in Houston, Texas
Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s six-figure security bill includes trip to Bahamas, book promotion events
Monday, Sep 19, 2011, 01:29PM CST
By Jennifer Peebles
rickperry

Gov. Rick Perry did not want you to know that the state spent $294,000 for his security detail to travel with him and/or his wife out-of-state over a nine-month period.

The Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News had the story this weekend about the size of the security detail's travel bill.

This is the same governor who, during the legislative session earlier this year, tried to keep those bills from ever seeing the light of day.

From the story this weekend:
AUSTIN - At a time when state budget reductions were used to help offset a multibillion-dollar revenue shortfall, taxpayers were billed in excess of $294,000 in security detail expenses for out-of-state trips by Gov. Rick Perry or his wife, according to records released by the Department of Public Safety.

Destinations included the Bahamas in January for a family vacation and trips to Amsterdam, Madrid and New York by Anita Perry alone - visits that Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said were for economic development. …

Perry, when asked about the subject, said the state should pay such costs. "I'm going to be promoting Texas no matter where I go," he said in July.
I have to wonder how the governor's track record on open government issues is going to play with the rest of the country in his bid for the White House.

This is a guy who, until a couple of weeks ago, was destroying all his e-mail after just a few days. That's totally not cool. (Thanks to John Washburn, an open government activist in Wisconsin, the governor's e-mail is now being retained again.)

Witness the grief that people -- myself included -- have given to President Obama over government e-mails not being released, or White House visitor logs, or Abu Ghraib photos. President Obama has said he’s committed to transparency, and when we’ve felt like he’s fallen short of that goal, we advocates of open government made our unhappiness clear. I hope Gov. Perry is taking notes.

Whether you believe in the "Texas Miracle" or you roll your eyes at that phrase, people have a right to expect that the business of their government will be conducted in a transparent fashion.  And that expectation is only going to be stronger as our governor moves to a much larger stage.

***
Contact Jennifer Peebles at jennifer@texaswatchdog.org or 281-656-1681. Follow her on Twitter at @jpeebles or @texaswatchdog.

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Photo of Rick Perry by flickr user Gage Skidmore, used via a Creative Commons license.
Comments
Preston Smith
Monday, 09/19/2011 - 05:39PM

Stuff like this keeps piling up doesn't it...

Helen Delarue
Tuesday, 09/20/2011 - 09:27AM

Yes, it sure does. I'm a native Texan, been watching Perry for a long time. Only reason he has been governor so long is because the voters let the media elect him...that and the hispanic vote.

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