Donald L. Evans

Donald Evans

Don Evans was appointed to the Board of Regents in 1995 by then-governor and close friend George W. Bush. Evans helped launch UTIMCO along with Tom Hicks. As chairman of the Board of Regents, Evans oversaw all of UTIMCO's investments; many went to companies tied to Bush's largest contributors. As chairman, Evans did at least ask UTIMCO to hold open meetings, though his suggestion came only after a Houston Chronicle expose that resulted in the resignation of Hicks and Tom Loeffler from the UTIMCO Board.

Evans and Bush

Evans and Bush have had personal and business relations since the 1970's. Over the years, their friendship has remained intact while their business connections have grown. Evans is the former CEO of Tom Brown Inc., an inter-state oil company - just one of the oil companies with which he is associated. In 1989, Bush was appointed as an outside director at Tom Brown. He was given $12,000 in stock options in addition to other stocks. These stocks returned a hefy profit of about $300,000 when Bush sold them in 1994 upond being elected governor. During Bush's stay at the company, he was put on the compensation committee where he helped to raise Evan's pay. When Bush left Tom Brown to become governor, Evans rewarded him with $26,500 in donations. It is no surprise that Bush thought of Evans when looking for a regental appointee in 1995. It is also unsurprising that Evans was a beneficiary when, in 1999, Bush railroaded a $45 million tax break for Texas oil companies through the state legislature.

Evans began his long stint as a Bush supporter by raising money for Bush's unsuccessful 1978 congressional campaign. Evans later founded the "Pioneers" program, the fundraising core for Bush's political ventures. After his stay with the Board of Regents, Evans was appointed chairman of Bush's presidential campaign, where he raised some $100 million. He was given this appointment after he secured $2.5 million in advertising money from Sam Wyly to be spent in an attack on Arizona Senator John McCain. Bush and Evans's multi-decade, mutually beneficial friendship continues today. In January of 2001 Evans resigned from the Board of Regents to become the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.