So much for renting out the Lincoln bedroom...
jbone at place.org
jbone at place.org
Wed Nov 5 18:41:32 PST 2003
Remember all the "outrage" about the (cough, sputter) "nasty, corrupt,
amoral" Clintons giving overnight privileges and Lincoln Bedroom stays
to big Dem donors?
Sounds a bit hollow to me. By which I mean: mind-blowingly
hypocritical. Granted, this isn't "Prez" --- it's just the guy that's
got his former job. But hey --- while Bush might not have given
overnight privileges to big donors, he's just given them administration
posts and lots of policy latitude... Ken Lay had an office in the
White House. But hey, we'll never know why --- "executive privilege"
and "national security."
Blame Clinton. It's easier. He must've invented favoritism from whole
Perry-related solicitation draws criticism
Donors promised hunting trips with Texas governor
By Ken Herman
Tuesday, November 4, 2003
A new economic development effort based in the governor's office is
offering corporate executives an opportunity — at a cost of $150,000 —
to eat, meet and hunt with Gov. Rick Perry.
The goal is to raise $5 million to help Perry pitch a business
recruitment plan anchored by the state's new $295 million Enterprise
According to the solicitation, for $150,000, paid over three years,
executives and others interested in economic development get to attend
an annual quail hunt with Perry "at one of Texas' premier ranches," as
well as a "signature luncheon" at the Governor's Mansion, a "business
briefing" with Perry and their corporate logo on "marketing materials."
There also are perks packages for donors who give $75,000, $30,000,
$15,000 or $3,000.
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Charles Soechting blasted the
Republican governor for linking money and access.
"Rick's latest extortion racket is both greedy and seedy," Soechting
said. "He should immediately apologize to the businesses to whom he is
trying to sell access."
Perry spokeswoman Kathy Walt said critics are missing the real
motivation for donors.
"They are investing in the expansion of the Texas economy, something in
which they directly benefit," she said. "The donors will be investing
not just in their future but the future of Texas."
She added that other states have similar marketing efforts.
Walt said donors will get invited to events, but a donation "doesn't
pay your way to the event." The cover letter on the solicitation packet
is signed by Massey Villarreal, president of TexasOne, a non-profit
organization established by Perry to market the Enterprise Fund.
"This is a $295-million deal-closing fund approved by the 78th Texas
Legislature and signed into law by Governor Perry," Villarreal said in
the letter. "TexasOne will complement this effort by creating a
'deal-opening' fund to establish our state as the national leader in
business expansions, relocations and job creation."
"As a (business) leader, Governor Perry needs your support to make this
initiative a success," Villarreal added.
Texas lawmakers this year moved the state's economic development
functions into the governor's office and, at Perry's behest, set up the
$295 million Enterprise Fund to recruit business to the state.
Perry announced the TexasOne program at a September business summit in
Austin, calling the $5 million solicitation "the next step in our
aggressive effort to bring jobs and prosperity to communities across
He announced that private donations would be solicited, but made no
mention that donors would get access to him.
In addition to the other perks, "tier one" donors who give $150,000
will join an advisory committee "that will provide recommendations on
the implementation and expenditure of marketing funds."
Several events are planned in conjunction with the Super Bowl in
Houston in January, though Walt said donors would have to pay for their
tickets to the game.
Villarreal was a 2001 Perry appointee as chairman of the state's
since-renamed General Services Commission. Villarreal withdrew because
a Houston technology consulting firm he headed was a subcontractor on
several state contracts.
Perry's business recruiting efforts took him to New York last month for
meetings with corporate executives and media interviews.
Soechting said that trip served as a model for similar efforts in the
fututre. In addition to the business-related meetings in New York,
Perry raised political money at an event hosted by insurance giant AIG.
"Texas businesses should not now be pressured to contribute to a slush
fund to pay for Rick Perry's out-of-state fundraising trips," Soechting
Tom Smith of Public Citizen, which monitors money and politics, said
TexasOne donors will have too much say over how the Enterprise Fund
money is spent.
"It will result in better business deals for those companies who are at
the table and contributing," he said.
"Their lips are smacking," Smith said of potential donors eager to
write checks. "The smart businessmen in Texas wouldn't keep investing
in political contributions and these types of funds if they didn't see
kherman at statesman.com; 445-1718
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