The nexus of political gossip right now isn’t the Cloak Room, the Austin Club, or any of the dark, whiskey-soaked haunts where politicos while away their evenings. It is the precise location, at any given time, of Harvey Kronberg. The short, bespectacled chronicler of Texas political dramas, Harvey—as practically everyone at the Capitol knows him—might not immediately strike you as a power broker. He doesn’t wear the high-dollar, hand-tailored suits of top lobbyists. He doesn’t have the glib ease and polish of state senators who take him into their confidence. A part-time flag salesman, the fifty-year-old Houston native is decidedly ordinary. He would be easy to overlook if his newsletter, the Quorum Report, and its Web site had not become required reading for Austin politicos. The man who once made a living selling belt buckles on the Drag is now a force to be reckoned with.To walk through the Capitol with Harvey is to understand that he is exceedingly well connected. Senator Jane Nelson squeezed his arm one morning this spring and said, “Behave yourself, Harvey!” Senator John Whitmire: “What kind of skulduggery are you up to, Harvey?” Senator Ken Armbrister: “Whatever you want to know, Harvey, I don’t know it.” All the while, a faint bzzz emanated from Harvey. He is constantly buzzing and vibrating with tips, thanks to the cell phone and two-way pager he keeps strapped to his belt.
His preferred method of information gathering, however, is what he calls trolling. This consists of working the hallways outside committee rooms, where guys wearing loud ties and