At the beginning of the year, The National Journal's blog, The Hotline, asked the question: "Ever Heard of the Legacy?" It sounded like a terribly general query, but it was a very specific reference to a gathering that took place in Washington, D.C., in late January, during which "140 of the nation's wealthiest social and moral conservatives sequestered themselves" to talk politics, specifically conservative politics; hence the appearance of Sen. Bill Frist and the talk about getting John Thune elected in South Dakota. At the time, The Hotline had a good idea of what Legacy was (wealthy conservatives who formed a network that essentially auditioned candidates, even for president, to see if they were good compassionate conservatives and worthy of having money shoveled their way), but not who was behind it.
"The group meets twice each year, once in Washington in winter and once every summer in Colorado Springs. The latter conclave brings together members and their families. There's even a kids program.
Two confirmed members of the group: Walden Media billionaire Phillip Anschutz and Steve Friess, the son of wealthy private banker and philanthropist Foster Friess."
The new issue of Time magazine has more answers--and, as it turns out, Legacy's legacy begins right here in Dallas.
Last month, Legacy had its Colorado Springs get-together at the fancy Broadmoor Hotel and Resort. And, as it turns out, says Time:
"Legacy was started by two Dallas businessmen: Ray Washburne, a real estate and Tex-Mex-restaurant baron, and George Seay III, founder of the Seay Stewardship & Investment Co. and grandson of former Texas Governor Bill Clements. Its members are mostly young--in their 30s and 40s--and wealthy, through entrepreneurship, inheritance or both. They are Christians concerned with social justice, in the mold of Rick Warren of Purpose Driven Life fame, and practice their faith without, as a Broadmoor attendee put it, 'quoting Leviticus'--a reference to the harder-edged rhetoric at other gatherings of social conservatives.
Organizers declined to be interviewed, saying they want to continue working below the radar. [Senator John] Cornyn tells Time that the founders 'have been beneficiaries of the political activity of their parents, and want to step up now that they're the next generation in line.' Legacy, he says, fills 'a vacuum between national organizations and political activists who are grandparents.'"
Word is Legacy's the group you gotta get through if you wanna be president. At least, that's what one Bush buddy tells Time: "If you're running for President, it is the place to go." Really? You have to go through the former publisher of Jackpot! and The Met if you want to become the most powerful person in the world? The same guy who's behind Mi Cocina, Taco Diner, Mainstream Fish House and the late Paris Vendome? Guess it does make a certain amount of sense: Washburne's a major contributor to George W. Bush's 2004 campaign, the Republican National Committee and the campaigns of such GOP leaders as senators John Cornyn and Rick Santorum. And the tacos de camaron and mambo taxis at Mi Cocina are delicious. --Robert Wilonsky