40 People Have Passed Through Perry's Staffer-Lobbyist Revolving Door

The staffer who once worked for Merck fits a trend at the Texas governor's office

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Forty people have sauntered through the revolving door of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's office, going from staffers to lobbyists, or lobbyists to staffers, the Huffington Post reports. Some have made mutiple trips. Jason Cherkis and Paul Blumenthal report that the trend holds for Perry's campaign staff, too: "Among Perry's closest campaign aides, at least five have been registered lobbyists, including his communications director, his spokesperson and his political director. Two other ex-staffers who are current lobbyists head Super PACs organized to elect Perry."

Victoria Ford, who was once Perry's deputy legislative director before becoming a lobbyist, told the Huffington Post her resume "been neutral to favorable to me, although I'm not as aggressive about it as some of the other folks who left the office," she said. Ford said that while she doesn't play up her Perry ties, "There are others that take a different approach -- that walk in with their resume first."
Michele Bachmann scored a point against Rick Perry in the most recent Republican debate when she insinuated that his executive order mandating HPV vaccines for tweens was a kickback to Merck -- the drug maker, major Perry campaign donor, and firm Perry's former staffer lobbied for. Bachmann then blew that victory by falsely claiming the vaccine could cause mental retardation. The claim has become a big distraction from what could have been fertile attack ad territory for Bachmann. The Huffington Post offers this example of an ex-Perry staffer whose resume has served him well:
In 2002, Perry announced a plan to build a 4,000-mile stretch of toll roads, rail lines and utility lines. The Trans-Texas Corridor, as it came to be known, was an attempt by Perry to raise revenue through fees the toll roads would collect. The Spanish company Cintra, then seeking to run the toll roads, employed Dan Shelley, a Perry insider, as a consultant. Shelley did not register to lobby at the time. ...
In 2004, the Texas Transportation Commission awarded Cintra the contract to run the toll roads and Perry hired Shelley as his new legislative director. By 2006, Shelley was back out the revolving door and raking in money with a lobbying contract from Cintra that totaled between $275,000 and $470,000 from 2006 through 2011.
Shelley denied that there was any undue influence in his work for Cintra
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