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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Perry's Inside Money

Perry may be the major "outsider" candidate, but his money is coming from economic and political insiders. Michael Shear writes at The New York Times:

Rick Perry minces no words in declaring what he thinks of the 2008 TARP bailout of big banks, saying in his book that such programs “turn America upside down, totally undermining the idea of limited government, free markets, and federalism.”

But today, Mr. Perry will be hosted at a high-dollar, New York fundraiser by Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg, the former head of the American International Group, a company whose spectacular collapse helped set the stage for the bailouts that Mr. Perry dislikes.

Mr. Greenberg led A.I.G. for decades and was accused of fraud by the New York State attorney general before leaving his post in 2005. The company ended up taking more than $180 billion in federal aid, including more than $40 billion from the TARP program.

The bailout is not, of course, mentioned on the invitation to this evening’s reception, which is billed as part of Mr. Perry’s “Big Apple Kickoff.” The reception will be at The Lotus Club and is listed as requiring a contribution of $2,500 per person.

Sheila Krumholz and Michael Beckel write at CNN:

Merck has given $28,500 to Perry's gubernatorial campaigns since January 2001, according to a new report by Texans for Public Justice, a political watchdog group, which uses data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

And since January 2006, Merck has given an additional $377,500 to the Republican Governors Association, which, in turn, was one of the largest backers of Perry's own campaigns. Notably, Perry also served as the chairman of the governors association from 2007 until last month, when Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell succeeded him, so that Perry could pursue his presidential run.

Perhaps more importantly, Perry's friend, former chief of staff Mike Toomey, spun through the revolving door to become a lobbyist for Merck in Texas, a position he held at the time of the HPV-related executive order.

And as for RGA, Matea Gold writes at The Los Angeles Times:

The biggest political donor to Texas Gov.Rick Perry during his 11-year tenure has not been one of the state's oil barons or cattle ranchers, but a Washington-based organization into which Perry helped funnel millions of dollars.

The Republican Governors Assn. — which Perry chaired twice — gave him $4 million in the last five years, making it the largest single source of the $102.8 million he has raised since 2001.

The organization's donations came as Perry helped infuse the governors' group with millions of dollars from some of his major political patrons. Out of the $217 million the RGA raised between January 2006 and June 2011, $68.7 million came from 139 donors who have also given to Perry, according to a new report being released Tuesday morning by the watchdog group Texans for Public Justice.