The Hightower Report
Contributing to Rick Perry's campaigns can produce a great return on investment
Perry's Piggy bank: The TEF
"Tell me with whom you walk," goes the old adage, "and I'll tell you who you are."
Maybe you're wondering just who the heck this Rick Perry guy is, this loud-talking, slow-thinking Texas buckaroo who says he should be your president. His PR storyline is that he's just a straight-shooting, conservative politico out of Paint Creek, Texas. But it's been ages since Perry walked with the good folks of Paint Creek. Now in his 27th year in political office, this guy has consistently walked with Mr. Money and been the loyal servant of the corporate powers.
Let's take a peek at Perry's "piggy bank" – not his personal money (though it is curious how he became a millionaire while doing nothing but government work). Rather, check out the Texas Enterprise Fund, a stash of some $400 million in tax dollars that Perry has essentially used as a political slush fund. TEF is supposed to be a cache of state cash for him to dole out as incentives for corporations to create jobs – but its job-creation performance is somewhere between pathetic and a scam.
The fund has, however, been a boon for Perry's re-election campaigns and for the coffers of his corporate benefactors. For example, 20 of the governor's top corporate donors that have put a total of $6.5 million into his electioneering pockets, have been rewarded with a stunning $116 million in TEF handouts. In a recent analysis, watchdog group Texans for Public Justice found that Caterpillar gave $124,000 to Perry and received more than $9 million from TEF, Lockheed Martin put $232,000 in Perry's pay-to-play scheme and got $5 million back in state money, and GE put in $640,000 and got $4 million from the fund.
To see with whom else he walks, get the full report on Perry's piggy bank from www.tpj.org.
For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown" – visit www.jimhightower.com .You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.