David Yates Oct. 16, 2014, 3:23pm

BEAUMONT, Texas (Legal Newsline) – Texas’ most well-known asbestos law firms are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and judicial races this election cycle.

The Provost Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont and its co-founder, Walter Umphrey, have spent a small fortune so far in 2014, according to campaign finance reports on file with the Texas Ethics Commission.

The largest receiver of PU money is state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, collecting more than $500,000 in donations from the law firm so far.

The most recent PU donation to Davis was a $100,000 donation on Sept. 25, campaign finance records show.

PU also donated $100,000 to Texans for Family Values, a PAC formed by Houston trial lawyer Mark Lanier.

Also noteworthy, on Nov. 6, 2013, PU donated $15,000 to the re-election campaign of Beaumont Judge Donald Floyd, who presides over numerous lawsuits brought by the firm.

Another Beaumont law firm known for handling asbestos cases, Reaud Morgan & Quinn and Wayne Reaud & Associates, also donated $15,000 each to Floyd this election cycle.

Both firms also contributed thousands of dollars to Beaumont Judge Layne Walker before he announced he would not seek a third term in December.

In other races, on May 22 PU contributed $3,000 to Democratic Texas House candidate Susan Criss, a former Galveston judge who presided over much of the insurance litigation that followed in the wake of Hurricane Ike in 2008.   

On Sept. 24, PU donated $75,000 to Texans for Insurance Reform, a PAC created by Houston trial lawyer Steve Mostyn, who made millions of dollars from Hurricane Ike litigation over which Criss presided.

Also giving to Texans for Insurance Reform this election cycle is the Dallas asbestos law firm Baron & Budd, with a $25,000 donation on Sept. 24, campaign finance records show.

The largest beneficiary of Baron & Budd money this election cycle was the Dallas County Democratic PAC, which has collected a total of $30,000 from the firm so far.

Reach David Yates at elections@legalnewsline.com

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