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 
cloth.

--

Perry-related solicitation draws criticism

Donors promised hunting trips with Texas governor

By Ken Herman

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

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 
Fund.

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 
Texas."

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 
said.

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 
payback."

kherman at statesman.com; 445-1718



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