August 30, 2011

#RickPerry'sTexasMiracle, personal - from rags to corruption

Rick Perry's a millionaire. That's not a crime, nor surprising.

How he got to be a millionaire, if not a crime, is at the least, ethically shady at times, hypocritical at other times.

First, like Michele Bachmann, he's been living high off the USDA hog:
Like many Texas farmers, Perry benefitted from federal agriculture subsidies. Between 1987 and 1998, Perry received over $80,000 from such programs.
Second, he has a history of dipping his hand heavily in the government till in other ways:
In 1989, Perry's reimbursements made up over half of the private aircraft mileage reimbursed in the Texas House.
He was running for state ag commissioner against Jim Hightower in 1990. It seems likely that much of his officially billed travel was actually pre-campaign travel. (Note; At my first newspaper, I reported on a story that involved both men and the TDA. For more about that, go here. Everything at that link and more is true. Beyond a $25K donation, there were also rumors that Perry encouraged VPG, also known as Voluntary Purchasing Groups, to do everything they could to stall Texas Department of Ag inspectors until after the election. Google "Rick Perry" + either "VPG" or "Voluntary Purchasing Groups." You'll see more. Lots more.)

After that came "lucky" real estate deals and investments. But, as a full-time state official rather than a part-time legislator ... he was either "luckier," or had people who "liked" him more. Based on the reporting history that I mentioned above, which involved a polluting agrichemical business, I don't doubt it was the latter. Given the amount of business in the state the ag commissioner oversees, it would be easy for him to collect plenty of $25K campaign contributions like the one from VPG mentioned in the link immediately above, then "recycle" any unspent campaign funds in some way, shape or form.

For those unfamiliar with VPG, its other site, in Commerce, would eventually be declared an EPA Superfund site. So, yeah, when Tricky Ricky wants dirty money, he'll take really dirty money. And, he has for 20 years. So, his current standoffs with the EPA? Nothing close to new.

Add in that Texas has no limits on campaign contributions, as some of Perry's biggest current donors show, and you can see how easy it could be to become a shakedown artist, a distributor of favors, or both.

Meanwhile, you alleged lower-class goldbrickers? You have company. Tricky Ricky has yet to pay his 2010 income taxes.

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