It looks like the next big lobbyist fundraising venture at the Austin Club will be on behalf of Agriculture Commissioner candidate Eric Opiela.

Mr. Opiela, as you may recall, is a twice-failed candidate for the Texas House and lawyer for Joe Straus. Arguably, he’s most noted for completely botching the 2011 redistricting process that sent the Legislature’s maps to court and delayed the state’s 2012 primary election. You can learn more about his moderate background here.

Earlier today, Mr. Opiela proudly promoted a campaign fundraising reception on Facebook, taking place at the Austin Club – one of the most prominent lobbyist hangouts in Austin.

Of course, the invitation mentions nothing about his host committee being comprised of lobbyists (many of whom represent gambling and taxpayer-funded entities) and former Straus lackeys. 

According to the Texas Ethics Commission website, Carly Butler and Jim Shearer lobby for the Chickasaw Nation, Global Gaming LSP, LLC, and Racing Partners of Texas, LLC.

Denise Davis is Speaker Joe Straus’s former Chief of Staff. Her clients include the Texas Public Employees Union and Texas Property Tax Lienholders Association.

Ironically, Robert Flores of GI Forum worked with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund – the chief plaintiff in the 2011 redistricting litigation. Given how incompetent Opiela proved to be as a redistricting lawyer for the state, it’s easy to understand why Mr. Flores is now such a big fan of his.

Robert Johnson is the brother of Gordon Johnson – Joe Straus’s senior counselor and advisor – and a taxpayer-funded lobbyist. He’s employed by the City of Houston and Webb County, as well as other big businesses in the state.

Trey Newton is currently the campaign manager of the George P. Bush campaign – someone whom George P. described as “our Karl Rove.” He’s a partner at a consulting firm along with Jonnie B. Rogers, also on Opiela’s host committee. In 2012, Mr. Rogers was charged with injury to the elderly, a third-degree felony, for repeatedly punching a 65-year old newspaper reporter at a Burnet County Republican Party election night watch-party.

Kevin Robnett is a former Deputy General Counsel and policy advisor for Speaker Joe Straus.

Jason Smith is another taxpayer-funded lobbyist, employed by the Harris County Commissioner’s Court, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, and the Texas Public Employees Association amongst others.

Yep, nothing says “grassroots conservative candidate” quite like a bunch of cronies and moderate minions backing your campaign. A list of supporters like this should be a clear warning sign to taxpayers to stay as far away from Eric Opiela and his campaign as possible.


Here’s a list of all the lobbyists on Mr. Opiela’s host committee and their 2013 lobby clients:


Carley Butler

Blazer Residential
Bonner Carrington, LP
CapCon, Inc
Chickasaw Nation
Clark, Mike
Global Gaming LSP, LLC
Hyde Park Development, Inc.
Kilday Realty Corporation
Magill Development Company, LLC
Racing Partners of Texas, LLC
Solara HealthCare, LLP
Texas United Independent Developers, LLC

Denise Davis

Children’s Medical Center
CompPharma, LLC
Davis Kaufman PLLC
Liberty Healthcare Corporation
Prime Therapeutics LLC
Tesla Motors, Inc
Texas Property Tax Lienholders Association
Texas Public Employees Association

Darrick Eugene

AT&T Services, Inc
City of Galveston, Board of Trustees of the Galveston Warves
City of Houston
Texas Association of Educational Service Providers
Tutors With Computers LLC

Robert Flores

American GI Forum of Texas
Private Ambulance Providers Association
San Antonio Community Development Council
Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce
Texas Citizen Action Network

R. Kinnan Golemon

Austin White Lime Company
Devon Energy Corporation
Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority
Motiva Enterprises
Shell Chemical LP
Shell Deer Park Refining Company
Shell Oil Company
Shell Oil Products
Shell Pipeline Company LP
Uranium Energy Corporation

Robert Johnson

American Airlines, Inc
AT&T Services, Inc
City of Houston
Consumer Data Industry Association
Gulf Greyhound Partners, Ltd
Johnson & Johnson Attorneys at Law
Kiewit Development Company
King Ranch, Inc
MillerCoors LLC
Nissan North America, Inc
RAI Services Company
Rick Sheldon Management One LLC
Signal Equities LLC
Water Exploration Company LTD
Webb County

Johnnie B. Rogers

Bicameral Consultants, Inc.

Jim Shearer (James F. Shearer)

Blazer Residential
Bonner Carrington, LP
CapCon, Inc
Chickasaw Nation
Clark, Mike
Global Gaming LSP, LLC
Hyde Park Development Company, LLC
Racing Partners of Texas, LLC
Solara Healthcare, LLP
Texas United Independent Developers, LLC

Brad Shields

Al’s Formal Wear
Harris County Commissioners Court
Muscle Activation Techniques
National Association of Chain Drug Stores
North Highland
Port Transportation Corridor Coalition
Roosters MGC LLC
Security Finance Corporation
Smile Brands Inc
Texas Academy of Audiologists
Texas Association of Freestanding Emergency Centers
Texas Emergency Care Center
Texas Federation of Drug Stores
Texas Smokestack School Coalition
Texas Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Texas Yoga Association
The National Council to Prevent Delinquency

Ed Small

American Association of Notaries, Inc
Commonwealth Brands, Inc
Crystal Clear Water Supply Corporation
Grandfather’s Blind Ltd
Gulf Compress
Jackson Walker L.L.P.
Musket Corporation
Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers, Inc
Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing
Texas Boil Weevil Eradication Foundation
Texas Forestry Asssociation/Texas Logging Council

Jason Smith

Cross Oak Group, LLC
Harris County – Houston Sports Authority
Harris County Commissioners Court
Madhouse Development Services Inc
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County
Riverbend Water Resources District
Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance
Texas Craft Brewers Guild
Texas Public Employees Association


Dustin Matocha

Dustin Matocha is the CFO and COO of Texas Scorecard. Dustin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Management, a BA in Government, and a minor in Marketing. He’s a self-described Corvette enthusiast, baseball purist, tech geek and growing connoisseur of local craft beer.