Most Texans would be forgiven for not knowing what the state’s Railroad Commission does, or how the commission’s chair — Christi Craddick — and her politically prominent family earn money off hundreds of oil and natural gas leases checkered across the state — part of the same industry she was elected to regulate.
Record production has pumped billions of dollars into private and corporate bank accounts. Oil and gas severance taxes have provided a windfall to help the state fund everything from highways to teacher salaries. In the next budget cycle, that collection is projected to top $10 billion.
Texas’ upcoming legislative session could face a renewed push for ethics reform at the state’s Railroad Commission. Transparency regarding commissioners’ business connections has come under fire in recent years — a call for change now reignited by a KXAN investigation.