Monday, August 29, 2011

Rick Perry Campaign A Lesson In Conservatives' Fiscal Double-Standards

Conservatives like Texas Gov. Rick Perry talk a lot about frugality, but note that Perry has arranged for records of state spending on his travel be kept secret, and that expenses for his security entourage, which helps set up campaign events, are principally paid from the state highway fund, according to The Washington Post.

In the meantime, during a special session that ended July 1, the Texas Legislature, at Perry’s urging, added language to a school finance bill that will seal the governor’s travel records for 18 months — until after the 2012 presidential election...
Before Perry’s travel records were sealed, Texas newspapers were able to shed some light on his travel and the cost to taxpayers, including [a] Bahamas trip.
The records, reported in 2005 by the Austin American-Statesman, showed that Perry and staff members had traveled the previous year to the Bahamas for a meeting with top campaign donor James Leininger, a supporter of public school vouchers and charter schools, his wife, and Grover Norquist, a national anti-tax advocate.
The records showed $4,200 in taxpayer money was spent for the squad of six state troopers who went along, including costs for renting scuba gear, golf cars and cellphones, according to the newspaper...

In 2009, Perry traveled to Israel where he was given the “Defender of Jerusalem” award. According to a local television report, he and his wife flew first class at more than $5,000 per ticket, paid for by an energy company financier.
Four security detail officers also went on the five-day trip at a cost of more than $70,000 to taxpayers. The expenses included $17,000 for rooms at the King David Hotel, nearly $13,000 for food and more than 350 hours in overtime pay...

While Perry pays for most of his travel from his campaign account and donated funds, costs for the security detail are paid largely out of the state highway fund, derived from a gasoline tax and vehicle registration fees.
More details here.

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