The governing life has been good to Rick Perry! In a densely reported story, Politico's Ken Vogel rips the lid off the treasure trove of perks received by the longtime Texas governor, which take advantage of the state's loose campaign laws that place "few restrictions" on contributions from individuals and political committees. Here's a breakdown of the killer swag and luxury trips he's collected over the years:
Travel: A number of his trips have been paid for in part or in whole by his supporters through campaign money or through TexasOne, his privately funded economic development nonprofit. "Perry’s family often accompanies him on trips to enviable destinations including Key West, China, France, Italy, Qatar and Sweden, where ostensible political or business development purposes mix with stays at five-star hotels and meals at top restaurant," writes Vogel. Other flight expenses paid for include a private jet ride to the Rose Bowl, a trip to Israel, and a family ski trips to Colorado.
Home: a 4,600 square-foot mansion with five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and a heated pool. Taxpayers foot the bill for the rent, which is $8,500 a month. In addition, a mix of campaign and state money has been used for "everything from $1,000 window coverings from Neiman Marcus to a $70 subscription to Food & Wine Magazine to cable bills that included hundreds of dollars in charges for 'movies and events.'"
Gifts: "22 pairs of cowboy boots, Stetson hats, belt buckles, cuff links and at least nine hunting trips." Many of the boots were provided by famed Houston bootmaker Rocky Carrol, which are sold at $500 a pop. Physician and businessman James Leininger has invited Perry to a number of ranches "some of which are stocked with rare African animals," paying for his flight and giving him tickets to San Antonio Spurs games. He also paid for Perry's scuba diving and golfing trip to the Bahamas in 2004. Perry has also received a signed football helmet from legendary running back Emmitt Smith, Rose Bowl tickets, Super Bowl tickets, NBA Finals tickets, high end hair products for his wife and "medical tests" from an aerobics doctor.
Events: Free tickets and expenses paid for lodging and transportation to a "range of football and basketball games" at the invitation of insurance company owner Phil Adams, a friend from Texas A&M. Adams has given almost $290,000 to Perry's various gubernatorial campaigns while being appointed by him to the A&M board of regents.
[Photos: Flickr/Schnaars/CC, Flickr/Nika/CC, Getty Images]
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