Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Slick Rick Perry Lied in a National Debate About His $5,000 Merck Contribution

Slick Rick Perry Lied in a National Debate About His $5,000 Merck Contribution

Rick Perry debate comment "If you're saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I'm offended".

The market price of Rick Perry may not be clear but what is clear is that this career politician and crony capitalist has been bought many times by many favor seeking industries over the decades. 

When Rick Perry signed an Executive Order mandating that TX schoolgirls be inoculated with Merck’s Gardasil vaccine, all hell broke loose in TX and the TX Legislature was forced to pass legislation overturning Perry’s EO.  How much was Rick Perry paid for this EO?  It’s a valid question. 

The Washington Post reports in an article titled “
Rick Perry and HPV vaccine-maker have deep financial ties”:

“His gubernatorial campaigns, for example, have received nearly $30,000 from the drugmaker since 2000, most of that before he issued his vaccine mandate, which was overturned by the Texas legislature. reported that Perry’s single largest campaign contributor is the Republican Governors Association (RGA) who gave Rick Perry’s campaign $4 million dollars over the last 5 years.

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 Association - 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.”

What is the Republican Governors Association?  It’s a Republican money laundering operation where corporate special interests donate huge sums of money to campaigns outside of political money disclosure channels in the hope that nobody will notice. 

It has been disclosed that Merck contributed $500,000 to the RGA according to  Also, Rick Perry has served as Chairman of the RGA.   As is typical of the revolving door between big corrupt business and corrupt government, Rick Perry’s close personal friend and former Chief of Staff Mike Toomey became a lobbyist for Merck and the Washington Post reports: 

“One of Perry’s closest confidantes, his former chief of staff Mike Toomey, was then working as an Austin-based lobbyist for Merck, which was in the midst of a multimillion-dollar campaign to persuade states to make the vaccine mandatory.

So let’s recap:  Perry claims he only got $5,000 from Merck when he fact it’s documented that he got $30,000 in direct political contributions and much more through the RGA.  Moreover, his largest single contributor is the RGA who gave Rick Perry’s campaign $4,000,000 and Merck contributed $500,000 to the RGA. 

The RGA itself has been under fire for its campaign fundraising activities and a TX court ruled that its fundraising constituted illegal campaign contributions.  The Houston Chronicle reports:

In 2006, Perry's $1 million contribution from the RGA sparked a lawsuit from Democratic challenger Chris Bell, who claimed the last-minute cash infusion violated state ethics laws because the RGA had not registered as a political committee in Texas. The Perry campaign settled the lawsuit with Bell, but the RGA is appealing a court verdict awarding the Democrat $2 million in damages.

Michigan PAC sent funds
The RGA did not register as a political committee in Texas in 2010, according to the Texas Ethics Commission website. Instead, it funneled its $3 million donation to Perry through its Michigan political action committee.

Washington, D.C.-based attorney Glenn Willard, a former Federal Elections Commission lawyer who advises candidates, political committees, corporations and nonprofit organizations on how to navigate campaign finance regulations, said state laws could, in theory, be used to limit or prohibit officeholders' fundraising activities on behalf of nonprofit political groups that contribute to state campaigns, but he said the specific language would determine whether any ban could be enforced.

The real bottom line is that there is a ton of dirty special interest money sloshing around the political cesspool and politicians will outright lie in an attempt to hide what specific corporate interests have bought and paid for their influence and power.  That’s the real story here – it’s all that secret back channel money that eventually percolates to the top of the fundraising cesspool.

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