Donor profile: Steve and Amber Mostyn

Quick stats on the biggest financial backers of Election 2012.

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 Updated:

Lawyer and Democratic donor Steve Mostyn.

The Texas Tribune

Ranking: 17

Total contributions to super PACs:  $5.2 million*

  • $3 million to Priorities USA Action (pro-Barack Obama)
  • $1.05 million to House Majority PAC (pro-Democratic), all of which came from his wife Amber Mostyn
  • $500,000 to Majority PAC (pro-Democratic)
  • $425,000 to Texans for America’s Future (pro-Democratic), all of which came via Mostyn's firm's corporate treasury
  • $200,000 to Planned Parenthood (pro-Democratic), all of which came from Amber Mostyn

Notable federal hard money and 527 contributions**:

  • $151,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (since 2008)
  • $400,000 to the Democratic Governors Association to boost former Houston Mayor Bill White’s unsuccessful gubernatorial run against Gov. Rick Perry (2010)

Notable state-level contributions: (see here)

  • $1.36 million to Democrats in state House and Senate districts (2010)
  • $1 million to House Democratic Caucus of Texas (since 2009)

Corporate name: Mostyn Law Firm

Total spent on federal lobbying (2007-2012): None found

Biography:

Not all super donors from Texas are Republicans. Houston trial lawyers Steve and Amber Mostyn have donated millions to Democrats.

While their $5.2 million in donations to super PACs is modest compared with fellow Texans Harold Simmons ($30.9 million) and Bob Perry ($23.5 million), the cash is still significantly more than the maximum allowable candidate contribution of $5,000.

In the Texas-sized game of political spending, Perry is a familiar adversary to the Mostyns.

According to the Texas Tribune, the Houston couple pledged to spend $1.3 million to boost former Houston Mayor Bill White in the state’s gubernatorial race, while Perry — the wealthy home builder and backer of laws to lessen jury awards — donated $1.5 million to Gov. Rick Perry’s successful bid.

This year, Steve Mostyn gave $3 million alone to Priorities USA Action, the super PAC founded to help re-elect President Barack Obama, while Perry donated $10 million to the main super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and another $8.5 million to American Crossroads, the group co-founded by Karl Rove that also spent millions attacking Obama.

According to the New York Times, Mostyn's donation to Priorities came shortly after a surprise visit from the group’s top strategists, Paul Begala and Bill Burton, during which the Democratic operatives — aboard the Mostyns’ yacht in Florida — urged the couple to contribute to the super PAC.

During the 2012 election cycle, Amber Mostyn (née Anderson) has contributed $1 million to House Majority PAC and $200,000 to Planned Parenthood Votes.

Additionally, the couple has funded Texans for America’s Future — a pro-Democratic super PAC that spent more than $950,000 to advocate for Obama’s re-election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The couple earned their fortune from their legal practice, Mostyn Law Firm, which specializes in insurance and personal injury litigation.

Steve Mostyn, 41, served as the Texas Trial Lawyers Association’s youngest president. He and his wife also founded the Mostyn Moreno Educational Foundation, which supports children with special needs in Texas. Amber Mostyn also sits on the board of Annie’s List, a group that supports women Democratic candidates in Texas.

Last updated: Jan. 30, 2013

*2011-2012 election cycle. Source: Center for Responsive Politics and Center for Public Integrity analysis of Federal Election Commission records. Totals include contributions from individuals, family members and corporations that are controlled by the individual super donor.

**2010 election cycle, source: Federal Election Commission; Internal Revenue Service