by Artemio “Temo” Muniz
There is an interesting battle going on between Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Ted Cruz and Donald Trump donor Paul Singer over the purchase of Oncor Electric Delivery Company, a Texas electric transmission that matters to 3 million Texans. As a recent article in the “Capitol Inside” describes some of the behind the scenes of the attempt by Buffett’s group to purchase Oncor. Ever since 2012 or so, when the national Republicans and conservative figures began blasting Buffett for his lobbying of the complete stoppage of the construction of the Keystone pipeline, I have been fascinated in how very important issues that affect our energy supply seem to fade in the background while our party engages in loud, bombastic policy battles. BNSF, owned in majority by Buffett, benefited because it was railing in oil, and the Keystone Pipeline would be bad for its business bottom-line. As conservative blogosphere chatter grew in its intensity against Buffet, it was in Tampa Bay at the 2012 RNC Convention that BNSF was plastered everywhere a major corporate sponsor, and the chatter about BNSF benefiting while the Keystone Pipeline was on hold disappeared.
According to the article in Capitol Inside, Paul Singer and his company Elliot Holdings wants to have a competitive shot at buying Oncor. My hope is that as the Texas Public Utility Commission looks over the proposed purchase of Oncor by Buffett, that they slow it down and allow Elliot Management a competitive shot at the purchase. In Texas where Republicans rule, a level playing field is paramount. Sure, I root for GOP supporting businesses to be successful knowing that they are contributors to the overall cultural and policy battles around the nation but in this situation what matters is that our Republican leaders make sure the process is slowed down to allow Paul Singer an equal shot. Such an important purchase should be competitive. We do not need our Republican party to receive any more negative media such as the recent “Buffett Bill” where according to Jay Root of the Texas Tribune,
On Tuesday, the Texas Senate used emergency powers to introduce what was quickly dubbed the “Buffett Bill,” Senate Bill 2279, granting the Oracle of Omaha a special exemption. On Wednesday the author set the bill for a public hearing in a Senate committee. And on Thursday it shot out of the panel like a lightning bolt toward the Senate floor. In Capitol parlance, what Buffett is getting is known as a “carve-out,” a special deal for one company. In the case of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, it was an exemption from the supposedly hallowed rule that vehicle manufacturers can’t be vehicle dealers. Berkshire Hathaway also owns an RV manufacturer, Forest River Inc., in Indiana.
Fellow Republicans should be vigilant. If there is a favoring of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, it needs to stop, slowed down and competitive once again. The GOP brand is important, voter perception is crucial to our future. The appearance of favoring certain businesses can lead to the erosion of the GOP brand in Texas, and can even be more damaging when there appears to be the favoring of corporations who reign nationally as the top contributors of the Democratic Party.
Artemio “Temo” Muniz has been called by the Wall Street Journal “part salesman for the Republican Party and part agitator within it.” Temo serves as chairman of the Texas Federation Hispanic Republicans, Engagement Committee Chair for the Young Republican National Federation, Chairman of the Texas Young Republican PAC and appeared in Dinesh D’Souza’s political film “America: Imagine a World Without Her”.
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