AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Billionaire political donors and other special interest heavyweights are among “citizen advisory” members named by incoming Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to help Texas lawmakers write bills over the next five months.

Patrick said Thursday that more than 50 hand-picked businessmen will advise the Senate on a range of issues from economic development to transportation.

They include oilman Tim Dunn, who last year donated $50,000 to Patrick and more than $2 million to the ultraconservative activist group Empower Texans. Other members run businesses that already spending millions lobbying lawmakers.

Watchdog groups quickly condemned the panels as favor to special interests.

Patrick said getting ongoing feedback from the private sector makes sense to write good policy. He said the panel includes members who didn’t support his campaign last year.

(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Latest News:

[display-posts category=”news,sports” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]