Special district webs of in uence

Powered with campaign cash and other tools of insiders, a web of in uence surrounds some special districts in Texas.
Joe Schwartz partner at law rm to special districts and owner of bookkeeping rm to districts, which Schwartz says he sold. Both have done business with Woodlands Road Utility District.

Rep. Paula Hightower Pierson, D-Arlington sponsored bill to create Viridian Municipal Management District. Within months, developer bene ting from district donated $5,000 to Pierson’s campaign. Rep. Hubert Vo, D-Houston sponsored bill to create International Management District within months of accepting $4,000 in campaign donations from two rms that would go on to run and manage legal a airs for International. A company owned by Vo donates space to the district. Rep. Jim Murphy, R-Houston after being voted out of o ce in 2008, lobbied his former colleagues in Legislature for Westchase District in 2009. Earns six- gure salary to manage the Houston district.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker accepted nearly $50,000 in campaign donations from people with ties to Montrose Management District, including board members, who Parker and City Council have power to approve.
Sources: Campaign records, legislation, public records. Photo of spider web by ickr user Marcelo Tourne. - Research by Steve Miller Graphic by Lee Ann O’Neal www.texaswatchdog.org

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