Since George P. Bush took over the Texas General Land Office in 2015, the agency has awarded about $164 million worth of state contracts to 12 companies with employees or political committees that have donated to Bush’s campaign, public records show.
Together, the 12 companies and their employees have given at least $111,175 to Bush’s campaign.
Companies seeking state business frequently give money to Texas politicians involved in contracting decisions, which is allowed under state law. At least seven of those companies, for instance, also did work for the land office before Bush’s tenure, and at least eight of the companies or their employees have given money to his predecessor, Jerry Patterson, who is running to reclaim his old job from Bush in the March 6 GOP primary.
Ethics watchdogs have long contended that the confluence of political contributions and state contracts undermines the public’s confidence in state government.
Bush spokeswoman Brittany Eck said there was no connection between the donations and the land office’s decisions to award the contracts and stressed that the agency takes great lengths to ensure the integrity of its procurement process.