*Must run for office and win to participate.

Note: This post has been updated to include a series of “Best Of” documents highlighting some of the more interesting documents found by Empower Texans.

In light of the recent scandals surrounding politicians and our state’s universities, Empower Texans took it upon ourselves to probe one area where legislators are known to benefit from a cozy relationship with state universities.

It is common knowledge around Austin that state officials are offered free tickets to UT sporting events. What wasn’t known—until now—was which Reps, Senators, and statewide officials take advantage of the program.

We are providing unprecedented access to the invitation letters, acceptance emails, and even the will-call envelopes legislators’ free tickets are kept in.

Beyond the two free ticket program, we also discovered which Representatives and Senators got the royal treatment—being invited to the President’s Suite for food and booze. From the “super nacho bar” to extra orders of Grey Goose and Bloody Marys, in the documents provided, you can get a full view of what UT officials, politicians, and other powerful people eat and drink while rubbing elbows.

University of Texas

Source Documents

2009 President’s Suite Invitation Letters
2010 Holiday Bowl Suite Food Order Form and Itinerary 
2010 President’s Suite Invite-Accept List
2010 President’s Suite Invitation Letters
2011 Holiday Bowl Info
2011 Kansas Game President’s Suite Info
2011 OU Game President’s Suite Info
2011 President’s Suite Invitation Letters
Chancellor’s Suite List
CM Emails — Legislators confirming tickets
GG Emails — Legislators confirming tickets
President’s Box 2010 Master List of Letters
President’s Box Food and Drink Records
President’s Suite – 2010 Master List of Letters
President’s Suite Invite Master List — 2011 and 2012
President’s Suite Lists
President’s Box Invitation Emails and Letters (1 of 3)
President’s Box Invitation Emails and Letters (2 of 3)
President’s Box Invitation Emails and Letters (3 of 3)
Redacted Guide for Bill Powers On Who Suite Guests Are
Sample Two Free Tickets Letters from 2009 and 2011
Selected 2011 President’s Suite Invitation Letters
Selected 2012 President’s Suite Invitation Letters
Sideline Passes
Travel Information
Will Call Envelopes
Suite Worthy
Legislative Staff Receiving Two Free Ticket Invitation

“Best Of” Documents

All Smiles for Tickets
Bartenders for Suite Need to be “Well Pressed”
Bartenders Fully Pressed but Burgers Arrived Late
Branch and Dewhurst Seated Next to Powers
Chancellor’s Letter to “Judy”
Extra Guacamole for the Super Nacho Bar
High Energy Game
Invite List Noting Invitation to “Sen Z”
Invited for Cocktails in the President’s Office
Legislator Needs Tickets to Every Home Game
More Grey Goose – Stat!
More Smiles and a “Woohoo” for Free Tickets
Out of Voss and Bloody Marys
Powers Not Enjoying Current Season
Rep Needs Two Parking Passes
Rep Gets Two Tickets for his Daughter
Rep. Tryon Lewis Demands to Pay for his tickets
Special Invitation to “Sen Z”
Staffer Sad Over Not Getting Tickets
Staffer Expresses Disbelief that Two Tickets are Free
Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith Invited to 2010 Wyoming Game


Texas A&M

2010 Holiday Bowl Suite Food Order Form and Itinerary
2009 A&M Free Ticket Letters
2010 A&M Free Ticket Letters
2011 A&M Free Ticket Letters
2011 Sideline Pass Sign Up List
2012 A&M Free Ticket Letters
2012 Sideline Pass Sign Up List
2013 A&M Free Ticket Letters
Kyle Field President’s Box VIP Seating Chart


Texas Tech

Chancellor’s Suite Guests List
Letters to Legislative Friends offering two free tickets



Texas A&M Invites-Acceptances
Texas Tech Invites-Acceptances
UT Invites-Acceptances


Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.


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