Perry pulling in big bucks from Austin political interests
By Wayne Slater
Dallas Morning News
November 30, 2009
While Rick Perry is bashing rival Kay Bailey Hutchison for palling around with special interests in Washington, he’s doing just fine collecting big bucks from special interests back here at home. it’ll be a couple of months before Perry and Hutchison file their next campaign reports covering the second half of 2009. But here’s a sneak preview, based on some early filings by political action committees that suggest Perry has been replenishing his campaign account with the help of various interests epresenting everything from real estate and toll roads to liquor and horse racing. Most are groups that have business before the state – and some have endorsed the incumbent Perry for reelection.
For example, Perry got $50,000 in September from the Texas Realtors political action committee. He got $35,000 from the state homebuilders PAC and $25,000 from the politically well-connected Hillco lobby shop, whose big giver is Houston homebuilder Bob Perry.
Other big-dollar checks Rick Perry has received since July: $25,000 from the Texas Apartment Association, $10,000 from the nursing home industry, $25,000 from Houston horse and dog racing executive Charles Hurwitz’s PAC, $25,000 from the optometrists and $25,000 from the BG Distribution wine and beer wholesalers. Although highway administrators have declared Perry’s Trans-Texas Corridor project dead, the governor continues to collect from toll-road interests — $25,000 from the political action committee for Houston construction executive James Dannenbaum and $22,000 from toll consulting giant HNTB Holdings.
As for Hutchison, only a handful of political action committee contributions since July have shown up so far in filings with the Texas Ethics Commission. They include $50,000 from the AT&T PAC, $20,000 from the state architects committee and $30,000 from Valero Energy.
The candidates will file their full reports in January covering all contributions — both from individuals and special-interest PACs raised from July through December 31.
Add to that a healthy dose of further abuse of taxpayer money and campaign money….
Gov. Rick Perry’s trip to Vegas includes bachelor party for his son
Thursday, November 26, 2009
By CHRISTY HOPPE / The Dallas Morning News
AUSTIN – They say that what happens in Las Vegas stays there, but for Rick Perry, not all of it has.
The governor’s Oct. 24 political trip to Las Vegas to meet with Brian Sandoval, a Republican candidate for Nevada governor, included a bachelor party for Perry’s son, Griffin, spokesman Mark Miner conceded Thursday.
He initially declined to call it a bachelor’s party, saying he would describe it more as a dinner. He confirmed, though, that it was a celebration of Griffin Perry’s upcoming nuptials joined by a number of his male friends.
Miner said he didn’t know how many people attended the dinner and couldn’t provide details about any other festivity, saying he wasn’t there.
The governor used a combination of money from his political donors and the Republican Governors Association to pay for his Vegas trip. It’s illegal to use campaign funds for personal travel, but Perry has a history of combining business with pleasure trips so that political entities will pick up the tab.
He did it in February 2004 when he and his wife were joined by a handful of campaign supporters and anti-tax advocates on a trip to the Bahamas to discuss public school finance. That summer, he also went on a trade mission to Italy joined by his wife and daughter.
This year, he and his wife went to Israel to talk trade.
Taxpayers do not pay for such travel by the governor or his family, but his security detail is funded by the state. Department of Public Safety officials would not say Wednesday how much that cost.
The Las Vegas meeting with Sandoval might not have been that pressing, as it turned out. The former U.S. district judge and Nevada attorney general came to Austin a little more than three weeks later to attend a Republican Governors Association meeting hosted by Perry.
Perry has been a leader of the RGA, which raises millions of dollars to boost the campaigns of Republican governor candidates.
On the Saturday of the Vegas trip, Perry stayed at the ritzy Palazzo casino and resort where the cheapest rooms go for $239.
He flew to New York the next day to tour Wall Street with Texas business leaders.
Add to that, another hit to taxpayers through extravagant travel. Read more here.
It adds up to a corrupt politician bought and paid for by special interests and motivated by self-interest, which explains his intractable policy of selling off Texas highways to the highest bidder to benefit his Wall Street cronies.