Skip to main content

On the Records: Data Decisions

Some deep-pocketed trial lawyers didn't make the Twenty Who Gave Plenty list. Why not?

Lead image for this article

A reader this morning questioned the methodology in our story about the top 20 campaign donors in the last six months.

Why, for example, wasn't Dallas lawyer Lisa Blue-Baron -- who donated $570,000 during this period -- included in the list? Or why didn't Houston lawyer Steve Mostyn, who gave more than $100,000, make the cut? 

Good questions.

First, we only analyzed data on donations given directly to candidates. Blue-Baron, for example, gave almost all her money to the Texas Democratic Trust, which is a general purpose political committee -- not a member of the Legislature, or a governor, or someone seeking one of those offices. This methodology, of course, seems to favor Democrats. But consider that Bob Perry, who gave $1 million to candidates from July 1 to December 31, also donated $600,000 to general-purpose committees like Texans for Lawsuit Reform and the Fort Bend Republican Party.

The Mostyn question is more complicated. He donated $62,000 to candidates under his name (though campaigns spelled it "J.S. Mostyn", "John Steven Mostyn", "Steve Mostyn" and "John Mostyn," a fact that makes summing donation amounts by donor name more difficult. His law firm also gave at least $42,000 to candidates. But Mostyn and his firm are two separate entities, and it would be complicated and time-consuming to associate every donor with his or her business interest. (Remember, there were 50,000 donations to candidates during this period).

So that's why the list is limited. Thoughts?

Your New Year’s resolution list isn’t complete without …

Donate now