Cyndi Krier

Cyndi Krier

Cyndi Krier

Vital Stats

Gubernatorial Campaign Contributions:

-Perry: $5,500

Years as Regent:

March 2001-February 2007

Residency: San Antonio, Texas

"The distrust some students expressed toward the administration was only natural."

-Cyndi Krier about her experience at the state mandated meetings for the infrastructure fee increase.1 She's the only regent who bothered to attend.

Cyndi Taylor Krier first worked for Governor Rick Perry on his "Transition Team" in December 2000. This "team" was headed by current regents James Huffines and Scott Caven. Krier served with Robert Estrada on the appointments team before either was appointed regent. A few months later in early 2001, Krier served on then-Lieutenant Governor (since Perry was placed in the Governor's mansion) Bill Ratliff's "exploratory committee" that was to track his campaign contributions and the names of donators. Conveniently, this was the same time that she was appointed to the Board of Regents.

When she came on to the board, she ran into a couple familiar faces. Huffines and Caven wouldn't be appointed for another two years, but she saw Estrada and Board Chairman Charles Miller. She joined him in the Philosophical Society of Texas (they're both listed as members for all available years), where members sit around and determine the "true" history of the state. Mark Yudof was also in this, before he was elected chancellor by the regents. Cyndi's husband Joe was also on the Texas Public Education Reform Foundation, which Miller started with Tom Luce, the founder of Just for the Kids- which Scott Caven also serves on. The Texas Public Education Reform Foundation allegedly served as the model for Bush's "No Child Left Behind" that pushes standardized testing as the sole determinant of school children's education, charter schools, and vouchers. Miller has been working hard on UT's role in public education reform.

Krier's Past

Krier was the first woman and first Republican to represent Bexar County in the Texas Senate, where she served for two terms before she was elected as the Bexar County judge in 1992. It was during these times that she made her name known throughout the Texas GOP scene, by select campaign contributions and a vast array of foundations, associations, companies and committees- she currently sits on 21 different boards.

When running for Bexar County Judge in 1992, she received money from Texans for Governmental Integrity, which is an organization that helps fund conservative campaigns of dozens of state senators, representatives, and local lawmakers. It was founded by Dr. James Leininger who is known for his generosity to Texas conservatives. Bill Allaway is the president of Texas Taxpayers and Research Association- called an "an influential business group" by the Houston Chronicle2- where Krier is also a board member. Both have defended Leininger stating that he does not look "to define and control agendas"3 and "he's not...behind the scenes trying to manipulate things."4 But Leininger is an anti-abortion and Christian-school-board advocate who sinks his money into right-wing projects and is credited with pulling Texas conservatives even further right. Leininger is known by many as the Daddy Warbucks of social conservativism in Texas.

Krier has been involved with other conservative organizations such serving on the board of directors of the Texas Association of Businesses and Chambers of Commerce. The TABCC represents 140,000 employers and 200 chambers of commerce.5 They got in trouble during the 2002 mid-term elections for illegal corporate contributions. The TABCC poured around $2 million in illegal funding into conservatives' campaigns, placing many freshmen legislators in the 78th Legislature with one of the state's worst budget shortfalls. During the 78th Legislature, the business association also looked to help companies by scaling back their health insurance policies. Under Senate Bill 541, many health benefits would be "no longer required" to be covered by the companies such as AIDS/HIV treatments, among many others. Fortunately for the 75 percent of the 4.5 million uninsured Texans who have full-time jobs, this bill did not pass.

During the 2000 Presidential election, in the now-famous recount in Florida, Krier led a handful of lawyers to the Sunshine State to ensure that the votes went to Bush. Jeb Bush also did his part by purging more than 91,000 legal Democratic voters (mostly African-American), which was more than enough to hand the election to his brother.6 According to the San Antonio news, after Krier trained President Bush's observers for the Florida recount, there was talk she might receive a presidential appointment.7 Instead, she came back to Texas to play a part on Perry's "Transition Team" and ultimately on the Board of Regents. She thanked Perry later in September 2001 with a $5,000 donation.

USAA

On August 28, 2001, USAA announced that Krier would become their "vice president for Texas governmental relations," or more simply put, their lobbyist. A few months later, she was fighting tooth and nail to claim $120 million plus interest for the company. Krier claimed the money as overpaid taxes and the company filed a lawsuit. She cited a provision in state law dating back to 1907 that supposedly justified the claim, saying that insurance companies were exempt from certain taxes, but the law had been recently changed to make insurance companies pay sales, use, and premium taxes.

Carol Keeton Rylander, the state Comptroller, argued that USAA had to pay the taxes that "everyone else does."8 She also said that if USAA was awarded the money, the state of Texas- who's already known for their incredibly low state spending- would lose another $2 billion in similar lawsuits by companies lining up for this corporate welfare. Like a good company lobbyist, Krier clearly prioritized business interests over public interest (exactly what state officials should not be doing). Luckily the judge ruled against USAA and kept the money just in time for the $9.9 billion state budget shortfall. If the shortfall had been another $2 billion, Krier could have argued for higher tuition at the UT System to balance the budget, all for a rich company to get richer.

Bibliography

Boards and Executive Positions

Texas Association of Businesses and Chambers of Commerce:
Board

Texas Taxpayers and Research Association:
Board

Texas Legislative Conference:
Board

Texas Conference of Urban Counties:
Immediate Past Chair

United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County:
Executive Committee/Board

Government Personnel Mutual:
Board

University of Texas Ex Students' Association:
Board

Southwest Texas State University Public Service Academy:
Advisory Board

Alamo Workforce Development Inc:
Committee of Six

Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation:
San Antonio Advisory Board

Alamo Area Council of Girl Scouts:
Advisory Board

Bexar County Housing Finance Corporation:
Board

Bexar County Industrial Development Corporation:
Board

University Interscholastic League Foundation:
Board

Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution:
Board

Texas Water Foundation:
Board

National Archives Foundation:
Board

Sports Fiesta San Antonio (Pan American Local Organizing Committee):
Tri Chair

NCAA Final Four Local Organizing Committee:
Co-Chair

Alamo Area Council of Governments:
Board

Air Improvement Resources Committee:
Executive Committee