Cruz mega-donors' path to 'kingdom building' - 2016-01-14
A Texas billionaire who has played a key role in boosting Ted Cruz's presidential campaign — including donating millions to a super PAC and facilitating outreach to hundreds of influential religious conservatives — was charged with assaulting a police officer and accused of threatening his estranged wife during a rough patch of his life, 25 years ago, according to court documents obtained by POLITICO.
Dan Wilks was a key figure behind a private confab to recruit support for Cruz from 300 evangelical leaders and donors last month at a ranch owned by his brother, Farris Wilks, outside their hometown of Cisco, Texas. The brothers, who earned their fortune in fracking, cited a belief that Cruz would infuse American politics with biblical principles when they and their wives donated a combined $15 million to a super PAC supporting the Texas senator's campaign. The family's donations made them the biggest disclosed donors of 2016 so far, and suddenly cast them into the spotlight on a national political stage on which mega-donors have become public figures in their own rights and even campaign issues.
It's a far cry from the life Dan Wilks was living in 1991, as described in the documents on file in Texas courthouses in Denton, Eastland and Comanche counties. Wilks was scraping just to get by and enmeshed in messy divorce proceedings, during which his estranged wife accused him of threatening her. He also fell behind on child support, the documents show.