Ethics Explorer A Guide to the Financial Interests of Elected Officials

Rep. Joe Straus District 121 (R-San Antonio)

Industry
Insurance, Investor
Education
B.A., Vanderbilt University
Spouse
Julie
Committees
Not yet assigned
Financial Statements

Sources of Income

  • Straus is self-employed in insurance and investments.

  • He and his wife’s stock listings include brand names like American Eagle Outfitters, Dollar General, Michelin, Nordstrom, CostCo Wholesale, CVS Health, ConocoPhillips, Bank of America, American Airlines Group, General Electric, Southwest Airlines, Adobe Systems, Waste Management, Microsoft, Gap, Dillards, Ford Motor Co., Capital One Financial Corp., Intel, Comcast, Walt Disney Co., Lowes, Time Warner, Whirlpool, Archer-Daniels Midland Co., Wal-Mart, Chevron Corp., AT&T, Verizon Communications and United Health Group. They also own a number of stocks — some of the same — in the names of their two daughters.

  • He reported investment income from Plains Capital Bank, Broadway Bank, Charles Schwab & Co. and several San Antonio-based outfits, including Medina Investments, Peden Street Partners, Strafkids Realty Co. and Moonbeam Ventures. He reported interests in Medina Investments, Peden Street Partners, Strafkids Realty, Moon beam Ventures, White Buffalo,  JLS Properties Bennett and Straus.

  • He owns interests in Watson, Mazur, Bennett & Straus LLC, the Straus 2003 Irrevocable Trust and the Joe R. Straus Jr. Canyon Lake Trust of 2000.

Property

  • Residence in San Antonio valued at $918,000

Analysis

  • Straus' family has strong ties to horse racing, primarily through his father's holdings, and the Legislature regularly takes up legislation that would allow slot machines at race tracks. Straus has no apparent direct interests in any tracks. In the past, Straus has recused himself from voting on gambling issues.

  • In 2007, as a member of the House, Straus authored and helped pass a bill eliminating the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund tax, taking $200 million out of the state's income and benefiting AT&T, his biggest campaign contributor. At the time, AT&T was headquartered in San Antonio. Straus called the measure a move toward more budget transparency; the fund had already reached its statutory cap.