Rick Perry Is on the Payroll of His Super-PAC’s Biggest Sugar Daddy

The GOP candidate is on the board of a pipeline company whose CEO is spending millions to get him elected president.

Brian Cahn/ZUMA

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Rick Perry’s fundraising for his second presidential campaign is off to a tepid start. Last week, his campaign announced a $1.07 million haul since Perry officially declared his candidacy at the beginning of June. Though he entered the race later than some of the other GOP candidates, that’s far lower than the amounts raised by some of his rivals including Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson.

Things were a bit better for Perry on the super PAC front, where a trio of interlocking groups supporting his campaign claimed $16.8 million in donations, according to CNN. The largest donor to this outside spending effort is the billionaire owner of a Texas pipeline company that also happens to write Rick Perry’s paycheck.

As Mother Jones reported last month, Perry is still sitting on the corporate board of Energy Transfer Partners, even after making his presidential campaign official. Perry had joined the board of the oil and natural gas pipeline company in early February, shortly after leaving the Texas governor’s office. Politicians typically step down from such jobs before launching a presidential bid to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, but Perry’s kept his board spot while hitting the campaign trail. While the company isn’t willing to disclose his salary for the board spot, past Securities and Exchange Commission records show that the job has recently come with about $50,000 in compensation.

But Energy Transfer Partners’ CEO Kelcy Warren is putting far more money into Perry’s presidential ambitions. According to CNN, Warren accounts for $6 million of Perry’s super PAC donations to date. Warren—worth $6.7 billion according to Forbes—chipped in just $250,000 to the pro-Perry super PAC in 2012, but he is clearly more invested in Perry’s second campaign. In addition to ponying up the most money for the super PAC’s, Warren is working for the official campaign as its finance chairman.

More Mother Jones reporting on Dark Money

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate