Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) is facing allegations that he used his office equipment to benefit his presidential campaign, after an Associated Press investigation into his phone records revealed that he spoke to numerous campaign donors and even met with an executive who would later create a political action committee that supports his campaign.
Perry aides told Associated Press reporter Jack Gillum that the calls, placed in the months leading up to Perry’s announcement that he would run for the presidency, were all for “official business.”
While it is impossible to say what Perry and others were discussing, and incoming calls are not logged on public records, some of the individuals Perry contacted have unmistakable sway in the world of politics. One of those individuals was Brint Ryan, who Perry “talked with in-person and on Ryan’s cell phone in April,” Gillum noted.
Ryan went on to co-found the “Make Us Great Again” super PAC, which has been supporting Perry. Super PACs are forbidden from coordinating their activities with candidates they support, although it is not uncommon for super PACs to be founded by friends of candidates.
And that’s just the beginning of a long list of those Perry reached out to directly from the governor’s office. Others included longtime Perry supporters, former Bush officials, a number of his largest campaign donors and others who owe their government jobs to the long-serving Republican.
If he was, in fact, discussing campaign matters with these individuals, it’s not just an infraction of Texas law: it’s a violation of federal law as well. Both the Republican and Democratic national committees have campaign offices literally steps away from the Capitol in D.C., as a means of avoiding the very ethical scrape Perry finds himself in today.
Despite Perry’s pledge to be a transparent governor, his administration does not offer much information as to who meets or speaks with, what he does while traveling, or how his travel expenses are spent. His administration has also spent years automatically deleting all emails after just seven days; a practice that was put on hold after a clever activist created a program that automates twice-weekly records requests for the administration’s emails.