Accepting money from Fort Worth-based natural gas driller Quicksilver Resources earned the local League of Women Voters a raspberry from a local environmentalist.

On April 5, the League is hosting Fools Rule, an event to raise money for nonpartisan voter education initiatives.


Don Young sent an email to League president Judy Wood and board members.

His subject line — “Fools indeed.”

His text was no less abrupt.

“By allowing Quicksilver Resources to sponsor your April Fools Rule fundraising event, your credibility and appearance of independence are now in question,” he wrote. “Your endorsement of Quicksilver has the effect of greenwashing this dirty industry and violates your own Mission Statement.

“I find it tragic that yet another, once respected local institution has fallen victim to a filthy industry that is systematically industrializing and endangering all of north Texas,” he continued.  “What were you thinking?”

Wood denied that the League is endorsing Quicksilver, nor that accepting a donation from the company violates the group’s mission statement.

“They’re endorsing us, we’re not endorsing them,” she said.

Wood has been involved in numerous debates about the drilling industry and she said it is “very clear we have our own opinions.”

She praised Quicksilver’s water conservation efforts and lauded Devon Energy for its “significant initiatives” to recycle water at drilling sites. Protecting water sources is one of the League’s primary concerns, she said.

“They are to some degree wanting to do better with the water,” she said. “We want to encourage the rest of the industry to do this. Don Young’s camp is totally anti-drilling and that is not the position of the League of Women Voters.”

Just because Quicksilver made a $500 donation to help pay for Fools Rule doesn’t mean they’ve bought any favors, she said.

“We do not do their bidding,” she said. “It simply means they are helping to sponsor this event. Their sponsorship is not at the highest level by any means but we appreciate every penny we get because we are totally volunteer.”

The League wants to inform people, and that requires forums that cost money. They take contributions but remain politically neutral, she said.

“We welcome participation from all sides of an issue to enlighten the public,” she said.


  1. I agree with the League here. If you have to vet every dollar that you accept in contributions, you’ll never get much and you’ll need a stable of researchers and lawyers. Wood is right: when Quicksilver gives the League $500 dollars to help put on a voter drive, or whatever, it is the League being endorsed, not Quicksilver. Money is all the same color.
    If I am trying to raise some for a charity, I don’t care if it comes from the local bordello, the chief of police, or (ugh) ExxonMobil, so long as I can spend it on the charity and the giver expects no return (other than a tax deduction). And if the giver wants to advertise that they gave me money, well that’s their right.

  2. The only good news here is that it’s only $500.00, hardly the money that Industry drops when they are looking for influence or decisions to roll in their favor.

    The bad news is, Quicksilver will have their name on this as a sponsor, and make people believe they actually give a damn or that there’s some kind of partnership between the organizations.

    Never, ever get in bed with the enemy. I’ll shut down my non-profit before I accept a dime from Industry.

  3. Accepting money from Quicksilver or any gas drilling business is dirty money and questionable in my opinion. If nothing else, it is promoting that company. Does anyone really think they do it out of the goodness of their heart?

    To accept money from just any source is bad policy and not sound judgement.

    To accept money from a prostitution ring or Drug Lord says what? It does make a difference where support and money comes from.

  4. I attended 3 of the 5 debates on waste water injection wells in Fort Worth. I was much impressed by Ms Wood’s FWLWV ‘s representations and voice of concern on the issue. NCTCA of which I am a board member and endorsed the recommendations of the FWLWV. Quicksilver which represented the Industry on these debates seemed unconcerned and issued veiled ominous threats of what Industry might do if we did not support city initiatives to allow injection wells in the city. We, they ( Industry ) just might put injection wells next to neighborhoods in a less protective situation in the county or ETJ if we did not acquiesce to their plans. They also stated that water recycling was not in the future until technology catches up. IE it costs too much to care to do what is right. It is all business and profit. Yhea we get that. Sorry FWLWV taking money for me gives the appearance of influence from the wrong places. The industry will use it to their advantage. We have seen the same influence with charities dependence of donations and the Industry’s buying of philanthropy to PR their own image. They always expect something self serving for their gifts. LFWLWV should not of taken the funding just for the sake of the appearance it might reflect or be construed. Future actions or non actions will tell of influence or not but stand to be judged and take the heat.

  5. While the FWLWV is to be commended for their “current” stance on the destruction of our water sources, taking money from industry for any reason places doubt on that committment and gives Quicksilver credibility where none is due. Gary Hogan is right, they should have turned down the donation as it has now cost them my sponsorship. Oh well, better now than AFTER I send them my donation.

  6. Judy Wood emailed me to say that she praised Quicksilver’s water conservation efforts during our conversation, but said she was speaking of Devon Energy regarding the significant initiatives to recycle water at drilling sites. The company has been working with Fountain Quail Water Management for years in these efforts. I updated the post to reflect this.

    (I first wrote about recycling efforts by Devon and Quail Water back in 2005: )