Perry bills Texas taxpayers over $1 million while touring country

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 11:58 EDT
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Texas Gov. Rick Perry, appearing on 'Late Night with David Letterman.' Photo: Screenshot, CBS.
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Running for president can be expensive. Thankfully, the taxpayers are here to foot the bill.

Okay, that’s not exactly true, especially for private citizens hoping to land a new job in public office. But it does seem to be at least partially true for Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who billed taxpayers over $1 million in the last months of 2011 for travel, lodging, food and security costs accrued during his out-of-state campaign trips, according to an examination of financial disclosures published by The Texas Tribune.

The Tribune also noted that the Texas Department of Public Safety has spent more on Perry’s travels from Sept. to Dec. of 2011 than it did during all the other months of 2011 combined.

In total, Perry spent over $1.4 million for security, travel, dining and lodging during that time, all on the taxpayers’ dime. Nearly $400,000 of that was for security alone.

Perry, who has made a practice of criticizing government workers and the poor for what he calls living off taxpayer largess, insisted months ago that it is improper to criticize his large, costly security detail. He also claimed to be “promoting Texas” when he travels around the country, and suggested that his state ultimately benefits from the costs.

Perry has raised more than $17 million for his campaign, making him the second most successful fundraiser in the Republican field. First goes to former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney (R), who’s raised over $32 million, according to his most recent financial disclosure.

“When you break down the security costs — get a load of this — on one California trip, they spent $32,000 for lodging in San Francisco, $4,400 dining in Simi Valley, and plane tickets to San Diego cost $6,400,” Cenk Uygur, host of Current TV’s “The Young Turks,” explained on his show Monday night. “Okay, the plane tickets, maybe they got out of hand,” he said. “Maybe it was last second. But what are they eating? How many people are there? $4,400 in one meal? Jesus, lord, mercy, how much food can you eat?”

The video below is from “The Young Turks,” broadcast Dec. 26, 2011.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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