Meet Dallas Billionaire Harold Simmons, Radioactive Waste Magnate and Mitt Romney's Second-Biggest Donor

Categories: Politics

Thumbnail image for MrBurns.gif
An artistic rendering of Harold Simmons
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has raised nearly $300 million, and it's largely been with the help of a coterie of extremely wealthy, and extremely prolific donors. The top donor, of course, is Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

But the second biggest donor is a local guy we've all heard of: Harold Simmons, the Dallas billionaire who's donated some $16 million through various SuperPACs to the Romney campaign, according to The Associated Press. I like to think of Simmons as an evil genius, perhaps a Bond villain. He runs a titanium corporation that is apparently one of the top sources for the manufacture of weapons.

His Waste Control Specialists buries radioactive waste in West Texas. The story behind it is one of those only-in-the-Lone-Star-State kinds of sketchy. He lobbied the Texas Lege to license private companies to handle radioactive waste. Then he lobbied for a second bill to allow only one company to obtain such a license. And wouldn't you know, it was Simmons who got it. You can't help but start a slow-clap in admiration.

That wasn't even the half of it. Scientists with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, that venerable institution whose leadership is in no way nestled snugly in the governor's pocket, expressed grave concerns about the water table coming into contact with the radioactive waste. The permit got approved anyway, and several TCEQ scientists resigned in protest. The same year, the TCEQ executive chairman resigned, too. He took a position as a lobbyist for Simmons' company.

Simmons didn't end up in the 47 percent of layabouts because he is obviously an intelligent, shrewd man who works tirelessly and who knows how to wheel and deal. He wants Mitt Romney to be your next president. And he's willing to spend veiled millions through SuperPACs to get it done.


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54 comments
roo_ster
roo_ster

Mayhap for the Observer's next expose, it can cover George Sorors and include a Jewish caricature complete with hooked nose and bitty little purim cakes soaked in the blood of gentile children.

Christopher Cyrek
Christopher Cyrek

You are totally biased against radioactive waste magnates funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into hazily defined Presidential campaigns, Observer! For shame!

CJ Dylan
CJ Dylan

Well, someone's gotta be a Radioactive Waste Magnate Billionaire, right?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

he also produces phosphorus which is used in roadsigns and white reflective paint.  The guy is a gov't vendor, and wants, wait for it, less gov't.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

In searching for balance, I ran across this in a USAToday story:

 

A report filed Friday by the Democratic National Committee shows it struggled to keep pace with the Republican National Committee. The DNC took out a $10.5 million loan in September, and ended the month with more than $20 million in unpaid bills and just $4.6 million in available cash.

The Republican National Committee, by comparison, said it ended the month with $82.6 million in available cash.

 

Interesting.  And the Democrats are going to fix our budget problems...... how? 

 

Granted, this is the national committee's not the PACs.  But September reported contributions by Dems and their allied groups was $11mil more than that reported by Reps and their various PACs.

 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

All these incredibly wealthy people- be they supporting the democrat or the republican- throwing $millions and millions at an election is unhealthy for our country.

 

with the largest advocacy groups not required to report who funds them, with no limit on their spending, there is clearly the need to change how campaigns, and these shadow orgs that are unaffiliated with the campaigns (wink, wink), are run.

 

the fact that people such as Simmons, or Adelson, or Koch(s) or Soros can throw so much cash at an election allows for them to have an inordinate amount of influence. they should be able to affect the electorate, and the election,  in the manner they are currently allowed.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Space would have been better served if article named State Lege members who helped Ole Harold get his waste storage arrangement.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

Obama's gotten the endorsement of world leaders Putin, Amajinidad, Castro and Chavez, that's priceless.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Interesting.......Mitts top 3/5 donors are from Texas and have spent 8/1 over Obamas top 5 donors.

Americano
Americano

Don't like Harold Simmons?  Two words, George Soros. 

Edward
Edward

Apparently some of his money is also going to pay for people to write ridiculously oblivious, "you can read it on the internet" responses to any media article that's negative toward Gov. Romney.

 

More astroturf hard at work.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

It looks like he has a political agenda, works within the system with his actions documented, and people that disagree with him, as this reporter obviously does, can vote against the people that agreed with him. His contributions also do not look to be concealed. Is America a great country or what!

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

"runs a titanium corporation that is apparently one of the top sources for the manufacture of weapons"    Yep a sure sign of Dr No like evil.    Untill you look it up.

 

Per Wikipedia "Titanium can be alloyed with iron, aluminium, vanadium, molybdenum, among other elements, to produce strong lightweight alloys for aerospace (jet engines, missiles, and spacecraft), military, industrial process (chemicals and petro-chemicals, desalination plants, pulp, and paper), automotive, agri-food, medical prostheses, orthopedic implants, dental and endodontic instruments and files, dental implants, sporting goods, jewelry, mobile phones, and other applications"

 

He many be a nasty hyper aggressive businessman but innuendo like this is just weak and lazy.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Brantley, would you please provide to us a list of the "behind the scenes" contributors to the DNC ... you know, the fairness and balanced thing ... besides isn't a reporter supposed to report the facts?  Isn't the bigger story about how the so - called "SuperPACs" are capable of circumventing individual limits on campaign contributions?  And that both the RNC and DNC are making wide use of these funding mechanisms for their campaigns.

 

Now then if you want to editorialize, that is fine by me...

 

Oh and now for my main comments ....

 

Yawn ....

 

and

 

I'm shocked, ... I'm shocked to find out that a political organization is using a SuperPac to fund its campaign ....

ShadowsAndDust
ShadowsAndDust

So, Brantley, he's a Republican version of George Soros.  A Democrat Montgomery Burns.  Yet another evil genius/Bond villain.  I guess your point is that the dems are not willing to spend "veiled millions" through SuperPACs to elect their guy. Come on man..... put on your big boy pants and wake up.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@scottindallas - Putting ideology above profit, the guy's a 99 percenter.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @RTGolden1 That debt is a piker's sum next to the debt Romney larded on the firms he "saved"

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/10/14/david-stockman-mitt-romney-and-the-bain-drain.html

 

"Except Mitt Romney was not a businessman; he was a master financial speculator who bought, sold, flipped, and stripped businesses. He did not build enterprises the old-fashioned way—out of inspiration, perspiration, and a long slog in the free market fostering a new product, service, or process of production. Instead, he spent his 15 years raising debt in prodigious amounts on Wall Street so that Bain could purchase the pots and pans and castoffs of corporate America, leverage them to the hilt, gussy them up as reborn “roll-ups,” and then deliver them back to Wall Street for resale—the faster the better.

That is the modus operandi of the leveraged-buyout business, and in an honest free-market economy, there wouldn’t be much scope for it because it creates little of economic value. But we have a rigged system—a regime of crony capitalism—where the tax code heavily favors debt and capital gains, and the central bank purposefully enables rampant speculation by propping up the price of financial assets and battering down the cost of leveraged finance."

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

 @mavdog  "they should be able to affect the electorate, and the election,  in the manner they are currently allowed." (maybe 'they should NOT be able to...')

 

Really just picking at you.  I agree with what you're saying there.  This is one thing that is going to have to be fixed before we can get viable, effective third party politics moving in this country.  And we have to get third party politics going strong if we're ever going to fix what's wrong with the country.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

 @Sharon_Moreanus Not really all that interesting .. from what state are Pres. Obama's largest donors and what is the ratio of expenditures from these donor's versus the largest donors to Romney's campaign from the same state?

claytonauger
claytonauger

 @Americano Yeah, because their goals are exactly the same. Didn't know Simmons saw the inside of a German concentration camp. Or maybe he was one of the guards?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @MikeWestEast he is a gov't vendor.  Seeks to protect his sweetheart deals while begrudging your mom's medicare. 

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@Sotiredofitall Haven't looked lately but I suspect a large portion of Simmons' titanium is in the form of titanium dioxide, a component of paint.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @ShadowsAndDust Soros isn't a gov't vendor, and isn't hypocritically seeking to secure his sweetheart deals while trying to destroy your mom's medicare.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @albert.finney000  @scottindallas No, he's trying to secure his multi-million dollar contracts, while begrudging retirees the Social Security they've paid into for decades. 

 

Albert finney, can't see beyond his ideological blinders, devoid of facts and soaked in sophistry.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

 @scottindallas  @RTGolden1 David Stockman?  Are you kidding me?  If anybody knows about incompetence that bankrupts multiple firms, tosses thousands of employees into the street while staying a half step ahead of severe civil and criminal penalties, he is your choice.  A typical government apparatchik that leveraged his White House job into a sinecure, gladhanding job at Salomon and then got the idea that what Bain Capital does is as easy as most Observer readers think.  Nobody will ever trust him to run a firm again.  Perfect for academia.  I could write a criticism of baseball skills of Joe Torre and I would have as much credibility as Mr. Stockman.  One more great editorial choice for Newsweek, what you'd expect  from a firm that also ran its business into the ground.

 

 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @RTGolden1

 whoops. a missing "not" is fairly important...

 

it is not as straightforward as you see it, this current paradigm opens the door for a wealthy individual to get behind a 3rd party and make them visible and perhaps viable....limiting spending most likely aids the established parties, don't you think?

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

Y@scottindallas - You're angry, reactionary and uninformed.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul 72.6 vs. 10.81. 1). 34.2 vs. 2.5. V. 2). 16 vs. 2.1. 3) 15.3. vs 2. 4). 4.1. vs. 2. 5). 3 vs. 2. 2-cali/mich/il/tx.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

 @claytonauger  @Americano What, exactly do german concentration camps have to do with the topic at hand?  Are you saying because Soros did see the inside of one, he should be allowed to throw whatever sums of money at politics to get what he wants?

The point here is people who throw huge sums of money at candidates expect something in return if that candidate gets elected.  This is wrong and needs to change.  And yes Soros' goal is the same as Simmons'.  They both want elected officials to do things in their own best interest, regardless of how it affects the rest of the country.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

@claytonauger @Americano Yes, having a foundation that gives money to immigrant rights, reproductive rights, hand gun control, an Oprah project for girls really paints him as a Nazi.

ShadowsAndDust
ShadowsAndDust

 @scottindallas Soros doesn't care about your mom's medicare either.  His history of currency manipulation in Asian and UK markets should concern you a just a little bit.  Thailand labeled Soros an economic war criminal.  He's made a fortune by crapping all over the little people.  My point is... all these huge donors have an agenda .... the common denominator being money and power. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@MikeWestEast@RTGolden1

RTGolden1. try addressing the argument, not the man.  That's a logical fallacy, and indicative of flawed argumentation/reasoning.  Stockman does the forensics on Romney's biggest "Successes"  He paid himself 12X the purchase price for firms he bought, all from debt he saddled on these firms.  Mitt used the borrowed money and said that was the firms new profits.  He sold the firms and the debt bankrupted the firms within 2 years. 

 

Argue the points, don't attack the messenger, that's fallacious reasoning. 

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

@scottindallas @MikeWestEast @RTGolden1 What fallacy - he absolutely sucks as a business leader? That is a proven fact. Before he criticizes a business leader about being a leader, he had better prove himself in the arena. At some point, you have to establish some credibility. Nobody cares if someone that failed at the job writes a term paper. Like I said, perfect for academia. People that cannot do business can always teach it.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @MikeWestEast  @scottindallas  @RTGolden1 Stockman indeed knows how these companies work.  I'm no fan of Stockman, he's a longtime and loyal Republican.  But, your critique is pure ad hominem, he has facts, and follows the record.  Are you saying his account is wrong?   That's a matter or record, and it's the opposite of understanding small business, a capital intensive business, or of running a balanced budget.  He bankrupted the firms that the trumpets as his great successes.  Get off the fallacy and address the arguments and the claims. 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

 @mavdog There are numerous obstacles to third party viability.  Economics are just one hurdle, there is also entrenched media bias against third parties, and the establishment deception that voting for a third party 'steals' votes from reps/dems.  The public has bought into this lie, and it is likely the biggest obstacle.  I have many conservative friends who clearly state their primary, or only, reason for voting for Romney is to get rid of Obama.  This is the most idiotic reason for voting for someone I can imagine.

 

We get the government we deserve.

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