Mega-Donor Forms New Trial Lawyer Association
by Jay Root
October 22, 2013
The state’s top Democratic donor, trial lawyer Steve Mostyn, is spearheading a new group of like-minded attorneys who want to shake up politics — and the storied Texas Trial Lawyers Association along with it.
Mostyn and two heavy-hitter trial lawyers, Amy Witherite of Dallas and Kurt Arnold of Houston, have formed a new group called the Texas Association of Consumer Lawyers. The chief goal, says Mostyn, is getting more money into the hands of candidates friendly to their cause, with as little administrative bloat as possible.
Mostyn said the group was created in part out of frustration that dues being paid to the Texas Trial Lawyers Association are financing way too much overhead — leaving far too little money for campaign spending. Like the TTLA, the new group is a 501 C-6, a not-for-profit entity favored by trade groups, and it will have a related political action committee for donating to campaigns.
According to Guidestar, which tracks the spending of nonprofit organizations, TTLA’s longtime executive director, Tommy Townsend, was paid $1,061,880 in 2011. The report showed compensation for key employees accounted for nearly a third of the group’s more than $6 million in receipts that year.
“I’m not interested in being part of a country club,” Mostyn said. “I’m interested in getting something done.”