Rick Perry: Transparency is Boring

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


On the campaign trail and on the web, Rick Perry touts a supposedly sterling record on transparency. But the facts don’t back him up. Last week, his office settled an ethics complaint accusing his campaign of hiding the fact that it spent hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of campaign contributions spent on party supplies for the governor’s mansion. That wasn’t an isolated incident, Politico reports:

Though other states have email retention policies sometimes calling for deletion after 30 or 45 days, Texas’s seven-day period is possibly the briefest…The policy, a holdover from former President George W. Bush’s gubernatorial administration in Texas, calls on staffers to print out emails that might be covered by the Texas Public Information Act, but there’s no check on their judgment.

Perry also has refused to release a range of existing records that have been made public by both his predecessors in Texas and by governors of other states, including his daily schedule, his office’s reviews of death penalty cases—even lists of guests who stayed overnight at the governor’s mansion.

Bush not only released lists of overnight guests at the governor’s mansion during his governorship, including big donors, but during his 2000 presidential campaign, he released 3,125 pages of records detailing almost his entire schedule. It included everything from meetings with lobbyists and donors, to time spent reviewing death penalty cases, to his workout breaks.

Perry has also sought to keep secret his cozy ties with big donors, as well as details of past budget negotiations. This summer, the state legislature gave him an assist by passing a bill that will delay the release of information on his security detail’s travel records until after the 2012 election.

So does Perry think he has an openness problem? “I think we give so much information already that it is boring,” he said last October. Information-overload isn’t the issue. Perry doesn’t seem to get the basic point that destroying any traceable record of his public life suggests that he has something to hide.

More Mother Jones reporting on Dark Money

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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