AUSTIN — Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens has never been shy about buttonholing elected officials, but it’s seldom been easier since Texas’ new lieutenant governor set up regular conference calls for select business leaders and donors to advise him on issues before the Legislature.
In Texas, where the wall between big money and government is like the low cattle fencing that pens the state’s ranchland, new Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s new invitation-only calls have provided an especially direct connection between the state’s business elite and the Legislature’s agenda.
“Why wouldn’t I want to learn from and communicate with the job creators? Why would we want to pass legislation that might impact our economy in a negative way?” said Patrick, who schedules bills for action, explaining the calls.