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The Brief: July 19, 2010

It seems that business and politics may not mix well for gubernatorial candidate Bill White.

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THE BIG CONVERSATION:

It seems that business and politics may not mix well for gubernatorial candidate Bill White.

The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday that White profited from an investment in a failing oil company.

White told the Morning News he had made a $1.1 million profit off an investment in Frontera Resources, an oil and gas company he founded that was then forced to sell its assets after defaulting on a loan.

White has long taken political hits for his involvement in the failed venture and for, his opponents allege, exploiting his time as the deputy secretary of energy in the Clinton administration for business purposes. When running for mayor in 2003, before he had made money off Frontera stock, he responded to the Houston Chronicle's questioning of his dealings with Frontera: "I have not made a penny. I have some stock, but it is so subordinated to the other interests that I am told that it has little or no economic value."

And on June 21, he told the Morning News he doubted that he'd profited from the investment. "I think on a cash-on-cash basis I would not be up very much because there were a lot of expenses that I incurred," he said.

Gov. Rick Perry's camp seized on the news, which comes a month after Perry accused White of profiteering from Hurricane Rita cleanup efforts — allegations White's campaign has dismissed as "phony attacks." "[White]'s become a habitual liar when it comes to business dealings," Perry spokesman Mark Miner told the Morning News.

Perry has refused to debate White until he releases tax returns dating back from his time in the Department of Energy.

CULLED:

  • The Houston Chronicle and The Dallas Morning News have write-ups on the increasingly nasty race for agriculture commissioner between incumbent Todd Staples and Democratic challenger Hank Gilbert. "Mud" and "dirt" puns abound.
  • Just when you thought it was (barely) safe to go back in the water … it appears that the capped well in the Gulf may have sprung a leak. Cue the collective sigh.

"The truth of the matter is that voters are not interested in the general stuff. And it's a hell of a lot more fun in the age of the Internet to blast all this stuff." — GOP consultant Royal Masset on drama in the race for agriculture commissioner

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