Republican Members of Congress who would support Trump were he to pull the U.S. out of NATO, handing Vladimir Putin his biggest geopolitical achievement.

Bottom line as Americans are increasingly concerned about Russian encroachment into U.S. politics, shocking votes like the one on HR 676 must not be taken lightly. The mainstream media would do the public a great service if they confronted these 22 Republicans about their reasoning behind wanting to pull the U.S. out of NATO.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out. 

[ninja_forms id=1]

GOP Senators Stalling On The Secure Elections Act


Yahoo News today reported that at the request of the White House(read Trump), GOP members of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee that overseas federal elections today stalled a bill–Secure Elections Act–that enjoys bipartisan support and would have significantly shored up election system defenses against the threat of Russian hacking in the  midterms and beyond. Listed below are the shameful GOP Senators in the Rules Committee who don’t want to secure our voting machines. Notice the list includes two of the most despised U.S. Senators–Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell–truly deplorable!!

There is no valid explanation as to why any member of Congress would be opposed to a bill that seeks to protect our election systems from the threat of Russian hacking. It is very clear as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated that the GOP is banking on Russian hacking in the 2018 midterms.


The reason given by Trump’s White House, that this bill is redundant because DHS is already capable of performing what the bill proposes is also unavailing. Just the other day MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow had a segment where a cyber security expert blamed DHS for leaving local county election officials to defend themselves against Russian hacking. If DHS is already capable of defending our election systems why are they letting the counties do it on their own?

Bottom line Dems and the mainstream media need to keep their eyes on Trump’s GOP as regards Russian interference. Folks if they know we are watching their every move, maybe just maybe they may get deterred. Under no circumstances however should Dems trust assurances from Kirstjen Nielsen’s DHS or the Trump White House regarding their efforts to secure our vote.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out




Mueller Warns That Russia Still Interfering With U.S. Elections

Special Counsel Robert Mueller

In a troubling Bloomberg piece, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller  says the same Russians who interfered with the 2016 U.S. elections are busy trying to interfere with the upcoming midterms 2018. TeamMueller reportedly made this argument in a court filing trying to get a protective order on certain evidence they’ve collected related to TrumpRussia investigation. The lawyers for one of the companies Mueller has indicted in the TrumpRussia investigation, Concord Management, has requested the judge to release the evidence Mueller has against their client–a standard/routine criminal defense procedure


Team Mueller is arguing that releasing such evidence while TrumpRussia investigation is still ongoing will not only weaken their investigation into other players, but could also give Russian intelligence agencies an advantage which they can use to attack midterms 2018 and beyond. Whether TeamMueller’s legal arguments will prevail  in court remains to be seen but the important takeaway for Democrats/DNC is that Mueller’s worries are yet another reminder to Dems not to be complacent over election security issues. Grassroots Democrats, including Yours Truly have been screaming for stronger action by Dems on election security issues, especially as it relates to unverifiable voting machines

There are encouraging signs that Congressional Dems are beginning to listen to the election security cries of grassroots Dems as evidenced by the recent introduction of “PAVE”(Protecting American Votes & Elections) Act by Dem Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore, Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass

While this is clearly very encouraging news, Dems must not stop there. Dems must not only scrutinize voting machines but also look deeper into this so-called “Trump phenomenon” where Trump supposedly favors an underdog candidate in a GOP Primary and all of a sudden they become the favorite, as was the case in South Carolina with Rep Mark Sanford’s loss. Think about that folks–if the fear is that Russians interfered in 2016 and they are still interfering today, why is it such a giant leap of faith to assume that the so-called “Trump Phenomenon” is not a phenomenon at all? Are these primary wins verifiable? If not, will the 2018 midterm results be verifiable–auditable paper trail? These are the type of questions Democrats/DNC need to start asking and asking forcefully as we approach midterms 2018 and beyond. It is not a crime to pester the GOP Secretaries of State with these kinds of questions 

Grassroots Democrats are extremely excited about Dem chances in midterms 2018. It will be sad if after all that we end up with very questionable election results which nobody can verify all because the election security/voting machine questions that needed to be asked were never asked by the right people–Democratic Party establishment/DNC/Media–especially where, as here, grassroots Dems have been screaming about voting machine security all along.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out




How Koch Brothers Paid Gov Abbott To Pollute Texas

Few people know this fact but in 2001 Koch Petroleum Group pled guilty to covering up environmental violations at one of their refineries in Corpus Christi Texas–essentially admitting that they knowingly polluted the Texas atmosphere and then lied about it.

Since then the Koch Brothers have embarked on a rigorous campaign not to bring their industries into compliance, but to do away with environmental protections altogether. To that effect they have enlisted the services of Texas Republicans to peel away environmental protections that were put in place for the public’s safety. You would think any sane Texan would advocate for a cleaner environment and urge Koch industries to strive for better emission standards. Well, not the Texas GOP. In the same way the Texas GOP has backed the Koch Brothers/ALEC mission to do away with Medicare/Medicaid under the guise of “Balanced Budget”, they are also helping them pollute the Texas environment under the guise of “deregulation”.



What the Texas Republicans fail to tell their supporters is why the regulations were enacted in the first place, the obvious answer being for public safety. Take for instance the deadly explosion that happened at Texas’ West Fertilizer Company in 2013 that killed 15 people and wounded 226 others. After a federal investigation, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board concluded that the explosion was caused by the Ammonium Nitrate the company had on storage. The Chemical Safety Board added that the incident at West Fertilizer was a result of violations by the company, chief among them its failure to disclose to local authorities and the public that the chemicals they had on storage created a massive fire hazard. The Chemical Safety Board suggested that Texas do better on chemical disclosure to avert another chemical disaster.

However, a few months after the West disaster the Koch family sent then Texas AG Greg Abbott “donations” for his Texas Gubernatorial bid and just like that all the chemical disclosure reforms that were suggested by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board went out the window. Instead Greg Abbott started touting the ridiculous idea that requiring chemical companies to disclose what they had on storage would make it easier for terrorists to strike. Think about that folks, after the Koch family gave money to Greg Abbott he totally abandoned the public’s safety concerns, even after 15 people had been killed and 226 others wounded. In essence Koch Brothers paid Abbott to allow chemical companies to hide dangerous chemicals from the public, even though they knew 15 people had just died as a result of such failure to disclose.

Fast forward to 2017 and a similar chemical disaster happens, this time at the Archema Chemical Plant in Crosby, Texas after Hurricane Harvey. Turns out Archema much like West Fertilizer, failed to disclose that it was storing large amounts of Sulphur Dioxide, contrary to what U.S. Chemical Safety Board had suggested after the 2013 West disaster but in keeping with Gov Greg Abbotts directive that they didn’t have to disclose because of fear of terrorism. I mean this was a classic case of Gov Abbott’s policies putting people’s lives in danger.

Strangely, nobody has ever held Governor Abbott to account over his deadly and inexplicable policy towards chemical disclosure and whether donations from  the Koch family influenced his strange policy. The hapless Mainstream Media, with the exception of the wonderful Kiah Collier, lets Gov Abbott get away with this dangerous policy that will undoubtedly lead to further Texas deaths.

Think about that folks, because of the Koch Brothers, Gov Abbott will not allow Texans to know what dangerous chemicals are stored near their neighborhoods, their children’s schools, etc. A Texan for example would like to know whether there are toxic materials stored in an area before say purchasing a home in that area. Texans are denied all this because Koch Brothers tells Gov Abbott not to allow it. But not to worry folks, Yours Truly will make sure Gov Abbott’s DEADLY CHEMICAL POLICY GOES AWAY, whether the Koch Brothers like it or not

Bottom line Dems must expose how Governor Abbott and other Texas Republicans have sacrificed the public’s safety for the enrichment of their Super Donor Koch Brothers. 

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause‘s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out