Fracking Billionaires Give Record-Setting Donation to Ted Cruz
Two Christian conservatives who became billionaires from fracking have given a record political contribution to Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz.
Farris and Dan Wilks, who made their fortunes in the West Texas fracking boom, have reportedly contributed $15 million to Keep the Promise, a super PAC supporting Cruz. The $15 million is the largest contribution so far in the 2016 race, and represents nearly half of the $38 million raised by Keep the Promise.
The Wilks brothers have largely maintained a low profile until now. But their public remarks have caught the attention of liberals.
Farris Wilks, 63, told CNN in a statement: “Our country was founded on the idea that our rights come from the Creator, not the government. I'm afraid we're losing that.”
The small town pastor also said, “Unless we elect a principled conservative leader ready to stand up for our values, we'll look back on what once was the land of opportunity and pass on a less prosperous nation to our children and grandchildren. That's why we need Ted Cruz.”
Dan Wilks told the Christian Broadcasting Network: “I just think we have to make people aware, you know, and bring the Bible back into the school, and start teaching our kids at a younger age, and, uh, you know, and focus on the younger generation.”
Farris added that children are “being taught the other ideas, the gay agenda, every day out in the world so we have to stand up and explain to them that that’s not real, that’s not proper, it’s not right.”
The Wilks’ personal fortune comes from their early entry in the fracking industry. In 2002, they launched their business, Frac Tech, which manufactured fracking equipment. In 2011, they sold their company for $3.5 billion to an investor group led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. (It now operates as FTS International.) Sixty-eight percent of the sale revenue went directly to the brothers.
Supplementing Wilks’ donation to the Cruz super-PAC are donations from hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer and investor Toby Neugebauer, a Cruz friend. Mercer, who was a top donor to conservative groups last year, has donated $11 million to Keep the Promise, while Neugebauer has contributed $10 million toward Cruz’s presidential aspirations.
In the crowded field of Republican presidential contenders, the $38 million in the Cruz super-PAC places the candidate second only to Jeb Bush in terms of war chest ammunition, according to CNN.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman
To Learn More:
First on CNN: Billionaire Brothers Give Cruz Super PAC $15 Million (by Theodore Schleifer, CNN)
The Wilks Brothers: Fracking Sugar Daddies For The Far Right (by Peter Montgomery, Right Wing Watch)
Meet Ted Cruz’s Billionaire Donors (by Eliana Johnson, National Review)
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