Dan Wilks

Dan H. Wilks

Credentials

  • Diploma, High School. [1]

Background

Dan H. (Howard) Wilks and his older brother, Farris Wilks, made their fortunes by selling their fracking and oilfield services company, Frac Tec, in 2011. According to Forbes, each of the brothers was worth $1.4 billion as of December 2017. [1]

The Wilks brothers worked in their father’s masonry business and founded Wilks Masonry in 1995. However, they “really hit the big time when they got in on the ground floor with fracking.” After selling Frac Tec to the Singapore government for $3.5 billion in 2011, the brothers became major funders of groups part of the religious right. Farris Wilks runs The Thirteen Foundation, known for extensively funding vehement anti-abortion and anti-LGBT groups as well as groups within the conservative political network of petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch. [2], [3]

The Wilks brothers worry that America’s declining morals will especially hurt the younger generation, so they’re using the riches that the Lord has blessed them with to back specific goals,” the Christian Broadcasting Networks’ David Brody reported from an event run by “Christian-Nation extremist“ David Lane in 2013. Farris Wilks has said they want to “bring the Bible back into the school and start teaching our kids at a younger age and focus on the younger generation.” [4], [5]

The previously obscure brothers made headlines when they gave a record-breaking $15 million to back Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential bid, citing his views on abortion and “the morality of the free market” as reasons for their support. [6]

The brothers are also among the largest landowners in Montana, the Billings Gazette reported in 2014. [7]

The Wilks Brothers and PragerU

Dan and Farris Wilks are two of the largest funders of PragerU (AKA “Prager University”). Farris’ Thirteen Foundation gave $1 million to PragerU in 2015, while Dan Wilks has given at least $120,000 through the Heavenly Fathers Foundation, according to publicly available 990 forms reviewed by DeSmog. [8]

PragerU, which is not an accredited academic institution, was created by conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager who has “historically fought against what he describes as ‘liberal’ evils—marriage equality, feminism, and multiculturalism.” According to its 2014 annual report, PragerU was advancing with the specific goal of targeting middle school and high school children. [8]

The group’s “Environmental Science” course is dominated by climate change deniers such as Alex Epstein, Bjorn Lomborg, Patrick Moore, and Richard Lindzen. [9]

Dennis Prager has called campus rape a “gargantuan lie to get votes” and “nonsense” promoted by the “feminist left.” [10]

Heavenly Fathers Foundation

Dan and his wife Staci Wilks run the Heavenly Father’s Foundation. The Foundation has funded a number of organizations known for their strong anti-abortion and anti-gay stances. View recent 990s and funding information below, or see the attached spreadsheet for Heavenly Father’s Foundation donations by year (.xlsx).

Recipient201320142015Grand Total
Mountain Top Church$2,389,000$4,199,569$2,446,500$9,035,069
New Horizon Ministries$1,353,000$1,000,000$1,000,000$3,353,000
Pastors and Pews American Family Association$750,000$1,213,750$1,086,931$3,050,681
Serenity House$334,250$577,250$341,750$1,253,250
Liberty Counsel $250,000$575,000$825,000
Family Talk  $550,000$550,000
Heartbeat International  $550,000$550,000
Eastland County Crisis Center, Inc$201,100$136,100$136,100$473,300
Crossroads Church$90,000$90,000$90,000$270,000
The Open Door$100,000$95,000$65,000$260,000
Gail McWilliams$20,000$118,500 $138,500
Passion Life $125,000 $125,000
Prager University$50,000 $70,000$120,000
Texas Right to Life $50,000$50,000$100,000
Aldersgate Enrichment Center$25,000$25,000$50,000$100,000
Cisco Senior Nutrition Program$32,000$33,000$35,000$100,000
Calvary Chapel of Thousand Oaks  $69,739$69,739
Arlington Life Center$25,000$15,000$25,000$65,000
National Christian Foundation South Florida $50,000 $50,000
Family Service Center$22,000$1,124$20,000$43,124
Eastland county 91st Judicial Criminal DA$25,000  $25,000
Fellowship of Christina Athletes $25,000 $25,000
Goodfellows $10,000$8,100$18,100
Community Bible Study – eTeens $8,450$8,000$16,450
New River Fellowship  $15,000$15,000
Center of Hope Parker County  $15,000$15,000
Highland Church of Christ$10,000  $10,000
Cisco Food Pantry $5,000$5,000$10,000
Cisco Recreation Association  $5,000$5,000
Baptist Church of Cisco$5,000  $5,000
Cisco ISD Ballpark Program$5,000  $5,000
The Gideons International  $2,000$2,000
India Partners Monterey Church of Christ $1,500 $1,500
First Baptist Church Eastland $1,384 $1,384
Juvenile Arthritis $500 $500
No Limitz $500 $500
Wilks Heritage Group  $375$375
Monterey Church of Christ$200  $200
Grand Total$5,436,550$8,031,627$7,219,495$20,687,672

Stance on Climate Change

Dan Wilks’ brother has stated that it is God’s will whether the ice caps melt. Dan Wilks likely holds similar views on climate change, given his funding of organizations like PragerU, which his foundation has given at least $120,000 in funding. [6]

PragerU has extensively promoted climate change denial, with a wide range of speakers including Patrick Moore who declared in a PragerU video that “The science is not ‘settled.’ The debate is not over. The climate is always changing. It always has. And it always will.” [11]

Key Quotes

July 2015

From a statement to CNN discussing the Wilks brothers’ financial support of Senator Ted Cruz:

“We need a true leader in Washington,” Dan Walks said. “A leader that will stand up for biblical morals. We need a leader who is proud of America, not one who apologizes for us. We need a leader who encourages hard work, not one who tells people who don’t work that they should make the same living as people who do. We need a leader who will make sure America doesn’t end up a socialist nation.” [12]

Key Deeds

December 2015

The Washington Post reported that Dan and Farris Wilks were behind a private gathering to rally support behind Ted Cruz’s presidential bid. At the event, Cruz met with 300 prominent faith leaders on the private ranch of Farris Wilks. [13]

During the two-day gathering, participants taped video endorsements for the bid. Mike Gonzalez, who leads the South Carolina Pastors Alliance, said the event included “many of the most prominent spiritual influencers in the country.” Attendees included prominent televangelists John Hagee, as well as James Dobson, founder of Focus on Family. [13]

July 2015

As reported at CNN among other news sources, the Wilks brothers donated $15 million to support Senator Ted Cruz, setting the record at the time for the largest donation in the 2016 presidential campaign. The donation went to Keep the Promise, a super PAC supporting Cruz. [12]

“Our country was founded on the idea that our rights come from the Creator, not the government. I’m afraid we’re losing that,” Farris Wilks said in a statement to CNN. “Unless we elect a principled conservative leader ready to stand up for our values, we’ll look back on what once was the land of opportunity and pass on a less prosperous nation to our children and grandchildren. That’s why we need Ted Cruz.” [12]

Speaking with Reuters, Farris Wilks said: “We support (Cruz) because he believes in the morality of the free market, in keeping our country safe, and in the right of the unborn not to be killed in their mother’s womb.” [6]

“We need a true leader in Washington,” Dan Walks said in his own statement to CNN. “A leader that will stand up for biblical morals. We need a leader who is proud of America, not one who apologizes for us. We need a leader who encourages hard work, not one who tells people who don’t work that they should make the same living as people who do. We need a leader who will make sure America doesn’t end up a socialist nation.” [6]

June 2015

According to Rewire, Dan and Farris Wilks helped push a bill referred to as the “Denton Fracking Ban,” that would prevent any bans on fracking. Based on public records reviewed by Rewire, the Wilks brothers and their wives made more than $800,000 in Texas campaign contributions. [14]

The Denton Fracking Ban, HB 40, would prevent municipalities in Texas from regulating oil and gas activity. [14]

“Every single legislator who received money from the Wilkses in 2014 voted ‘yes’ for the bill. And Gov. Abbott, who signed it into law, took in over $30,000 from the brothers last year,” Rewire noted. [14]

Two other bills, SB 440 and SB 720, were written by Republican Sen. Konni Burton (R-Colleyville) who had received $100,000 in campaign contributions from the Wilkses in 2014. [14]

Greenpeace researcher Jesse Coleman told Rewire that the outlaw of local bans was hypocritical. [14]

“Here you have the crux of democracy in Denton, Texas, where people got together and voted on what they wanted,” Coleman told Rewire in a phone interview. “And now the same industry that is saying that the federal government can’t regulate them, is saying that, no, even on the local level, they can’t regulate them because they don’t want any regulation at all.” [14]

Affiliations

  • The Heavenly Father’s Foundation Trustee.
  • Wilks Masonry Corporation Co-Founder, Co-Owner, and Director. [15]
  • Interstate Explorations LLC — Co-Founder and Co-Owner. [15]
  • Cisco Supply, LTD — Co-Founder and Co-Owner. [15]
  • FTS International Services (Formerly Frac Tech Services, LLC) — Former Director. [15]

Social Media

  • Dan Wilks does not appear to be active on social media.

Publications

Dan Wilks does not appear to regularly publish articles or books. Publications will be added here by DeSmog upon further investigation.

Resources

  1. Dan Wilks,” Forbes, December 30, 2017. Archived December 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Ya0Kp
  2. Bill Berkowitz. “Meet the Frackers: Right-Wing Billionaire Brothers’ Biblical Ambitions,” Truth-Out, September 8, 2014. Archived December 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/KX5tw
  3. The Wilks Brothers: Fracking Sugar Daddies For The Far Right,” Right Wing Watch, June 12, 2014. Archived December 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/AxtmA
  4. Revival in America? Time to Get off the Sidelines!The Christian Journal, August 8, 2013. Archived December 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/YFaqa
  5. Peter Montgomery. “Why Do Republican Officials Keep Partnering With Christian-Nation Extremist David Lane?People for the American Way, June 12, 2015. Archived December 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/nZLLa
  6. Special Report: Touting morality, billionaire Texas brothers top 2016 donor list,” Reuters, September 11, 2015. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/m6zH1
  7. Report: State’s largest landowners keep expanding,” Billings Gazette, October 23, 2014.
  8. Bria Shea. “Fracking Titans Spend Millions Proselytizing School Children,” Rewire, April 30, 2015. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/SphpV
  9. What they Haven’t Told You About Climate Change,” PragerU, July 26, 2015.
  10. NRO‘s Dennis Prager: Campus Rape Culture Is A ‘Gargantuan Lie to Get Votes,’” Media Matters, October 30, 2014. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  11. What they Haven’t Told You About Climate Change,” PragerU, July 26, 2015.
  12. Theodore Schleifer. “First on CNN: Billionaire brothers give Cruz super PAC $15 million,” July 27, 2015. Archived December 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/d3xUy
  13. Katie Zezima. “Ted Cruz huddles with faith leaders at ranch of super PAC donor,The Washington Post, December 29, 2015. Archived January 2, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/YFtyd
  14. Brie Shea. “Local Control? Texas Fracking Billionaires Say ‘Not So Fast’,” Rewire, June 2, 2015. Archived December 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/frNzU
  15. Executive Profile: Dan H. Wilks,” Bloomberg. Archived December 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/dg9pp

Other Resources

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