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Harold Simmons, R. I. P., But GOP Mega-Donor's Influence On Immigration Debate Won't Be Missed
2013 was a bad year for GOP billionaire mega-donors from Texas. In July, Bob Perry died, and I noted his subversion of patriotic immigration reform. On December 28, Harold Simmons, died at the age 82.
Simmons gave 31 million dollars to various Republican candidates and Super-PACs in the last election cycle. The Dallas Morning News notes that despite his conservatism, he gave money to Planned Parenthood and some gay organizations. This may not actually be reflective of his views, as Simmons put his liberal daughters in charge of much of his ostensibly non-political donations. In fact, his daughter founded the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, that gives free legal services to asylum applicants, and Simmons served on the advisory board.
I only came across Simmons indirectly, when I consulted for a congressional campaign. I worked with the candidate to develop a strong immigration platform, which supported SB 1070, ending chain migration, and ending birthright citizenship.
After we all agreed on these positions, his fundraiser told me that they were hoping that Harold Simmons would come in support of the candidate, and would hold off saying anything on immigration because Simmons supported amnesty.
Simmons ultimately did not get involved. The candidate won regardless and has been a reliable immigration patriot, so this story has a happy ending. However, the experience confirmed the negative an influence the billionaire donors have on the GOP. In fact, I cannot think of a single billionaire who is opposed to amnesty.
I express my condolences to Simmons’ friends and family, but I do not mourn the influence his money had on the immigration debate.