As Public Campaign Action Fund noted yesterday, presidential hopeful Gov. Rick Perry's (R-Texas) ties to pharmaceutical giant Merck run a lot deeper than a $5,000 check, as he claimed in Monday's Tea Party debate. And it seems we weren't the only ones who noticed.
Many news outlets reported today on the flap over Perry and his deep financial ties to Merck, the HPV vaccine-maker:
From the Washington Post: "His gubernatorial campaigns, for example, have received nearly $30,000 from the drugmaker since 2000, most of that before he issued his vaccine mandate, which was overturned by the Texas legislature. Merck and its subsidiaries have also given more than $380,000 to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) since 2006, the year that Perry began to play a prominent role in the Washington-based group, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics." The National Journal also chimed in.
The Houston Chronicle reports on a longtime aid who is a strong link between Perry and the drug maker: "Toomey (former aid) has contributed more than $48,000 to Texans for Rick Perry since 2000. He also serves as a lobbyist for other corporations and groups with political action committees that have been generous to both Perry and the Republican Governor’s Association, a position that offers him considerable clout in Austin."
Think Progress reports on Perry's "Washington Kick-off Fundraiser," which was hosted by, you guessed, a Merck lobbyist: "Event host Jeff MacKinnon’s firm served as a registered lobbying agent for Merck from 2005 to 2010, and has pulled in approximately $860,000 from Merck in exchange for lobbying Congress on “drug safety” issues. MacKinnon’s firm stopped lobbying for Merck starting this year."
And The Statesman, down in Austin, has another story on Perry's campaign backers indirectly paying the salary of Perry's wife, Anita: "Much of Texas first lady Anita Perry's $60,000-a-year salary at an Austin nonprofit comes indirectly from Gov. Rick Perry's political donors, state contractors and companies that do business with the state or have issues before the Legislature."
With a slew of debates still to be had in the Republican primary season, this issue is not likely to fade any time soon. Perry might, as they say in Texas, have some more splainin' to do.