As Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign treasurer, one would assume that Houston businessman John Nau III would provide backing to candidates seeking to implement the priorities Abbott laid out during the legislative session. However, it appears more and more often that Nau seeks to undermine the efforts of the conservative grassroots that put Abbott in office to begin with.
Nau, both as a private citizen and in his role as the President and CEO of Silver Eagle Distributors, the nation’s largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products, has been a consistent donor to liberal Republicans and far-left Democrats seeking to undermine the policy goals of the conservative grassroots. Below are just some of Nau’s top donation recipients from the past few election cycles.
Not only did he endorse liberal Democrat State Rep. Carol Alvarado of Houston for re-election, but Nau has donated significant amounts of money to others, such as disgraced State Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) and convicted felon State Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio). Nau has also donated to Republican legislators who voted against much of Abbott’s reform agenda such as State Reps. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas), Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio), and Sarah Davis (R-West University Place).
John Nau has been very generous towards House Republicans loyal to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. Lieutenants of Straus, like State Reps. Dan Huberty (R-Houston), Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), and Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton), have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from him. Straus’ team has been instrumental in killing conservative legislation for several sessions, preventing property tax relief, failing to protect women’s privacy, and repeatedly blocking pro-life legislation.
Equally troubling are his large contributions to the Associated Republicans of Texas, an organization which has repeatedly sought to defeat pro-taxpayer candidates in key races across Texas. Nau is one of ART’s biggest donors, having given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the establishment-backed group.
This year, ART stood in direct opposition to Gov. Abbott’s endorsements and priorities, spending large sums of money to defeat Abbott-endorsed conservatives such as Susanna Dokupil, who challenged openly pro-abortion Sarah Davis for her Texas House seat.
Nau has also spent vast sums of money to prevent competition in his own industry, giving almost $1 million to the Beer Alliance of Texas, a pro-distributor lobbying group. The group used the funds from Nau to push for the passage of crony legislation such as House Bill 3287, which restricted small craft breweries’ ability to sell beer directly to consumers.
With such an anti-taxpayer, anti-consumer, and even anti-Republican finance chair, conservatives have no reason to trust John Nau to counsel Abbott’s campaign in a manner consistent with the governor’s conservative agenda.