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Perry's piggybank

Cowboy hat By Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer - Mon., 11/21/11
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"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, the 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 Rock, Texas. But it's been ages since Perry walked with the good folks of Paint Rock. Now in his 27th year in political office, this guy has consistently walked with Mr. Money and been his loyal servant.

Let's take a peek at Perry's "piggybank"--not his personal money (though it is curious how he became a millionaire while doing nothing but government work), but the Texas Enterprise Fund, Perry's $400 million tax-dollar slush fund. TEF is supposed to be a cache of state cash for the governor to dole out as incentives for corporations to create jobs--but its results are somewhere between pathetic and a scam.

The fund has, however, been a boon both for Perry's re-election campaigns and the coffers of his corporate benefactors. For example, 20 of the governor's top corporate donors who put a total of $6.5 million into his electioneering pockets, have been rewarded with a stunning $116 million in TEF handouts. The watchdog group, Texans for Public Justice, reports that Caterpillar gave $124,000 to Perry and got 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 Piggybank from

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Filed Under: Money, Politics, Republicans