Breaking News
More () »

What CNN's new 'Deep in the Pockets of Texas' special tells us about how big-money donors shape Texas politics

In this week's episode of the Y'all-itics podcast, CNN's Ed Lavandera shares what he learned about Texas' political landscape while filming his latest special report
Credit: pabrady63 - stock.adobe.com

DALLAS — There’s always been money in Texas politics. The only questions surrounding this truth have been how much and from whom?

CNN has been tracking some of those dollars -- and how they're spent -- in a new documentary titled "Deep in the Pockets of Texas" in which the Dallas-based reporter Ed Lavandera profiles two wealthy Texans who've been spending on GOP candidates to impact Texas politics.

"They're incredibly smart," Ed Lavandera told the Jasons of these donors during the most recent episode of the Y’all-itics podcast. "They're worth billions of dollars. And it doesn't take but $1,000,000 or so to really move the needle in a small Texas State House race in East Texas or out in West Texas. So, the amount of influence you get for the amount of money you're spending is really stunning."

And that's only the beginning. 

Lavandera says he learned that, after they make their political donations, donors stay in frequent communication with the lawmakers to whom they contributed.

The CNN reporter also notes that there’s even a public scorecard to keep close tabs on how the lawmakers vote.

"That scorecard essentially ranks Republican lawmakers on how conservative they are, and whether or not they've cast the right vote, if you will," Lavandera says.

But why would these two Texas Republican megadonors give so much money and keep such close tabs on the GOP lawmakers they help fund? 

On this week's episode, Lavandera discusses their apparent motivations, which could have a huge impact on millions of Texans. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out