Here is my second and last post for the day as I’m beginning my walk around my district today. I know that many love to bash Perry and he does make a perfect target. It’s not that I oppose Perry bashing, or Obama bashing, or the basing of any political candidate who has hurt the majority. I don’t. However, in all the bashing, my biggest fear is that people will not take Perry for the very serious threat to the shreds of our remaining democracy that he is. Thus, in that spirit, let me introduce you to three Texans that Perry will be bringing with him. While most Americans have heard of billionaires like Soros and the Koch brothers, few know much of anything about the following people. Millionaires and billionaires in Texas tend to fly under the radar of the press but most of us who live in Texas know them–especially those of us who give a damn about separation of church and state, clean air and clean elections (and there are millions of us who do contrary to the stereotypes about Texas citizens). Here is an example of how low they fly: One of them, Harold Simmons is the guy who developed the acquisition concept known as the “leveraged buyout”. It wasn’t some Wall Street sharp-shooter from New York City. It was a “hick” from Dallas Texas. It’s to all their advantage if the USA thinks of them as harmless hicks. They don’t give a damn what you think about them and neither does Perry. They are too focused on winning whatever game they are playing at the time.
When Rick Perry threw his hat in the ring, he also brought three very deep Texas Pockets with him–not to mention a ready-made coalition of several million voters, all of whom will vote for Perry just because they believe him to be a Christian.
As Wayne Slater from the Dallas Morning News reported a couple of weeks ago, Jim Leininger has given large sums of money to Perry Campaigns over the years. Many say that he saved Perry’s political career in 1998 with a last minute infusion of $1.1 million that fueled Perry’s victory as lieutenant governor over a tight race between Perry and Democrat John Sharp. Leininger is an MD who founded KCI about 30 years ago in San Antonio. KCI is a leading global medical technology company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of innovative, high-technology therapies and products for the wound care, tissue regeneration and therapeutic support system markets. He sold KCI in a $6.3 billion dollar deal in 1997.
Leininger is a leading proponent of school vouchers and he bankrolled the campaign to ban gay marriage. The weekend of August 27, 2011, Perry spent at Jim Leininger’s ranch near Fredericksburg for a confab of Christian conservatives which included retired judge Paul Pressler, a Southern Baptist leader, so-called Christian historian David Barton, East Texas evangelist Rick Scarborough* and others who supported Perry’s prayer rally event in Houston. The meeting at the ranch was not about fundraising. It was about motivating true believers.
The non-profit group Texans for Public Justice has produced a report about Perry’s ties to Leininger over the years if you want more detail.
* And Rick Scarborough is a self-proclaimed “Christocrat” who believes that it is his duty to “mix church and state God’s way” in order to stop the country’s “slide further into Communism/Socialism [and] sexual anarchy led by sodomites” and who stated, just a few months ago, that AIDS is God’s judgment for engaging in an immoral act. [Source: People for the American Way]
Meet Harold Simmons–A Dallas Billionaire [$5.7 billion]
Mr. Simmons is an 80 year old Dallas billionaire. Harold developed the acquisition concept known as the leveraged buyout and he has used it to acquire various corporations. He is the owner of Contran Corporation and of Valhi, Inc., (a NYSE traded company about 90% controlled by Contran). As of 2006 he controlled 5 public companies traded on the New York Stock Exchange: NL Industries; Titanium Metals Corporation, the world’s largest producer of titanium; Valhi, Inc., a multinational company with operations in the chemicals, component products, wastemanagement, and titanium metals industries; CompX International, manufacturer of ergonomic products, and Kronos Worldwide, leading producer and marketer of titanium dioxide According to Forbes, his net worth was about $5.7 billion in 2011.
During the 2004 presidential campaign Simmons made a $4 million donation to the group Swift Vets and POWs for Truth. He also donated $100,000 to George W. Bush’s January 2005 inaugural ball. Two of Harold Simmons’ companies – Southwest Louisiana Land which he owns and Dixie Rice Agricultural Corp in which he is a major investor – were each $1 million donors to the American Crossroads, a 527 organization working to elect primarily Republican legislators during the 2010 midterm elections. In 2010 Harold also contributed $500,000 to Rick Perry’s campaign for governor.
Simmons conducted a widely publicized but unsuccessful takeover attempt on the Lockheed Corporation after having gradually acquired almost 20 per cent of its stock. Lockheed was attractive to Simmons because one of its primary investors was the California Public Employees’Retirement System (CalPERS), the pension fund of the state of California. At the time, the New York Times said, “Much of Mr. Simmons’s interest in Lockheed is believed to stem from its pension plan, which is over financed by more than $1.4 billion. Analysts said he might want to liquidate the plan and pay out the excess funds to shareholders, including himself.” [Source: WIKI]
Rick Perry along with approval of Republican wackos that he hand-selected for a commission, granted permission for Waste Control Specialists ( a company owned by Simmons) to dump radioactive waste (that will be hot for generations) near an aquifer in Andrews County out in West Texas. The license that this commission appointed by Rick Perry have given to Simmons expires in 15 years and ownership of the dump will revert to the citizens of Texans. Then Simmons and his heirs don’t have any responsibility for maintaining the mess that they have created. It will be the responsibility of the taxpayers of the state of Texas. These are the same pious right-wingers who appear to be so concerned regarding tax burdens for future generations of children. I guess money is more important to some than drinking water.
Meet Bob Perry (no relation to Rick) Net worth estimated at $650 million
In 2006, Perry surpassed George Soros as the largest political donor in the country, contributing over nine million dollars to GOP senate and house candidates nationwide, according to Bloomberg News. In September and October 2010, Perry gave $7 million to American Crossroads, making him the top contributor to one of the main groups dedicated to helping Republicans win control of Congress in the November 2010 election. Perry’s donation was nearly half of the group’s fundraising in the period.
Houston home builder Bob Perry has given Rick Perry (no relation) $2.5 million. In case you don’t know Bob, he is the one who helped to finance the smear Swift Boat Veterans campaign against John Kerry and he has bankrolled Tom DeLay to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. GO HERE TO SEE WHO ELSE HE HAS BANKROLLED.
Perry likes to bankroll judges as well–but only conservative Republican ones. According to Andrew Wheat of Texans for Public Justice, Bob Perry gave more than $21,000,000 between 2006 and 2009 to candidates and judges – including all but 6 Texas legislators and all nine Texas Supreme Court justices.