National Politics - 2016

Rick Perry’s Real Problem: Rampant Corporate Cronyism

BUT IS THE “SCANDAL BENEATH THE SCANDAL” ENOUGH TO SINK HIS REKINDLED 2016 HOPES? So Texas Gov. Rick Perry – in the midst of an immigration-fueled renaissance on the national political stage – got himself indicted last week.  Of course to hear “Republicans” in Texas tell it, Perry did nothing wrong…


So Texas Gov. Rick Perry – in the midst of an immigration-fueled renaissance on the national political stage – got himself indicted last week.  Of course to hear “Republicans” in Texas tell it, Perry did nothing wrong – and the whole dust-up is nothing but a Democratic hit job.

But what’s their motivation for saying that?  Is it Perry’s presidential prospects (brought to the fore by a recent four-day trip to Iowa)?  Or is it the ongoing battle for control of the Lone Star State as Perry prepares to leave office in January after fourteen years in power?

According to the GOP establishment in Texas, there’s no mystery to the indictment: Perry is being persecuted for the proper exercise of his executive authority, they say – specifically an effort to hold a Democratic district attorney accountable for her remarkable display of bad judgment in office.

As we noted in our coverage, the drama stems from the April 2013 arrest of Democrat Rosemary Lehmberg – a district attorney who runs the Travis County public integrity unit.  Lehmberg was busted for driving while intoxicated (DWI), at which point she proceeded to launch into an epic drunk hissy fit.

Perry responded to the incident by saying (or strongly implying) that he was going to veto funding for Lehmberg’s public integrity unit unless she stepped down – which she refused to do.

So, he vetoed the funding.

Now … if that were the extent of the story, we’d be inclined to side with Perry.  In fact we’d probably have set aside our prior misgivings about him and published some gushing knee-jerk piece that defended him and assailed the litigious lefties attempting to “slow his roll” for 2016.

You know, like the piece posted …

“This entire exercise is so shocking to the sensibilities of ordinary people with respect to what a Governor is and what he does that I would ultimately not be surprised to see it blow up in the face of all concerned who latch on to it,” Leon Wolf wrote for the website. “It’s a pity that Rick Perry has to divert his time and attention from his actual duties to confront it, and it sets a worrisome precedent.”

Again, we’re inclined to agree on the “precedent” part.  But just because Perry’s antagonist in this drama is a drunk Democrat with an itching inferiority complex – and just because the grounds for his indictment seem rather shallow – that doesn’t mean we need to fit Perry for the ten gallon white hat.

Not by a long shot …

In our original coverage of Perry’s indictment, we noted that at the time of her DWILehmberg’s unit was probing Perry’s involvement with the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) – one of the his pet projects.  According to reports, the CPRIT – whose former director has also been indicted – was using taxpayer money to dole out favors to Perry supporters.

Last spring, the Texas watchdog website Hard Hatters  published a huge investigative report revealing the extent of the problem.


“Looking into the state and federal campaign contributions made to the five politicians who have the most influence on the decisions made by the oversight committee (Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Speaker of the House Joe Straus, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Comptroller Susan Combs), one would find many instances of contributions made by the CEO’s, presidents, owners, board members and other relevant employees of organizations who received CPRIT grants,” the report noted.

How much money are we talking about?

“Members of these groups, whose combined haul was over $688 million in CPRIT funds, donated over $28 million to campaigns of those five politicians who all had a say in which groups received funding,” the report stated.

Wow … can anybody say “pay-to-play?”

It turns out CPRIT is just one of several taxpayer-funded entities that’s been under investigation for similar shadiness.  The Emergency Technology Fund (ETF), for example, is another secretive group stacked with Perry loyalists that’s doled out hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars – ostensibly to promising start-up companies.

One of the grants – worth $4.5 million – went to a Perry donor who was able to sidestep its so-called “review panels.”

“No one’s minding the candy store,” one Texas opinion writer wrote in reference to this fund.

Then there’s the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF), which has doled out more than half a billion dollars since its creation in 2004 – never receiving the attention of state auditors.  According to a 2010 report in the Texas Observer , twenty of the fund’s 55 grant recipients were donors to either Perry or the Republican Governors’ Association (RGA), which he led in 2008 and again in 2011.

Those grants totaled more than $174.2 million – not a bad return on the $2.2 million these cronies donated to Perry and the RGA.

Texas lawmakers have decided to zero out funding for the TEF in the current budget (good for them), but at last count the fund still had more than $150 million to dole out as Perry and his cronies see fit.

“That’s how they ‘create jobs,'” one Lone Star limited government advocate told FITS.

That money – like some of the CPRIT money – is likely to accrue to the benefit of Perry’s heir apparent Greg Abbott, the sitting Attorney General who currently enjoys an eight-point lead in the polls over Democrat Wendy Davis.

Which means the scandal is unlikely to end when Perry leaves office …

Of course as Perry campaigns in early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, voters should focus not on the particulars of the indictment against him – but rather on the “scandal beneath the scandal,” the hundreds of millions of dollars in market-manipulating, crony capitalist subsidies doled out to his political allies courtesy of Texas taxpayers.


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George Kafantaris August 18, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Targeting and thwarting an ongoing investigation is no small matter as it undermines the essential fact finding function of our judicial system.
“At the time of Mr. Perry’s veto last year, prosecutors in the unit had been investigating a state agency called the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. The agency — one of Mr. Perry’s signature initiatives — came under scrutiny by state lawmakers after accusations of mismanagement and corruption; a former official there was indicted last year for his handling of an $11 million grant.”
This can be deemed as an effort “to thwart the investigation into the cancer-research agency” — it shows he was “trying to scrap the ethics unit for other than his stated reason.”

Sandi Morals August 18, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Just like Obama and the DOJ telling the IRS to lose all the emails to “thwart the investigation” and the impeachement of Obama.
Excellent post. :-)

Mary August 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Nikki Haley, who I voted for in 2010, is just as bad as Perry. She has perfected the art of the shake down. She rarely goes anywhere without a fundraiser being held for her, even if it is a small informal affair where she picks up a “measly” (to her) 10 grand.

Look at her list of donors and you will see the employees and suppliers to firms like Walmart and Boeing and others that have been given the largess of the taxpayer and have repaid Ms. Haley for the State’s funds.

It is very easy to make money off the official position of Governor.

Sandi Morals August 18, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Right. You voted for Haley in 2010.
You got a problem with a candidate having money you might want to check out ‘traitor’ Tommy Ervin.
Thru June he had spent a “measly” 3.5 MILLION $$$$$ on his campaign-more than Haley OR Sheheen COMBINED.

Steve August 18, 2014 at 7:19 pm

your boss Haley is going to end up spending more than that just to pay you to post here 100 times per day.

Sandi Morals August 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm

I don’t work for Haley. I even respect Ervin for apparently turning $108,000 from a 401-k/IRA into several MILLION $$$$$ in a couple of months with only $62,000 in campaign contributions thru June.

Damn mob or ISIS , in my opinion, couldn’t generate money this fast. :-)

Sandi's Boss August 19, 2014 at 10:40 pm

You too can make $4700/month from home!

All you have to do is call 1-800-Sikh-Cash now!

Ellen August 19, 2014 at 7:21 am

I swear your, Sandi, are gonna make me for for anyone but Haley. Your post are truly idiotic.

Smirks August 19, 2014 at 8:14 am

B-B-B-B-BUH-BUH-BUT TOM ERVIN IS LITERALLY HITLER! Seriously guys, I’m totally not being paid to say this in like every Haley thread (and many non-Haley ones)! Honest!

ReElect Nikki August 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Perry is for “limited government and the free enterprise” system.”

I know this because he says so.

Sandi Morals August 18, 2014 at 7:05 pm

They after Perry because he gained “traction” on the immigration issue and the American people understood. Has nothing to do with the drunk district attorney in Austin.
Just like the looting/rioting in Ferguson has NOTHING to do with demanding civil rights and justice for a felonious,doped up thug.
It is nothing more than a fundraiser and chance to register voters for the Democrats.

Workin' It & Jerkin' It August 18, 2014 at 7:51 pm

You’ll believe Haley and Perry are the fucking salt of the Earth as long as they keep you on board, huh?

tomstickler August 18, 2014 at 8:19 pm

The New Republic has a few “corporate cronyism” examples:

Just a taste: “His failed highway and rail plan, the Trans-Texas Corridor Initiative, would have required a massive land grab at a time when many conservatives have grown wary of eminent domain takings. But the project also would have benefited three highway contractors who had contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to him. His attempt to mandate that Texas girls receive a vaccine for HPV, seemingly at odds with Perry’s social conservatism, looked more explicable when one considered that his former chief of staff was lobbying for Merck, the vaccine’s manufacturer. And yes, Merck contributed $30,000 to Perry over his first decade as governor. Back in 1999, Perry’s first year as lieutenant governor, an e-mail from a Dallas insurance executive surfaced claiming that, by offering a $25,000 contribution, a lobbyist had convinced Perry against convening a Senate committee on insurance deregulation; shortly after the e-mail was sent, Perry received $19,000 at an insurance industry fund-raiser. In 2008, Perry requested a Texas waiver from federal ethanol mandates—one month before an East Texas poultry producer who was pressing for the waiver to keep his feed-costs lower contributed $25,000 to Perry.”

Sandi Morals August 18, 2014 at 8:47 pm

99,000 $$$$$$ of contributions to Perry in your post.
How does Ervin turn $108,000 from a 401-K /IRA and only $62,000 in campaign contributions into over 3.5 MILLION $$$$$$.

Yawn... August 18, 2014 at 8:33 pm

He’s just being a good Republican. What’s news in this story?

Bible Thumper August 18, 2014 at 9:22 pm

It may hurt Perry politically, but there is a couple of problems. Crony capitalism is not a crime. Perry was not a target of the investigation.

Rockin' for Sandi August 18, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Time for another photo-op with Hannity along the border for ole’ Rick. Hey, I wonder how much Nikki had to pay him to stand looking forelorn and lonely at her empty re-election kickoff last year in upstate. What was it, like thirty people a cat and feret showed up?

shifty henry August 19, 2014 at 3:53 pm

There were TWO ferrets humping just off stage, and did you notice the looks on the guys’ faces wondering, “If I could just get Nikki alone…?”

Vanguard16 August 18, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Perry is going to jail….like Harrell!! LMAO!!

TontoBubbaGoldstein August 18, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Rick Perry’s Real Problem:

Birth Control glasses.

shifty henry August 19, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Every time I see him, I want to start singing any Buddy Holly song…

TontoBubbaGoldstein August 19, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Hillary’s Benghazi testimony had TBG singing “Take me out to the Ballpark”.

shifty henry August 19, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Every time I see him, I want to start singing any Buddy Holly song…

Nölff August 19, 2014 at 8:06 am

He does what he’s told to do. He does it well. If his IQ was any higher, he might be dangerous.

Those glasses are meant to make him look smart after the whole “I can’t remember the other one. eewps. hyuck hyuck” Republican presidential debate.

GrandTango August 19, 2014 at 8:17 am

Hey FITS, the SCOTUS (that you sometimes worship) told us Corporations are PEOPLE. And they are people who produce pay the taxes. So your Stupid @$$ ought to get as COZY w/ them as you can. Rick Perry must be a lot smarter than you.

Instead: You and Obama Cozy up to your Welfare Cronies, who do nothing but suck up food stamps, free housing and entitlement checks…Then you riot when you attack the Po’lis… and get consequences for your violence.

Ignorance breeds failure…and no where is that more apparent than with FITS and Obama.

Smirks August 19, 2014 at 8:23 am

Rick Perry must be a lot smarter than you.

I’ll say. After all, he is the president now. You know, just like you predicted.

Whereas Rick needs a pair of glasses to not look like a goober, I’m afraid there’s no help for you. Too far gone.

GrandTango August 19, 2014 at 8:37 am

LMAO: It’s funny how you liberals exist on your fables, lies and myths.Look at Ferguson or Global Warming. No matter how much evidence rejects you…you cling to your delusions. Reality is meaningless to you.

You are a GLOWING example.

PS: If Perry became president, I bet you’d crap your pants, and immediately drop that myth… along w/ your disgraced user-name.

Sandi Morals August 19, 2014 at 9:05 am

Got that right about Perry and Smirks aka ‘Limbaughsackhkunt”. His user-name is disgraced after his “sockpuppet” fiasco Saturday night. Better to be known as one moron than two. :-)

PastorLundquist August 19, 2014 at 11:57 am

man fuck you. i’m sick of seeing your fucking name and your dumbshit all over this site. go fuck yourself.

GrandTango August 19, 2014 at 12:22 pm

The only thing a blind leftist hates more than the truth, is seeing it in writing.

As long as you can swill bliss, based on the lies and Bull-$#!t you’re fed, you are tranquil.

I’m here to Slap ignorant MoFos like you upside the head. And I’m so glad it P!$$#$ you off. I just want you to make a move to try and shut me up…you anti-Speech @$$-hole. PLEASE!!!!

PastorLundquist August 19, 2014 at 2:01 pm

okey dokey. address please?

GrandTango August 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm

LMAO…The Michael Brown brand of intelligence. Dumb@$$…

John August 19, 2014 at 9:58 am

Fuck Texas.

idiotwind August 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm

big problem with political parties and the tribalism they encourage. no matter what you do, half the country is gonna say the other half is just playing politics. there is no accountability until we stop voting for parties. we are being played for fools.

This just in. . . August 19, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Fighting Words from Rick Perry
By Andy Borowitz

AUSTIN (The Borowitz Report) — Lashing out at what he called the “Soviet-style” tactics of the indictments against him, Texas Governor Rick Perry said on Tuesday that the government had “grossly overstepped its traditional role of mandating transvaginal ultrasounds.”

Speaking to supporters in Austin, Perry blasted the indictments and called for a return to an era of limited government that focusses on requiring gynecological procedures.

“We are living in dark days indeed when the state of Texas is spending time and money probing its officials instead of its women,” he said, to thunderous applause.


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