The oil explorers in Texas do some things in the same way as coal developers in New South Wales. They manage to find a dollar for “worthy” candidates. Take the case of George Prescott Bush, the 38-year-old son of Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida. He is the latest generation of the the Bush family dynasty to seek a job in politics and has won the Republican primary election to stand for the post of Texas Land Commissioner come November.
Now that might not be the grandest elected office in the USA but it is the kind of first step that political aspirants for higher things usually take. And it does provide a means of making contact with the rich and powerful of the State, especially those in the oil business, whose dollars go a long way towards success. For the Texas Land Commissioner has the twin responsibilities of both promoting oil and gas development on state lands and waters and ensuring oil and gas companies are paying the correct amount in royalties. On his campaign website, George P. Bush says he aims to increase energy production and fight excessive federal regulation.
As land commissioner I will support the responsible stewardship of our resources and the reasonable drilling of oil and natural gas on our public lands. We can and we should do both. The days of false choices between protecting the environment on one side and promoting job creation is over. Here in Texas we are going to take care of our resources and take care of our people at the same time.
Second, we’re going to fight excessive federal regulation. Too often too many regulations from Washington D.C. have been passed that make little to no sense at all. So we’re going to fight back, and we’re going to fight back hard here in the state of Texas. So my goal for our state is that we once again become the energy leader of the world. Nothing more, and nothing less.
They are the kind of aims oil men seem find attractive. AlJazeera America noted this month a distinguishing feature of George P. Bush’s quest for public office: a campaign war chest totaling $2.2 million — a significant portion of that money furnished by the same industry he will go on to regulate if he wins.
A glance at the names populating his campaign’s list of top-level donors reveals a who’s who of the state’s wealthiest oil and gas executives.
Anne Marion, heiress to the fortune of Fort Worth–based Burnett Oil Co., gave $50,000, according to reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission and compiled by The Texas Tribune. Jan Rees Jones, wife of Trevor Jones, president and CEO of Dallas-based Chief Oil & Gas provided another $50,000. James Henry, a longtime veteran of the oil industry and chair of Henry Resources LLC, another oil and gas exploration firm, lent $40,000 to the effort. Syed Javaid Anwar, president of Midland Energy, kicked in $40,000.
In all, Al Jazeera tabulated that individuals tied to energy companies contributed at least $450,000 to Bush’s first political effort.
A note: One thing that certainly differs between Texas and NSW is the detailed returns that the Bush campaign furnishes on money raised and spent – right down to the level of disclosing $6 paid for parking at Sundance Square, Forth Worth.