Rick Perry — who is still governor of Texas and is soon moving back to the official gubernatorial residence in Austin that was recently rebuilt to the tune of $25 million — is not the first politician to be criticized for spending lots of money for personal comfort. But we wanted to know how it stacked up to previous scandals of extravagance.
Perry's mansion mess is mostly an issue of bad timing. The building, which also has some public spaces, was badly damaged in a fire two years ago and needed repairs. The cost comes out just as the fiscally conservative former presidential candidate is asking state agencies to cut budgets 10 percent, Bloomberg reports. It may have some public access, but renovations sound pretty nice for Perry, too: There's a 1,500-square-foot expansion of living quarters and "inch-thick longleaf pine floors."
Even when politicians are not spending taxpayer money, especially expensive purchases — whether it's John Edwards' $400 haircut or Callista Gingrich's $500,000 credit line at Tiffany and Co. — can look bad politically. Just ask Mitt Romney, whose wealth bothers one in five voters according to a recent Gallup poll. For politicians who want Americans to feel like they're "one of them," feeding the inner consumer can be damaging.
To see how they stack up against other politically shameful purchases, we compared a bunch for you, in this interactive graphic.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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