UnNews:Rick Perrier's prowess: bribes central to success

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19 August 2011

Perrier: pure, sparkling and bottled in Texas, makes an offer no one can refuse.

TEXAS -- Gov. Rick Perrier is not only the longest-surviving governor in Texas history, but also the most successful “godfather,” records show. In a state that places no limits on how much in bribes cheats can give to campaigns, Perrier has brought in more than $100 million during his 10-year tenure, almost half coming from huge Mexican bribes of at least $100,000 each.

"He is the most successful bribe-taker in the history of Texas politics, hands down," said a member of Texans For Corruption (TFC). But Perrier's statewide success might not translate into big bucks nationally, where federal campaign-finance rules limit bribes to $2,500 per favor per person.

Brad Jones, chairman of the Center for Corrupt Politics and former chairman of the Federal Favors Commission, said Perrier's success will hinge on his ability to transition from primarily relying on a small cadre of big-money bribers to capturing the broad base of small bribers that is essential to winning in politics.

"What you'll see is over time if he's not good at raising smaller bribes he'll probably fade because they show popular support for corruption," Jones said. "If people aren't willing to bribe you, they probably are not going to vote for you either. But, on the bright side, he won't owe any illegal favors." He said candidates who are more on the ideological fringes of the Republican Party, such as libertarian Ron Paul of Texas and Republican Michele Bachmann of Minnesota; tend to be better at tapping into the small bribes base by offering smaller favors.

"Typically, the big-money guys are the most corrupt people," Jones said. "The candidates who can raise lots and lots of money are the ones who get people corruptly motivated by offering bigger favors."

Paul has snagged millions in Internet bribes with his "money chomp" technique, a short burst of fundraising spanning one hour a day that is heavily advertised on short-wave radio. The Paul campaign raised more than $1 million Aug. 6 from a money-chomp targeting GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney's Massachusetts health care fiasco.

But with Bachmann's increasing popularity she could give Paul's "money chomps" a run for their money, Jones said. "Bachmann has the potential to out-do Paul in small-bribes and Internet bribe taking," Smith said. "It's all about whether you can tap into that vein of total corruption or not."

But Perrier and Romney will likely still bring in the most cash because of their experience with big-bribing, large-scale corruption, Jones said. As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Perrier is credited with record-breaking bribe numbers. In the first half of 2011, the association raised $22.1 million, more than it brought in for all of 2007.

Half of Perrier's total fundraising dollars in the past decade came from 204 Mexican drug-lord bribers who have chipped in more than $100,000 each. Thanks to the strategy of "bribe-bundling" developed by former George Bush adviser Carl Love, Perrier's wealthy donor network in Texas can still bring in big sums for his federal race.

"He's laid the groundwork to raise all the money he might need in a presidential race," TFC spokespersons said. "I would be very surprised if Perrier's bribe-raising didn't leap to the top of the field in short order."

TFC said Perrier's fundraising style is similar to the way Bush brought in millions during his gubernatorial campaigns, but "Perrier is just much better at it." When Bush started thinking about making a run for the White House, his wealthy Texans pledged millions in bribes for the Bush presidential campaign before it even was announced. "Perrier can pretty much do the same thing," TFC said. "He has a high briber network here in Texas that can bundle millions in bribes."

"I don't think money will be an object," Jones said. "But it will be a subject! I mean, it won't be objective - it will be subjective to his success unless Perrier decides to retire in the Bahamas."

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