Rick Perry's Corporate Kingdom
by Steve Rossignol
"There are two things a person should never be forced to see---how the sausage makers make sausage and how a Texas politician makes his daily bread".
Money-laced politics in Texas have never been much of a surprise. From its days as a haven for outlaws and adventurers to the current good-ole-boy smoke-filled rooms at the State Capitol in Austin today, Texas has never seen a shortage of politicos greasing their palms with the public trust.
Governor Rick Perry certainly slides easily into that mold. Perry has been making headlines of late with his repeating endorsements of whoever the current front-runner happens to be in the Republican Presidential contest. His continued sucking-up to the national Republican leadership with the intended goal of a Vice-Presidential nod can best be described as sleazy.
A cursory examination of Rick Perry's financial dealings will show that his money matters are also less than honorable.
(Of course, this is not to say that he is the only one. Just following the news reports in recent months has seen the evidence of dirty money taint Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, and several smaller fish in the Texas corporate pond).
But Perry seems to adopt a certain, casual, laissez-faire attitude with his corporate politics. He does not seem to be in the least abashed by his money dealings, like it is the most natural thing in the world. He attitude evokes that same spirit as that lobbyist who recently passed out $100 dollar bills on the floor of the Texas Legislature during a vote. Governor Rick has adopted the amorality of "if it feels good, do it."
Rick Perry adopted this attitude a long time ago. One may most certainly recall that election season after which the Guv received mega-bucks in contributions from the insurance companies (or was it the highway lobby? Or was it both?). (Texas has few campaign spending laws which restrict contributions). Gee, lo and behold, suddenly there is a new law from the Lege requiring all motorists to have mandatory automobile insurance. And, gee whiz, no sooner had the law been enacted when the insurance companies began jacking up their premiums. (Rick was quick to announce in his "State of the State" speech last February that insurance premium rates were "down" in Texas, even while Texas is the most expensive state in the nation for homeowner insurance).
The year 2007 has provided a bumper crop of Rick Perry corporate gaffes. For instance, in early February, after Governor Rick had announced plans to sell off the Texas State Lottery to a private investment corporation (thus continuing the Perry Legacy of trying to sell off every bit of the Texas public infrastructure), it was announced that Perry's son Griffin was hired by the very same company consulting with the Guv for the sale of the Lottery. And this happened about the same time that Perry's dictate for a mandatory vaccination against the HPV virus was made the very same day that vaccine-maker Merck deposited a $5000 check in the Governors re-election campaign account.
One could also make the case for the corporate sale of the Governor's Trans Texas Corridor plan, wherein Dannenbaum Engineering of Houston, a major player in the Perry Toll Road initiative, helped pay for the Governor's $2 Million Inaugural festivities. Of course, H.B Zachry and Cinta already get to keep the revenues from their new toll roads. How much did they contribute to the Governor? It would also be interesting to trace the Perry money trail a little further here, like how close it gets to the Chinese.
And then there was the Governor's fast Track order to build 12 new coal fired power plants in the state to meet energy demand. The winner on this deal: Utility giant TXU, who incidentally also donated $15,000 to the Governors Inaugural.
And Perry's appointments to the University of Texas Board of Regents are fat cat contributors to his re-election campaigns.
(The good news is that the lottery sale did not go through, the HPV vaccination was nixed by the Legislature, and a court blocked the building of the new coal fired plants. But Perry gets to keep the money).
The above situations are pretty much the ones that have come to light in the state's news media, There is no telling what is still veiled by the smoke-filled rooms. But Rick Perry is ruler of this little corporate empire called Texas right now, and for him, it's good to be the king.
Or maybe just a very high dollar prostitute.