Rick Perry’s Revolving Money Door – Rick Perry says as governor, his job is to make life better for Texas families. One family that’s done well is the Sullivans of Austin, Ray and Leslie, whose political ties to Perry over the past decade have paid big dividends. Ray has shuttled between top jobs on Perry’s staff and as a lobbyist representing interests with business before the state. His wife has directed the governor’s political fundraising. They’ve made between $4 million and $5.7 million since Perry’s been governor, according to campaign reports, lobby filings and state payroll records.
Perry’s 10-year tenure, the longest of any governor, has attracted long-standing loyalists who have benefited from his years atop state government.
Ray Sullivan became the governor’s chief of staff in June 2009. Before that, he was a lobbyist. And before that, he worked in the governor’s office. Sullivan’s lobby clients have included energy, beer, financial and highway interests, some of which have found an active ally in the governor.
For example, the toll-road engineering company HNTP Corp. has benefited from the governor’s advocacy of the Trans-Texas Corridor.
Another Sullivan client, the Swiss financial-services giant UBS, pushed the state to privatize the lottery. Perry advocated the idea in 2007, but the Legislature turned thumbs down.
Sullivan’s clients have also been campaign contributors — among them, Houston beer distributor John Nau, who has given $327,000 to Perry and periodically ferries the governor on his corporate jet. Nau was among those who persuaded Kay Bailey Hutchison not to challenge Perry four years ago, saying he was told that Perry wouldn’t run yet again in 2010. When Perry did, Nau backed Hutchison in the primary, but he returned to the governor for the general election with a check for $50,000 in June.
As a lobbyist, Sullivan earned, on average, between $250,000 and $500,000 annually, according to lobby reports that list earnings in ranges. When Sullivan rejoined the governor’s office last year, his state salary was $179,000. Perry’s political campaign supplements that, so he makes about $254,000 a year as the governor’s chief of staff. Many elected officials use such an arrangement to boost their top staffers’ pay.
As the governor’s political fundraiser, Leslie Sullivan has made as much as $398,000 a year tapping donors — in some cases, her husband’s clients — for Perry’s campaign account. Now, she has a new job. She left the governor’s campaign payroll this summer — with a check for $221,000 — and has begun fundraising for the Republican Governors Association[, which just got $1,000,000,000.00 from Rupert Murdoch]. That’s the group Perry used to lead and that gave him $1 million for his last election. And odds are, if he needs it, money raised by Sullivan could find its way to the governor again this year.
In Rick Perry’s Texas, Many Creeks and Streams are Too Polluted to Swim In – About one-third of our state’s creeks and streams are too polluted to swim in — and state regulators have approved new rules to keep it that way.
Earlier this summer, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality weakened the standards for water quality. No longer do all waters have to be clean enough to swim in. Now, some waterways will be allowed to have 16 times more E. coli — bacteria that can be life threatening to children — than is currently allowed.
Manure and other waste from corporate poultry, dairy and other farms routinely wash into our waterways. This pollution has rendered many Texas waters, including portions of the Colorado, San Marcos and Brazos Rivers, unsuitable for recreational uses. Now, if a stream isn’t used much by the public (possibly because it’s polluted), the TCEQ wants to allow it to stay polluted.
We can’t let this happen to our favorite swimming holes. Add your name to our petition calling for the cleanup of all Texas waterways. Then, evict Rick Perry.