Via AP, Perry frequent traveler in 2009.
Perry’s travels — a meeting with film executives in Los Angeles, a gathering with GOP leaders in Aspen, Colo., a visit to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan — were outlined in interviews with his aides and in documents examined by The Associated Press. But a detailed financial accounting of each trip is not easily accessible, and is in some cases off limits.
Out-of-state travel is part of Perry’s job, his aides say.
“As governor and CEO of a state that’s the 12th-largest economy in the world, it’s important that he continue to promote Texas as the best place for business, both nationally and internationally,” said Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle.
Perry visited Iraq on U.S. Defense Department trips in January and July. In August, he went to Israel on a trip organized and partially paid for by one of his campaign donors and by the investment firm Doheny Global Group. He also visited California, New York, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Colorado, Florida and Mississippi in 2009.
But an open government advocate questions whether there’s enough information available about the Texas governor’s trips.
“Are we getting the full story?” said Keith Elkins, executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. “Any time you have the head of government, especially the governor … taxpayers and voters are interested in that.”
Texans should be able to easily find out what business the governor is doing and whom he’s doing it with, Elkins said. He cited a recent KTVT television report he said revealed new details about Perry’s Israel trip: documents showing the Perry family members and friends who went along as well as the state officials who oversee energy policy who went, plus the information that Perry’s security officers stayed at the swanky King David Hotel at a cost of $17,000 to the state.
Perry’s travel is typically paid by a patchwork of sources including his campaign, private donors and the economic development non-profit group TexasOne. Much of his 2009 travel cannot yet be viewed on state disclosure reports.
State-paid Department of Public Safety officers travel with Perry to provide security, but specifics of those costs are closed to the public, thanks to a bill passed in this year’s legislative session. Only summaries of the security costs can be obtained. A summary by DPS showed that security for the Israel trip cost $58,775 for the officers’ air fare, lodging, meals and other expenses and $15,609 for overtime pay.
The Doheny group organized and paid for Perry’s stay in Israel and for First Lady Anita Perry’s commercial flight to the country, the governor’s office said.
Perry flew to Israel aboard the private plane of Texas campaign donor Doug Pitcock, head of Williams Brothers Construction, a round-trip charter flight donated to TexasOne and valued at $180,000, Castle said. Anita Perry joined him for the trip home.
The Doheny Global Group is into Energy, Project Finance, Real Estate. And appears to be run by Irwin Katsof and Jacob Rheuban. There’s more about the trip here, Governor Perry’s trip to Israel in question. Of course Perry had similar issues in 2006 as well.