Giuliani Builds Political Base in Texas
September 21, 2007
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican Rudy Giuliani
— thrice-married, liberal on social issues and a
consummate New Yorker — seems an unlikely White
House contender to be embraced by a Texas' GOP
establishment rooted in the energy industry and
dominated by religious conservatives.
But the former New York mayor has built a
formidable political base in Texas with the help
of well-connected Republican money men. He owes
his advantage in part to his role as a name
partner with a powerhouse, Houston-based law
firm known for its impressive roster of
energy-giant clients, Bracewell & Giuliani.
His partnership in the law firm has also
brought Giuliani unwelcome criticism in
connection with some of the firm's more
controverisal clients, including a Spanish
contractor involved in planning part of a Texas
superhighway toll road known as the Trans-Texas
Texas farmers and other landowners are
worried their property rights will be trampled
to make way for the highway. Conspiracy
theorists see Giuliani, because of his highway
connections, as allied with a cabal of
international monied interests plotting to
supplant the United States with a North American
Union that includes Mexico and Canada.
Giuliani joined the law firm — then called
Bracewell & Patterson — in March 2005. More than
400 lawyers work for the firm, which has offices
in New York, Washington, Connecticut, Dubai,
Kazakhstan and London.
Giuliani reported in a federal financial
disclosure form in May that he received $1.2
million in income from Bracewell & Giuliani
during 2006 and the first five months of 2007.
He was also entitled to a 7.5 percent share of
revenue from the firm's New York office.
The firm's managing partner, Patrick Oxford
of Houston, is the national chairman of
Giuliani's presidential campaign. A former
University of Texas System regent appointed by
then-Gov. George W. Bush, Oxford has strong ties
to many of Texas' top political leaders. He
raised $100,000 for Bush in his 2000
presidential run, served as co-chairman of Sen.
Kay Bailey Hutchison's re-election campaign last
year and is treasurer for Sen. John Cornyn's
current re-election campaign.
The law firm's employees in several Texas
cities have also donated to Giuliani's campaign,
federal election reports show.
"The relationship with Bracewell has given
Giuliani a financial foothold in the state,"
said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for
Public Justice, which tracks money in politics.
While Giuliani isn't "totally in sync with
the base on social issues," Texans liked his
take-charge approach during the Sept. 11, 2001,
terrorist attacks and his mayoral record on
crime-fighting and budget control, said
Austin-based GOP consultant Reggie Bashur, who
is not working with any presidential candidates.
"The grassroots in Texas is ... strongly
conservative. ... very much right-to-life, very
fiscally conservative, strong on national
defense, very strong on the war on terror, not
overly sympathetic to the gay rights movement,"
Because Texas' primary comes late in the
lineup of nomination contests, the state's role
in the nomination is primarily that of money
generator. Giuliani's campaign finance chairman
is Roy Bailey, a former finance chairman of the
Texas Republican Party. Dallas billionaire T.
Boone Pickens and Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks
are major fundraisers.
Giuliani had raised $3.69 million in Texas as
of July 30, the most of any presidential
candidate. Democratic front-runner Hillary
Rodham Clinton was second with $2 million. Among
Giuliani's Republican rivals, Sen. John McCain
has raised $1.79 million from Texas donors and
Mitt Romney has raised $1.76 million.
"I think there are many issues, principally
on the issue of leadership and overall
electability, that are causing many voters in
Texas to support the mayor," said Giuliani
spokesman Elliott Bundy.
Giuliani has also developed a bond with Texas
Gov. Rick Perry, whom he helped win re-election
last year. That groundwork could make Perry a
high-profile ally in Texas, although the
governor hasn't yet endorsed a presidential
Bracewell & Giuliani's political action
committee gave $10,000 to Perry a year ago, just
a few weeks before his re-election. Perry and
Giuliani have talked in person and by telephone
several times and have a good relationship,
Bracewell & Giuliani represents a business
consortium involved in the Trans-Texas Corridor,
a costly, high-profile toll road pushed by Perry
and opposed by farmers and ranchers.
The first phase of Perry's proposed $184
billion toll road, envisioned as part of a
superhighway stretching from Oklahoma to the
Mexico border, was planned by the
consortium, composed of
Cintra Concesiones de
Infraestructuras de Transporte SA of Spain, one
of the world's largest developers of toll roads,
and Zachry Construction Co. of San Antonio.
Landowners say they worry that fields and
farmhouses in Texas families for generations
would be bulldozed for the highway. The state
acknowledges some private land will be taken,
but Perry said new roads are needed to handle
Texas' growing population and trade.
consortium sued Texas Attorney General
Greg Abbott last year to keep parts of its
development agreement with the state secret,
saying the information was proprietary. The
Texas Department of Transportation took the
unusual step of siding with the consortium in
the lawsuit against Abbott, whose office had
ruled the agreement should be made public.
The transportation department and the
consortium dropped the lawsuit last October and
agreed to release the contents of the contract.
But the lawsuit further fueled concerns about
foreign ownership of a major Texas highway, and
the project continues to be criticized by
conservative groups like the Eagle Forum and the
John Birch Society, who see it as part of an
international conspiracy to create a North
American Union. The conspiracy theory has also
provided fodder for cable television
commentators like CNN's Lou Dobbs.
Earlier this year, Giuliani sold his
investment firm, Giuliani Capital, for an
undisclosed sum to the Macquarie Group, which is
part of Macquarie Bank of Australia.
Macquarie's infrastructure group formed a
consortium that operates a
major toll road in
Scott Segal, a Washington-based Bracewell &
Giuliani partner in charge of its government
relations division, said Giuliani was not
involved in the Texas toll road legal work and
that the law firm doesn't lobby on behalf of
"Mayor Giuliani has had no association or has
done no work for the Cintra Zachry venture,"
Black, Perry's spokesman, said he doubts
Perry even knows that Giuliani's firm has
represented the transportation companies in
connection with the project.
"The governor does not concern himself with
who Rudy Giuliani's law firm may or may not
represent," Black said.