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Kinder Morgan has close ties to GOP

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Kinder Morgan Energy Partners is nothing if not well plugged into the national GOP network.

Formed in the mid-1990s by two members of the Texas oil fraternity, Richard Kinder and William Morgan, the company enjoys close ties to President Bush and the Republican Party. Through its officers, it has spread money liberally on the national political scene, pouring nearly $700,000 into federal races since 1999.

Nancy Kinder, Richard's wife, is the southern Texas finance chairwoman for Bush-Cheney '04, the president's re-election committee. She's one of Bush's "Rangers" - supporters who have agreed to raise $200,000 or more apiece for his campaign.

Both Kinders worked at Enron Corp. He was its one-time president and she the former chairman's personal assistant. Today, Richard is chairman and CEO of one of the nation's largest pipeline companies, a partnership that turned more than $1billion in revenues last year.

With more than 25,000 miles of pipelines throughout the United States, Kinder Morgan has focused its political spending largely at the national level.

The vast majority of cash has gone to the Republican Party or its candidates, though some has gone to individual Democrats.

Nationally, the big winners have been Bush and the Republican National Committee.

Richard alone has given $470,242 in unregulated "soft money" to the Republican National Committee's state elections committee since May 2000, as well as $10,000 to a Republican fund for state elections in 1999 and $45,000 to the RNC for its own use.

His wife has contributed an additional $45,000 into RNC coffers since mid-2000.

Although the Kinders together have given $6,000 to Bush's various campaign committees, their real value has been in helping drum up other donors for the president.

Other key company executives who, along with their spouses, have given to Bush include Morgan; Morgan's son, Michael C. Morgan, the partnership's president; David Kinder, nephew of Richard and a company vice president; Vice President and General Counsel Joseph Listengart; Chief Financial Officer C. Park Shaper; Vice President for Human Resources James Street; and Thomas B. Stanley, president of the company's terminals division.

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