Rick Perry’s Chutzpah

November 15th, 2011 at 11:57 am | 35 Comments |

| Print

Rick Perry is calling for legislators to be thrown into jail for insider trading. Perry’s comments are particularly bold given that allegations of insider trading have followed him through his own political career.

Most people forget that Michele Bachmann’s original criticism of Perry’s HPV vaccine mandate in Texas was that it was an exercise in crony capitalism. Perry not only had a former of chief of staff with ties to Merck (the company that made the vaccine) his wife has also provided consulting services for Merck on other projects and was very supportive of the HPV vaccine. He had received a lot of financial support from Merck in the past:

The governor acknowledged that he received a contribution to his reelection campaign from Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, which stood to benefit financially from his order that sixth-grade girls in Texas be given vaccinations against a virus that can cause cervical cancer. Perry tried to brush off the pay-to-play implication by saying he was “offended” at the suggestion that he could be bought for a mere $5,000 campaign contribution.

Merck’s Washington-based political action committee actually gave Perry a total of $28,500 starting in 2001, according to Texas Ethics Commission filings. The bulk of the money came prior to the 2006 campaign, when Merck donated $5,000 after the governor went on record in favor of the vaccinations and the state began discussions with the maker of Gardasil, which stood to receive at least $70 million a year from the state to provide the shots to low-income girls.

Perry was also investigated in the 1990′s for insider trading:

On Jan. 24, 1996, Perry purchased 2,800 shares of stock in a company, Kinetic Concepts, Inc., owned by a San Antonio businessman soon to be one of Perry’s top donors, James Leininger. It was great timing. Later that day, a group of investors bought up 2.2 million shares in the company, sending the price soaring and netting Perry a nice gain.

On the day of the stock purchases, Perry had given a speech before a group founded by Leininger. Both Perry and Leininger later admitted talking on the day in question but denied discussing the stock. Perry would go on to sell his Kinetic Concepts stock — a total of more than 8,000 shares — a month later for a $38,000 profit.

It took at least two years for an Austin attorney to uncover the suspicious trade.

Controversy has also surrounded many of the land deals that Rick Perry has made as Governor of Texas, deals which have enriched him and which seem to have helped out his friends and allies as well:

During two decades of full-time government service, Gov. Rick Perry has accumulated a net worth of about $1 million – perhaps through good investment timing.

However, almost everyone who steered Perry to his money-making deals has seen rewards from Texas government.

Six received key state government appointments or jobs. Two benefited from government actions that had the potential to enhance their real estate holdings. Another was poised to get a state grant for his business until the deal fell through.

But maybe this is just an expression of Rick Perry’s federalist beliefs: Texas Governors can enrich themselves how ever they want. Congressmen on the other hand? Only the toughest scrutiny will do!

Recent Posts by Noah Kristula-Green

35 Comments so far ↓

  • Stewardship

    Good piece, but the banner ad at the top of the page distracted me. Debbie Stabenow for US Senate?????

  • cporet

    Hey Stewardship, you’ve got to treat those banners as gnats, otherwise they’ll make you crazy.

  • lilmanny

    We’ve already emptied all the candy out of this pinata.

    Rick Perry is corrupt. Rick Perry used a lot of other people’s money to convince voters that people from Texas are morons. Rick Perry made us realize that no, we did not miss W. Rick Perry is face down in the pool.

    Rick Perry is no more.

  • Fart Carbuncle

    His new national commercial is interesting: “If you want a good public speaker or a teleprompter reader, that’s not me. We’ve already got one of those in the White House. I’m a doer.”

    • ottovbvs

      “I’m a doer.”

      Yes Fart what he’s “done” is sink his not unreasonable prospects for the nomination in record time. You obviously have a masochistic admiration for failure Fart.

    • icarusr

      Isn’t the criticism, really, not so much that he had a brain fart, but that he has fart for brain? Perry I mean. And Palin. And Cain. And the rest of the Tweeudledumbest of Republicans?

      Isn’t it interesting that only the dumbest candidates go on and on about Obama’s teleprompters?

      And why is it that a man who prides himself on his bravura public performances, suddenly changes his tune now that the audience is not going along?

      Isn’t the whole problem that only a Texas – a Confederacy – audience could actually stomach Perry, and that the rest of the country retches at the sight of him, as indeed even the WSJ predicted?

      • Bebe99

        Correction: 55% of Texans can stomach Perry-if you go by his last election. Running (badly) for president will change that percentage for the worse.

        • balconesfault

          It’s worse than that.

          Texas had 13.2 million registered voters in November 2010. Only 2.1 million showed up to vote for Bill White – an admittedly boring centrist, business friendly Dem, but a remarkably smart man with a fantastic grasp of facts on issues key to the state. I saw him wow a very conservative pro-coal/oil/gas audience at the Gulf Coast Power Association with his assessment of the needs for Texas power industry going forward just a few months before the election.

          Roughly 84% of the registered Texas voters either supported Perry, or couldn’t be bothered to get out to the polls to save Texas from his corrupt mediocrity.

    • LFC

      “I’m a doer.”

      He only said that because “I’m the decider” had already been taken.

  • icarusr

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but why would Perry be any different, when the modus operandi of the Republican Party has been nothing but chutzpah over the past three years.

    • Oldskool

      I think that’s the trademark of Lee Atwater or Karl Rove; whatever you’ve done poorly, accuse everyone else of that behavior. At the same time, find a way to disparage your opponents assets. If Obama is articulate, instead say he’s slick, etc.

  • jdd_stl1

    And his latest effort to get his campaign going again is to propose
    making Congress part-time and have non-lifetime terms for
    federal judges.


    • icarusr

      And like the Texas legislature, it should sit only once every two years.

      What I don’t understand is why these people just don’t go whole hog? For example, denying the vote to gays and blacks; bringing back public horseback hangings; prohibiting the Democrat party for being seditious; and so on.

      Should we not start a Top Ten Perry Reforms?

      • medinnus

        The list would look like:

        1 – Limit Federal judgeship terms
        2 – Make the U.S. Congress a part-time job (like it isn’t anyways?)
        3 – ….ooops

      • Carney

        Gays, as such, have never been denied the right to vote.

        • LFC

          Uh, wasn’t it Texas that attempted to make gay sodomy (and ONLY the gay version) a crime? Maybe it’s just me, but I’d saying throwing a man in jail for an act that only matters if he’s gay is a great way to deny his right to vote.

        • laingirl

          There was a sodomy law in Texas, which was invalidated in 2003 by the Supreme Court (6-3) in Lawrence vs. Texas. I believe there is still one on the books with respect to gays only.

        • icarusr

          Euh …

          1. Obviously, I was exaggerating a bit. (Reference to gays because of the rumours, etc.)

          2. Gays, as such, have been bashed and fired and denied housing and discriminated against and thrown in jail and made felons and thus denied the right the vote, but never as such denied the right to vote … Carney gets the Pendant’s Silverdong Award of the Year.

          3. That the best you could do?

  • Graychin

    Perry: ethics for thee, but not for me.

    If the Republicans nominate Perry, at least you know what you’re getting. What’s a bit of crony capitalism among GOP loyalists?

    It’s fun to watch the different flags that fly over FrumForum change with the changing winds. About the only consistent theme here is that Romney might not be so bad. (If you can only find a way to sell that proposition to Republican primary voters.) We seldom hear of Jon Huntsman (who?) any more. Today, we even have a column in (faint) praise of Newt. The Perry-bashing has been pretty consistent, but Perry still has the money and base of support for a comeback – hence this column. Would FF find Newt to be an acceptable substitute for Romney?

  • andydp

    Gov Perry will soon find out what it really means to get looked at very closely.

    He will then claim its a “bloodletting”; I’d use Gov Palin’s term but its unecessary. He will also claim the media is after him. Backed by breathless FOX News commentators of course.

    Bascially everyone is after him and its all a part of the Liberal Left Wing Conspiracy…When all he’s “just bein’ a good ol boy”.

  • PracticalGirl


    If you’re looking for a current example of Perry’s cronyism run amok, his hometown newspaper should be your first stop. Today’s latest offering details dirty drinking water vs dirty politicians, and of course Perry and his very generous donors float to the top on that one.

  • ottovbvs

    Perry is over. This is the last feeble squeak from a candidacy that ended a month ago. Not only is Perry over, but the guy who replaced in the anyone but Romney slot is over, and now Newt has moved into that slot. They only thing they have in common is they are beyond parody.

    • PracticalGirl

      Romney has more in common with Obama than his GOP opponents on that score. Like Obama with the whole of the GOPer field, all Mitt needs to do is let the circus bubble around him, take notes and wait until there’s only 1 or 2 left before he pays serious attention to any of it.

    • Demosthenes

      “Perry is over.”

      Not that I disagree, but the peanut gallery over at RedState appears pretty evenly divided between Newt and fart-for-brains. In fact Perry’s nosedive in the polls seems to be leveling off, while Newt’s numbers look unsustainably high. With the grassroots animus to Romney so palpable and visceral…

  • LFC

    Rick Perry’s Chutzpah

    How is that pronounced?


  • Houndentenor

    Since you posted this, Perry went on Sean Hannity’s radio show to lambast members of Congress for doing just the kind of thing you show here that he has done. I’m not defending any of them. (It wouldn’t be any loss if we gave the House a complete turnover next fall.) But obviously he does have chutzpah, or he thinks GOP primary voters are that stupid (or only get their news from Fox where they will be unlikely to hear any of this).

  • indy

    Stick a fork in ‘em, he’s done. Ron Paul has him beat by a mile. How embarrassing is that?

    Newt, the Stay Puffed marshmellow man is now crowding out the rest of the field.

    • ottovbvs

      I’m sure this is true. If you don’t want Romney then it’s default to Newt. He’s equally parodic but knows where Libya is and what departments of govt he’s going to shut down. His problem is he doesn’t have much money but that could all change with rising poll numbers. As against that there is also a school of thought that believes that the Republican establishment won’t let Newt get within 100 miles of the nomination but if he does well in the early primaries it may be out of their hands. As much of a comedian as he is, Newt has been in politics for 35 years and held one of the most powerful political offices in the country. Given the obvious visceral dislike for Romney the Newtster can’t be entirely ruled out.

  • TonyCorazon

    For a guy to be in office, including being governor of Texas for this long, and only have a net worth of $1M? It’s hard to make a case that he is corrupt on that basis.
    At this point people can get away with saying anything in order to get elected. We have the memories of insects.

  • valkayec

    I find Perry’s comments about Congressional insider trading laughable. As much as I’d like to see Congressional members penalized for insider trading (obviously a conflict of interest), there is no law on the books preventing them from engaging in such activities.

    An ethical and moral person would not use their privileged position and information to enhance their own personal wealth, but it’s obvious that many in Congress lack that kind of moral fiber…and again no law prohibits them from doing so.

    So, regardless of what Perry says, not one single person in Congress who has thus far engaged in insider trading will ever go to prison. So, not only is Perry guilty of doing the same thing he denounces Congressional members of doing, he’s totally unaware of the law that exempts Congress.

    Why must America put up with stupid?

  • Recommended: HPV vaccine isn’t the only procedure Rick Perry has mandated – msnbc.com

    [...] …Heart testing bill signed by Perry required unnecessary tests, critics chargeiWatch NewsRick Perry's ChutzpahFrumForumRick Perry seeks to reboot after "oops" momentCBS NewsThe Economist [...]

  • midcon

    It is pretty obvious that GOP (tepid?) support will coalesce around Romney. The questions are, will that support be sufficient to put him in office and how would he govern differently than the current administration if he won? With the exception of ACA (which even Romney might have bitten off), I don’t see much difference between Romney and Obama. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, just pointing out there is little difference. It doesn’t change the Congressional equation and I don’t see Romney having an impact on the economy any more than Obama does. Except those who are completely ignorant of our system of government, everyone knows that domestic policy lies at the Congress’ doorstep. While the President has a bully pulpit, laws and budgets come from Congress. So those who expect a vast domestic difference between Romny and Obama are probably in for a surprise if Romney wins.

    • ottovbvs

      “I don’t see much difference between Romney and Obama.”

      Are you serious? You don’t see a difference between who they might appoint to the supreme court or to head up all the regulatory agencies concerned with overseeing wall street, the energy industries et al.

      “Except those who are completely ignorant of our system of government, everyone knows that domestic policy lies at the Congress’ doorstep.”

      Well you would appear to be one of those because as a practical matter the vast majority of the management of day to day domestic policy in the US is in the hands of the administration. I would suggest you could usefully read a book called “The Executive Unbound” which explains in considerable detail the extent to which power has become concentrated in the Executive (both because of the powers granted it under the constitution but even more so because of the powers that have been delegated to it by congress)

    • icarusr

      Yeah – no difference between Gore and Bush. Or Obama and McCain. Or St. Ronald and Mondale. Or LBJ and Goldwater. Or Nixon and McGovern.

      Wow. Whoddathunk it.