Ted Cruz’s super PAC just received $15 million from a pair of billionaire brothers, but it might not be the duo you first thought.
The Wilks, Farris and Dan, who keep a lower profile than the politically influential Koch brothers, are the new donors. According to CNN, the Texas siblings are devoutly religious, unassuming, and extremely wealthy, having made their fortunes in the controversial fracking boom. Their donation to Senator Cruz is significant for a couple of reasons and will likely put the otherwise reclusive family into the partisan fray.
First, the Wilks’ donation is huge, even for presidential politics. Ted Cruz’s super PAC, Keep the Promise, will disclose its election filings next week, and the brother’s combined $15 million commitment is expected to be the largest contribution in the $38 million fund. Cruz is projected to have more money than any other Republican presidential candidate except Jeb Bush. Even New York hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer only put out $10 million for the senator’s campaign.
Second, the contribution is coming from incredibly private individuals
Luke Macias, a political strategist in Texas who has worked with the Wilks family, explained, “If Dan and Farris walk into a room, they don’t want ever to be known, to be announced. They just come in and sit in the back. They are normal people. They dress normal. They show up normal.”
The brothers are now worried the high-profile handout will bring unwanted attention to their families and church. Nevertheless, Forbes already profiled Farris and Dan and their meteoric rise, calling them undercover billionaires.
The brothers followed in their father’s footsteps as masons until 1995, when they ventured into hydraulic fracking. They founded the company Frac Tech, which provided oil field services during the Great Shale Gas Rush of North Texas.
They sold off Frac Tech in 2011 for $3.5 billion.
By some accounts, the money never changed the brothers, although it has given them a voice for their socially conservative politics. Farris Wilks explained why he made the contribution to Senator Cruz to CNN.
“Our country was founded on the idea that our rights come from the Creator, not the government. I’m afraid we’re losing that. Unless we elect a principled conservative leader ready to stand up for our values, we’ll look back on what once was the land of opportunity and pass on a less prosperous nation to our children and grandchildren. That’s why we need Ted Cruz.”
Farris is a pastor at the Assembly of Yahweh 7th Day, which interprets every word of the Bible literally. Aside from fears that their beliefs were under attack, the Wilks brothers were also driven into politics and Ted Cruz’s corner by their opposition to abortion.
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