Four years later, many of the wealthy donors who funded the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry are still very active in molding public opinion.
Last week, Dallas tycoon T. Boone Pickens launched his effort (pickensplan.com) to wean the United States from foreign oil. USA Today said it will be the largest public policy ad campaign ever. Pickens has large investments in wind power and natural gas.
Also last week, Aubrey McClendon’s Chesapeake Energy, based in Oklahoma City, announced it is sponsoring an Internet video operation, with experienced journalists, to cover news about oil and gas production in shale regions of the United States. It will be called Shale.TV. One critic is already calling it Shill.TV.
Earlier, McClendon and Chesapeake funded Cleanskies.TV, which covers the energy industry and the environment.
McClendon says his company will be the No. 1 natural gas producer in the United States by the end of the year.
Dallas businessman Albert Huddleston and his privately held Hyperion Resources are trying to build a refinery (Hyperion Energy Center) to process crude from Canadian oil sands. The massive project is a long way from reality, but Hyperion won an important zoning election last month in Union County, South Dakota, that moves the plan forward.
Huddleston is married to a grand daughter of oil legend H.L. Hunt and is an environmental ally of Don Henley of the Eagles.
Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, the largest political contributor in Texas, shared some wealth in New Mexico last month. He gave $125,000 to the New Mexico GOP, accounting for about 90 percent of the party’s contributions in the period.
Perry also has given $250,000 to the Republican Governors Association. The group’s goal is to elect governors, but it has become a repository for contributions to GOP presidential candidate John McCain. Another Swift Boat moneyman, Carl Lindner, has given $100,000 to the governors group.
Dallas businessman Harold Simmons has concentrated on philanthropy. He pledged another $50 million earlier this year to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, raising his total gift to $125 million.