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Mitt and Rick’s Secret Donor Deal



It might be hard to imagine after last week’s GOP presidential slugfest, but there was a time not too long ago when a group headed by Mitt Romney quietly—and a judge says illegally—helped Rick Perry’s political career in Texas and set the stage for his new nemesis to rise on the national stage.

Known mostly by Texas political insiders, the allegations gleaned from court files have mostly escaped national attention as Romney and Perry quickly transform the 2012 GOP presidential nomination into an intense two-man race that has left other contenders like Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman in the rearview mirror.

And what hasn’t emerged before are court files reviewed by The Daily Beast stating that Romney was personally aware of the origins of the $1 million donation from a Texas homebuilder at the heart of the controversy, and that he discussed it with Perry’s campaign aides.

In the fall of 2006, Perry was engaged in an unexpectedly tight reelection race for Texas governor. Romney, a fellow governor from Massachusetts, was running the Republican Governors Association, helping GOP incumbents try to keep their jobs in a tough election swayed by discontent over Iraq, Bush fatigue, and economic uncertainty in an unstable mortgage market.

Perry was in need of fresh funds for advertising in the final weeks, and he had the perfect source: millionaire Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, the man who just two years earlier had helped underwrite the Swift Boat attack ads that damaged John Kerry’s standing among veterans in the 2004 presidential race that tipped to George W. Bush. (The Perrys are not related.)

If the governor took money directly from the homebuilder late in the race, he might resurrect questions over his close ties to Bob Perry, who was already one of Rick Perry’s biggest benefactors and had been tied to his controversial 2003 decision to create a commission to regulate complaints against homebuilders. Rick Perry also had run ads earlier in the campaign accusing his Democratic competitor of being addicted to trial-lawyer money, and his advisers didn’t want the issue to boomerang.


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