A state audit has revealed that transparency problems at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas extend beyond the improper review of an $11 million commercialization grant that sparked criminal and civil investigations.
State auditors found business and professional relationships between CPRIT’s management, CPRIT’s commercialization review council, and donors who contributed to the CPRIT Foundation, a non-profit association that supplements the salaries of CPRIT’s executive director and chief scientific officer. They also found three grants that were approved without proper review — the executive director recommended the applications receive grants, but the peer review council did not — for a total of approximately $56.3 million. CPRIT also broke a state constitutional requirement by allowing grantees to report matching funds spent on other projects, rather than the CPRIT-funded research project, according to the audit.
“Weaknesses in CPRIT’s processes reduce its ability to properly award and effectively monitor its grants,” the State Auditor’s Office report concludes. The report recommends that CPRIT address deficiencies in: making award decisions, evaluating grant applications, verifying compliance with matching fund requirements, processing payments to grantees, monitoring grantees’ expenditures, assessing and measuring research progress and managing contract agreements with grantees.
This comes on the eve of his State of the State speech, will CPRIT be mentioned? One reason Perry stays in office is because he always makes money for his partners.
Texas legislators used the noblest of language to tout the 2007 bill that created the state’s taxpayer-funded, $3 billion assault on cancer, but Gov. Rick Perry now says creating wealth is a key mission of the cancer agency.
In an interview with the Houston Chronicle this week, Perry said the embattled Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas must regain public trust so it can carry out its dual mission of cure discovery and commercialization.
“The way that the Legislature intended it was to get cures into the public’s arena as soon as possible and at the same time create economic avenues (from) which wealth can be created,” said Perry. “Basic research takes a long time and may or may not ever create wealth.”
Perry made the remarks in response to questions about the scrutiny CPRIT is facing as a result of two grants, totaling more than $30 million, that were awarded without proper review. The problems, both involving grants to commercialize discoveries, have prompted numerous investigations.
Perry has been championing the agency’s commercialization side. In the midst of the controversy, Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus sent CPRIT a letter urging it to move beyond the research foundation already laid and expedite treatment delivery within three to five years.
His remarks to the Chronicle Tuesday marked the first time the governor has publicly said creating wealth should be an important agency goal.
Trickle-down research he should call it. Paul Burka had this to say, “He is creating this supposed legislative intent from whole cloth, years after the fact”. Far too many Texans took Perry and The Lege’s at their word back in 2007. Looking back through the analyses of the Amendments back in 2007 (here and here), wealth creation was never mentioned.
The truly sad part is that many people thought Perry was serious about using this money to find a cure for cancer. Instead it turns out it’s just another one of his privatization schemes to give Texas taxpayer money to his buddies. Cancer research to make money, not cure cancer….despicable! How much longer are the people of Texas, and the Texas GOP, going to put up with this guy?
The Texas GOP, since taking control of all the levers of government in Texas, has been doing everything they can to move taxpayer money into the hands of their campaign contributors, in the form of privatization schemes – aka Public Private Partnerships or P3′s. Instead of government being a pay as you go, non profit system, it’s turned into a system of privatized profits and socialized losses.
They’ve tried it and somewhat succeeded with toll roads, although the biggest boondoggle, the Trans Texas Corridor, mostly failed. They tried privatizing state services which imploded, see Accenture and IBM. They haven’t yet been able to get their hooks completely into public education, but a new attempt is coming in January. And more then likely Kyle Janek will be putting forward some kind of scheme soon.
The reason this is important is because another one for Gov. Rick Perry’s great “achievements” has become nothing more than an give-away to his wealthy corporate contributors. This article from James Moore at Progress Texas PAC points out the latest atrocity, Cancer and Crony Capitalism in Texas.
It is a growing scandal that could forever change Texas politics. As national political players look toward turning red Texas blue, something that would put the electoral college out of Republicans’ reach for years, many see the scandal as the beginning of the end of GOP dominance in Texas.
Republican Gov. Rick Perry and his cronies in and out of public office have diverted funds intended for cutting-edge cancer research into the campaign pockets of Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. You read that right. Proceeds from millions in taxpayer-backed bonds awarded by the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) have fallen victim to corruption and cronyism. Cronies get the state money; the cronies give some of the money back to Perry and others.
The agency might better be named the Crony Capitalist Research Institute as searches for cancer prevention, treatment and cure are sacrificed to the feeble political ambitions of a few petty politicians and greedy plutocrats. It is hard to imagine a greater moral failing. Unless, of course, you remember that Perry and his cronies are the very same people fighting against the expansion of Medicaid and the creation of health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. People are going to get sick and die because of the actions of Perry and others. That is not hyperbole or political spin.
CPRIT is the nation’s second largest source of cancer research money, behind only the federal government. Texas voters approved the agency’s bonding authority in November 2007 (a few days later, wannabe recipients of the largesse were lavishng money on Perry and Dewhurst). The agency could spend $3 billion over ten years.
Amid calls for state and federal criminal investigations (I filed one of the state complaints under the auspices of Progress Texas PAC), agency officials are scrambling. Now it has been revealed that key emails among those officials have disappeared. That is a sign that evidence is being destroyed and that a coverup is underway.
The players involved include such stalwart Perry-ites as James Leininger and Jimmy Mansour. They have also been central players in the right wing’s nationwide effort to privatize public education. Even though he once held stock in a company that received CPRIT funding, Mansour remains chairman of the agency’s Oversight Committee. Other Oversight Committee members include Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and State Comptroller Susan Combs. Perry, Dewhurst and the Texas House Speaker appoint the others.
This scandal opens a window into the crony capitalists’ privatization mania. What will happen to public education when the greedy and morally unmoored get their hands on taxpayer money through school privatization? Or through Medicare vouchers? Or Social Security private accounts?
If these people will sacrifice victims of cancer to further their own wealth and power, it is doubtful they’ll resist the temptation to destroy education or raid our earned savings and health care insurance. If crimes have been committed, maybe the perps will get to spend some time in a private prison. That might end privatization mania forever.
If Texas taxpayers could only get so lucky. He points to these three articles for anyone that needs to get up to speed - here, here and here.
This is just the way our dysfunctional government malfunctions with our current leadership at the helm. Rick Perry as the longest serving Texas governor in Texas history, by far, has more control over Texas than any governor ever. In modern history he is the only governor to serve at least two consecutive four year terms. There are Perry loyalists in every nook can cranny of Texas government. He, essentially, owns them all.
All of this proves that the Texas GOP’s plan since taking over the levers of power in Texas is to shift taxpayer money to their corporate sponsors through privatization schemes. It the scam that’s always been there for everyone to see.
Does it really surprise anyone that the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), championed in 2007 by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, has turned into an unaccountable transfer of tax payer money to his campaign donors? Via the Texas Tribune, Investigations of CPRIT’s Grants Process Are Pushed.
State lawmakers expressed concern about CPRIT’s grant process Friday after it was revealed one grant — $11 million awarded to Peloton Therapeutics — was approved without a scientific or business review.
“Serious problems have come to our attention,” Sen. Jane Nelson, F-Flower Mound, and Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, wrote in a letter to the leaders of CPRIT: Jim Mansour, the founding chairman, and Bill Gimson, the executive director. The lawmakers asked for a written description of how an $11 million grant could have been awarded without a review process.
In response to the letter, the CPRIT oversight committee is preparing a report to turn over to lawmakers. In a statement to The Dallas Morning News, a representative for CPRIT said the award to Peloton Therapeutics was ratified in 2010 after it had been “improperly” placed on the oversight committee’s agenda.
Texas voters approved the creation of CPRIT, which awards $300 million annually, in 2007 as a state constitutional amendment. Since 2010, the state has awarded more than 400 grants for a total of $755 million through the program.
Two left-leaning organizations, Texans for Public Justice and Progress Texas, say law enforcement agencies should also be involved in the investigation of CPRIT’s grant process. The groups expressed concerns that lawmakers may not fully disclose the extent of alleged impropriety at CPRIT, because many grant recipients have given large donations to Gov. Rick Perry and other Republican lawmakers.
“The taxpayers assume that this money was going to go to efforts at finding a cure for cancer,” said Glenn Smith, a board member of Progress Texas. “Instead of doing that, it appears to be just another political slush fund being given to Perry contributors.”
Josh Havens, a spokesman for the governor, said in an email that “Gov. Perry expects CPRIT to apply rigorous review standards to every decision that includes taxpayer funds.” He said the governor agrees with fellow lawmakers that a thorough investigation of CPRIT’s grant review process should be conducted and “taxpayers deserve to have the full background of this situation.”
The biotech company that bypassed normal peer reviews to win $11 million in state cancer funds had close ties to U.T Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Top donors to the Medical Center’s PAC gave $1.6 million to Texas politicians who control the state’s CPRIT cancer fund. These donors include the oil-rich Hunt-Hill clan, which has stakes in a venture capital fund that bankrolled Peloton Therapeutics. A director of that venture capital fund once filed a tax protest that personally saved Governor Perry $14,000 in local property taxes.
As far as Perry and the wing nuts are concerned government is here to service the wealthy. Just look at what’s transpired in Texas over the last 10 years since the GOP took over.
It was a gradual takeover, with the minority party trending upward for several years: George Bush was elected governor in 1994, Republicans took over the state Senate in 1997, and by 2001 the party was just four seats away from taking a majority in the House. The resulting 2001 legislative redistricting maps would cement the state’s shift from blue to red.
A new House map and an influx of campaign funds — some of which were eventually deemed illegal — led 88 Republicans to be elected to the House in 2002. Tom Craddick was elected the state’s first Republican speaker since Reconstruction. Craddick says the new majority carried responsibilities and freedoms many Republicans had never experienced, which led to a few problems during that 2003 session.
But what really shines through is why we’ve gotten such bad legislation over the years.
The new leadership had clear priorities: insurance regulations aimed at stabilizing a homeowners insurance market with skyrocketing premiums, and legislation limiting medical malpractice lawsuits.
“Most of the people that carried the major legislation had never passed a major bill,” Craddick says. “Many of them had never passed anything but local bills.”
One example of that inexperience surfaced at the end of the session. When bills headed to conference committees to reconcile differences between House and Senate versions of a bill, Craddick often had multiple committees meeting in different parts of his apartment in an effort to help with the negotiations.
“My wife, Nadine, came home after an event and said, ‘What’s going on? There are people everywhere in the apartment,’” Craddick says. “And I said, ‘Nadine, you know more about conference committees then most of them. Dig in and help with one of them.’”
Kronberg says the inexperience also showed in how quickly some bills were passed, sometimes with little understanding of what was in them. That includes passage of bills that gave new powers to Texas’ traditionally weak governor.
[Harvey Kronberg, the editor of the Quorum Report] says Republican inexperience also showed in some of the key legislative committees. More experienced Democrats were either voted out of office or relegated to the background, and eager but “green” Republicans took control.
The GOP leadership also had problems getting business-centric lawmakers to get out of their comfort zone and tackle other topics. Craddick says that was a problem, especially when trying to fill out the House committees focused on health care.
“No members wanted to do it. No Republicans wanted to be on those committees. No Republicans wanted to be chairmen of it,” Craddick says. “We had a real hard time. I had to sit some members down and say, ‘You know this is a major issue in the state. We’ve got to be able to do it.’”
The new majority also had to contend with a multibillion-dollar budget deficit. The hole was filled through program cuts, fee increases and some accounting tricks. But there were no outright state tax increases.
We can’t expect our current leaders who believe government is the problem, to know how, or even try for that matter, to use government for, or as part of, a solution.
Using government to help people – not corporations – is a foreign concept to Republicans. (And these days for far too many Democrats as well). And this goes to the heart of what once was the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Here’s Jillson:
Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson says that budgetary road map established in 2003 has directed GOP policy ever since. Over the years, he says, this has led to less money for state infrastructure, health care programs, and public and higher education.
“They are far more oriented towards stopping bad things from happening — from their perspective — than causing good things to happen,” Jillson says. “They don’t have a positive agenda in the sense of [making] improvements to education or access to health care, transportation, the environment or any of the other major policy issues.”
I would put that slightly different. The GOP has what they would consider a positive agenda for education, health care, transportation. etc. It’s called corporatization, or privatization. As far as they’re concerned there’s no reason to spend taxpayer money unless it’s to overpay the private sector for something the government used to do cheaper. Exhibit A, State, Accenture split is final.
Texas hired the Accenture-led Texas Access Alliance in 2005 to manage the Children’s Health Insurance Program and to run call centers enrolling Texans in food stamps and Medicaid.
It was one of the most ambitious outsourcing projects of its kind in the country: a deal originally worth $899 million over five years. The call center project was envisioned as a way to save money and give Texans more ways to apply for services than in person at offices. But the project hit problems — advocates for the poor reported widespread difficulties in eligible Texans getting benefits — and the savings never materialized.
According to Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board data, since tuition deregulation was passed in 2003, overall designated tuition has increased 156 percent. The percentage increase at select Texas universities is even higher. Since fall 2003, tuition at the University of Texas at Austin has increased 230 percent; tuition at the University of Texas at Dallas has increased 219 percent; tuition at Texas Tech University and the University of Houston has increased 178 percent; and tuition at Texas A&M University and increased 165 percent.
Critics have questioned why the state invested any money in Terrabon. It’s among a handful of tech fund recipients with ties to campaign donors of Perry, who has repeatedly denied that politics influence the funding process. The final say on whether a company receives a taxpayer investment is made by Perry, the lieutenant governor and the House speaker.
One of Terrabon’s backers is Texas A&M regent Phil Adams, who was appointed to that job by Perry and who has contributed more than $300,000 to the governor’s campaign. On his state financial disclosure form filed in 2010, Adams stated that he received between $10,000 and $24,000 in interest, dividends or other income sources from Terrabon.
It’s been a tumultuous few months for Texas’ cancer-fighting program.
The agency, whose annual meeting begins Wednesday, has seen mass resignations, accusations of politics overtaking science and new divisions over how the state should best spend $3 billion in taxpayer money fighting cancer over the next decade.
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas is trying to repair a once-celebrated image that has been battered by top scientists publicly condemning the agency over how it operates the nation’s second-biggest pot of cancer research dollars.
Thirty-three of the agency’s scientific peer reviewers have recently resigned, many in protest. They include a Nobel laureate and other top names in the science community who say politics have seeped into decisions over which projects get funding and which don’t.
What all of this shows is that in almost 10 years Texas, under GOP dominance, is unrecognizable from what it once was before the takeover. And hat’s not a good thing for the overwhelming majority of Texans. And the truly sad part is that unless the people of Texas realize it and demand something else it will continue.
Perrys’ picks to replace Suehs (HHS) and Scott (TEA) will likely be right wing and pro-privatization. And it’s likely, no matter how the Speaker and US Senate/Lt. Gov. races turnout, that the committee chairs will be more right wing and pro-privatization. So cuts and privatization will likely be the proposed “fixes” for these two long-beloved public programs in our democracy.
Kyle Janek’s previous record on health care is troublesome, however. As a senator in the Texas legislature, Kyle Janek’s top two contributors were both PACs relating to healthcare, one of them being the Texas Medical Association PAC and the other being the Greater Houston Anesthesiology PAC (Kyle Janek also works as an anesthesiologist). As a lobbyist in 2011, Kyle Janek was on the payroll
The Health Care Compact Alliance, an alliance headed by Leo Linbeck III (the CEO and chairman of Linbeck Corporation, a Houston-based construction company, and a member of a powerful family that donates often to libertarian causes) This 501c(4) focuses on advocating for the interstate health care compact, which would strip Texas, among other states, of federal regulations on health care. Texas would receive block grants with no federal rules attached; the state government could do what it pleases. In the worst case scenario, Texas could remove Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP and other federal programs entirely. The interstate health care compact was seen by Republicans as a way to get out of the Affordable Care Act, no matter what the Supreme Court ruling turned out to be. Kyle Janek, along with top lobbyist Mike Toomey, led the lobbying effort onbehalf of the Health Care Compact Alliance. The health care compact was included in SB7, passed last year.
Janek, who lobbied to get rid of federal programs such as CHIP and Medicaid, is now at the head of the commission that is responsible for the administration of federal programs. As a former state senator and lobbyist who is now back in government, Janek personifies the revolving door in politics. His connections to ALEC, TPPF, and the Health Care Compact Alliance suggests that he will be no friend to Texas’ most vulnerable populations.
The AAS Ed Board has hope, for now, but that likely won’t make it through the legislative session. The regressives are in government to tear it down, not build up.
Rash of executive hiring, higher pay necessary, TxDOT officials say, as agency moves increasingly to tollway model
Executive pay at the Texas Department of Transportation has spiked over the past year as the agency’s new chief, tasked to overhaul the department after several years of legislative and internal scrutiny, brought in more than a dozen upper echelon employees and sharply increased the salaries of some top managers already on hand.
The average salary of TxDOT’s 10 highest paid workers topped $200,000 as of April 1 — 21.4 percent above that average a year earlier. The top three salaries, at an average of almost $251,000, were 42.5 percent higher than the top three salaries’ average a year earlier. The salary figures were obtained by the American-Statesman through the Texas Open Records Act.
Some of those executives and Texas Transportation Commission board members say the pay boost is necessary to lure talent from the private sector to help TxDOT negotiate complex, high-dollar, public-private partnerships largely for toll road projects.
Executive Director Phil Wilson, hired in October by the commission and paid more than 50 percent more than his predecessor, also has given raises of between 16 and 30 percent to the agency’s chief engineer, chief financial officer, general counsel and government and public affairs director. The management portfolio of those four executives, all of them at TxDOT before Wilson’s hiring, has remained roughly the same or, in one case, has been reduced.
Meanwhile, the average salary of the agency’s 11,500 workers, in April about $48,000 a year, increased 3.7 percent over the same period. TxDOT’s overall payroll, including overtime and other bonus payments, was about $560 million a year as of April 1.
Commission Chairman Ted Houghton, who owns an El Paso financial services firm, said the elevated pay and rash of high-level hiring are justified by the growing sophistication of TxDOT business practices as the agency works with private sector engineering firms and financiers on billion-dollar projects.
“It’s a huge paradigm shift,” Houghton said. “We have to go get the best and the brightest to play in those circles of financing major projects. It’s a different business model than just having engineers run the show.”
Wilson said that the Legislature, recognizing the need for a new kind of leadership that must be lured from the higher-paying private sector, in the 2012-13 budget passed last year authorized him to pay up to five TxDOT executives as much as $292,500 a year. And Wilson, who makes $292,500 a year, pointed to a January 2011 report from the TxDOT Restructure Council, a three-member body appointed by the Transportation Commission in the wake of several studies critical of the agency, that recommended raising executive pay.
“They all realized we need this kind of talent to run a complex agency,” Wilson told the American-Statesman. Wilson, a longtime aide to former Republican Sen. Phil Gramm and Gov. Rick Perry, was Texas secretary of state for about a year (under an appointment by Perry) and then a utility lobbyist and manager before taking the TxDOT position. A move by the commission to pay him even more — $381,000 a year — was shelved after public criticism, and so far it has not been revived.
We’re supposed to believe that the only people smart enough to negotiate with the private sector are those who used to work in the private sector. What a bunch of crap. If recent economic history has taught us anything about the private sector it’s that most at the top are either over paid, corrupt, or both. Certainly if they can’t work for a mere $200,000/year we could find someone who is qualified to do the work for that amount.
The truth is that TxDOT Executive Director, and former Texas Secretary of State, Phil Wilson’s political connections have more to do with him getting the job then any of his private sector experience does. This has more to do with the revolving door between the public and private sector, crony capitalism, then his private sector experience.
There’s a long story about why this is happening but here’s the short version. About 20, or so years ago, it became politically unfeasible to raise taxes to pay for anything in Texas. We used to believe that public education and transportation infrastructure, (just to name two, there are more), were items in the public interest worth paying for with taxes – not anymore. It was called pay-as-you-go, or “paygo”.
Instead, we’re now told, there are these brilliant ways to pay for things. They’re called public private partnerships (PPPs). And instead of taxing the public to pay for roads, we give massive deals to corporations. The deals cost taxpayers more because the corporations have to make a profit, unlike with paygo. But for these deals to be negotiated properly, we’re supposed to believe, the only people smart enough are these super important over paid private sector people, and we have to pay them more than other state employees to implement these privatization schemes.
With billions of dollars worth of road work under way in Texas, it may be hard for drivers to believe that the state is running out of highway money.
But in just a few years, Texas will likely max out its debt limit for transportation projects, and by the end of 2014, it may have barely enough funding to maintain existing roads, officials said Monday.
“People don’t believe there’s a crisis, because there are plenty of orange barrels,” state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, said during a live broadcast of a House subcommittee hearing on transportation funding. “So how long before the crisis? How long before that borrowed money dissipates and we don’t have any more money to build?”
Elected leaders have authorized the Texas Department of Transportation to issue $17.3 billion in bonds for transportation projects. About $31.1 billion will be needed to repay that money over 25 to 30 years, said James Bass, the agency’s chief financial officer.
The agency’s budget of $10.5 billion for the current fiscal year and $9.3 billion for next year are record highs. But Pickett said those figures don’t paint an accurate picture of the state’s future road funding. Instead, nearly $6.7 billion of that two-year total is proceeds from bonds and other one-time sources that won’t be around later, he said.
What? You didn’t know our “fiscal conservative” Texas Gov. Rick Perry has borrowed billions, instead of raising taxes to build roads? Well, since Perry won’t allow needed taxes to be raised, for things we need, then he borrows money instead. The PPP’s allow elected officials to try and hide the tax/revenue increases from the public., in the form of tolls.
There is no easy, or painless way, to pay for roads. But doing it the way we used to, paygo, with a gas tax is still the best way to do it. And we don’t need high paid private sector cronies to get it done.
The redistricting mess created by the Texas GOP’s radical power-grab, which is causing the primary to be postponed, over and over again, could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. The candidate filing deadline for the 2012 Primary is still to be determined. And each day the landscape keeps looking better.
The Texas economy has improved over the last year, but those is power in Texas are not looking to reverse the extreme austerity budget passed last year. And those who had to sacrifice last session, (no no the wealthy!), public schools, teachers, school children and the least among us, will be asked to sacrifice again.
This week, Gov. Rick Perry and the House’s chief budget writer all but dismissed pleas by education advocates for an immediate special session to roll back some of the education cuts ordered last year.
With any changes to the current budget seemingly ruled out, experts say the key questions for next time boil down to: How low can you go? Will there be cuts on top of cuts, something not seen in Texas since the 1950s? And can local taxpayers in school districts, cities and counties be expected to keep picking up burdens the state sloughs off?
Perry, tea party-backed Republicans in the Legislature and conservative activists say putting state finances into an ever-tightening vise helps the state’s economy. They note that Texas leads all states in job creation and that people continue to flock to the state, which is picking up an additional four U.S. House seats as a result.
But Democrats and other critics say the policy of continual cuts courts disaster. They note that Texas began the past decade as one of the most frugal states. Since then, critics say GOP leaders’ policy of rejecting higher taxes and even cutting some taxes has allowed problems to fester. One example they use: Public health systems along the Texas-Mexico border are fraying, weakening defenses against outbreaks of tuberculosis and cholera.
With the cuts in education, they warn, there’s a growing prospect that the state’s workforce increasingly will consist of stunted, poorly educated young people.
“How we pay for schools is the state budget,” said Eva DeLuna Castro, a former analyst in the comptroller’s office who tracks fiscal matters for the progressive Center for Public Policy Priorities. “If we refuse every two years to tackle that, it’s not a good budget. It’s an abdication.”
But former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Talmadge Heflin, R-Houston, said keeping state government on restricted rations hasn’t set the state back because it fosters innovation.
“There’s still room to economize, to squeeze, to reduce the footprint,” said Heflin, a senior analyst with the free-market advocacy group the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “People like something about being in Texas or they wouldn’t keep coming. We’re not starving our education system to where we’re going to have an uneducated workforce.”
Former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, a Republican who has denounced the school cuts, retorted: “Of course, Talmadge is one of those who would like to be able to drown the government in a bathtub.”[Emphasis added]
Ratliff said lawmakers since the 2009 session have slashed nearly $12 billion from state support of public schools, after considering enrollment growth and assuming a rate of 2 percent inflation per year.
“They’ve just got their head in the sand,” he said. “Hundreds of school districts statewide are going to their voters trying to get authority to raise property taxes so they can survive.”
The Perry gravy train is back on the track. UnitedHealthCare is a client of … Mike Toomey. What a remarkable coincidence.
And as far as campaign ethics violations are concerned, it looks like billionaires would much rather ask for forgiveness, and likely pay a pittance of a fine, then even think about obeying the law, Simmons PAC Treasurer Concedes Ethics Violation. More from TPJ.
“We can’t stop Simmons from polluting the political landscape with lawful campaign contributions, but even billionaires must be held accountable to democratic law,” said TPJ Director Craig McDonald. “If Simmons’ money passed through an illegal conduit, the 18 lawmakers who accepted it should return it or—better yet—give it to a deserving charity.
“I think people across the state are beginning to have buyer’s remorse about what happened in 2010,” said [Texas Democratic Party chairman Boyd] Richie. “When their children are in crowded classrooms, when their favorite teacher has been lost.”
Buyer’s remorse is right. And nothing will change if we don’t replace the people that are responsible. It’s not possible to be somebody with nobody. There’s still time.
Of course the title to this post references a quote from The Godfather II. (Quick side note, didn’t know the “The Godfather Wiki” existed). As the reports are showing the only people that profited from Perry’s campaign were the political consultants and political elite of Texas, How Rick Perry’s money machine went flat.
No clearer evidence of Rick Perry’s campaign collapsing than his latest finance report, which shows that after a dazzling first quarter of fundraising ($17.2 million) the Texas governor’s money-raising went south. Perry raised $2.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 as he approached the Iowa caucuses in early January. The report shows that after Perry’s “Oops” moment in the November 9 debate, his financial support began disappearing.
Also, there are debts reported — included $42,900 to the New Hampshire consulting company of his long-time political guru Dave Carney, who was effectively shoved aside in December after Perry’s disastrous presidential bid went into the tank.
One thing’s clear, most of his money in the third quarter went to air an avalanche of TV spots in Iowa and South Carolina, much of it targeting rival Mitt Romney . More than $5.5 million went to Paint Creek Productions, a campaign company that produced the aired the commercials. Perry’s long-time media chief, David Weeks of Austin, collected another $152,000 for overseeing the governor’s presidential media effort. While the Perry effort is considered by many to be one of the worst-run political campaigns in memory, the managers, advisers and consultants all did well. Consultant, who’s worked both as a lobbyist and Perry’s chief of staff, Ray Sullivan and communications chief collected more than $40,000 during the period. He struggled in the early going when calls from reporters largely went unreturned and Perry’s political message was muddled. Campaign manager Deirdre Delisi, the policy adviser, was paid about $7,900 a month, campaign manager Rob Johnson and speech writer Eric Bearse pocketed about $7,500 a month. Spokesman Mark Miner was paid about $7,400 a month.
Dave Carney, who launched a campaign that the Perry team hoped would mirror past gubernatorial races in which aides tried to keep the governor largely away from the media, was paid more than $58,000 during the last quarter (plus the money still owed his company). A campaign shakeup in November brought in former George W. Bush campaign adviser Joe Allbaugh, who was paid $63,000 in November and December to try and right the foundering campaign. Although the Perry campaign was reluctant to talk about whether it was doing polling to determine how to shape its campaign message, the report shows that Perry pollster Mike Baselice was paid $293,000 during the quarter for polling.
His “goose was cooked” from the moment he said “Oops”, but the consultant money train just kept on rolling. And they made money. And all of us poor saps that pay taxes in Texas we’re stuck with the tab, Governor OOPS Owes Texas $2.7 Million. Jason Embry has more.
Because of EOW’s show of solidarity in joining in the SOPA Strike yesterday we did not post yesterday on the report released by TPJ for the continuation of “Shark Week”. So today we’ll have a two-fer. These reports are extremely important. As Texas Gov. Rick Perry drops out of the race for President today, let these reports be a reminder of a what a stranglehold Rick Perry and his appointees, lobbyists, and friends have on our state government.