Major Texas donors to Perry super PAC also give big to Karl Rove-aligned American Crossroads
Leading donors to Karl Rove-aligned super PAC American Crossroads also contributed big to a pro-Rick Perry super PAC. Make Us Great Again, the group once hoping to usher in a Perry presidency, is shown to have received more than $5.5 million as of the Jan. 31 filing deadline, according to Federal Election Commission reports, with the bulk spent on TV ads promoting Perry’s now-abandoned race to the White House.
The super PAC is headed up by former Perry chief of staff and Texas lobbyist Mike Toomey — who donated more than $100,000 to his own organization — and Dallas County GOP finance chair G. Brint Ryan, who gave $250,000 to the group. Toomey’s close 25-year association with Perry and his record of heavy lobbying in the Texas Legislature drew criticism, as the newly formed super PAC rules bar candidates from coordinating in any way with its members. In addition to some 500 lobbying contracts over two decades worth up to $26.4 million, Toomey’s clients contributed $5.5 million to Perry campaigns over the years, The Texas Independent previously reported.
The Texas-based major GOP campaign contributors include some of the most prolific donors to not only the former presidential contender’s gubernatorial efforts, but to Republican causes and candidates nationwide.
Bob Perry, a Houston homebuilder and perennial financial supporter of the Texas governor and Republican candidates, donated $100,000 to the super PAC. With an estimated net worth of $650 million, Bob Perry has doled out $3.2 million to Gov. Rick Perry’s gubernatorial bids over the years. From 2005 to 2010, Bob Perry and his wife spent more than $18 million on Texas candidates and PACs, with the majority of those funds directed toward Republican causes, as The American Independent previously reported. In 2006, Bob Perry contributed more than $9 million dollars to GOP Senate and House candidates across the country, solidifying himself as the largest political donor in the nation at the time.
No stranger to donating to GOP-linked super PACs, the multi-millionaire backed Karl Rove-aligned super PAC American Crossroads with $9.5 million — accounting for nearly half of the PAC’s funds, according to the most recent data from the Center for Responsive Politics. An ardent GOP donor nationwide, Perry’s largess benefited 527 group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth– the organization in charge of attacking Sen. John Kerry’s military service during the 2004 presidential election — with some $4.45 million. Perry also doled out $3 million to Progress for America Voter Fund, a group that poured $28.8 million into George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004, according to Mother Jones.
Lesser-known donor Dallas-based Chief Oil and Gas CEO Trevor Ress-Jones, described as the “fastest-rising star in Republican big-money circles,” also gave Make Us Great Again $100,000. Ress-Jones similarly contributed to American Crossroads, giving $1 million during the 2010 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
But the largest donation came from Dallas billionaire and head of the Contran Corporation, Harold Simmons, whose holding company contributed a total of $1 million to the pro-Perry super PAC. A major Perry donor, Simmons and his wife are the fourth-largest spenders in Texas state politics, contributing more than $1 million during the 2010 election cycle, including $350,000 to Gov. Perry, as The American Independent previously reported. While spending millions in influential state lobbying dollars, Simmons has come under fire for his efforts to build a radioactive waste dump in West Texas despite contamination risks. The Dallas businessman, said to have pioneered the controversial “leveraged buyout” practice, is known for backing GOP candidates and issues. Simmons has donated millions to Swift Boat Vets, and like Ress-Jones and Perry, he gave generously to American Crossroads, doling out $5 million so far during the 2012 election cycle, according to Center Responsive Politics data. In fact, the Contran Group ($7 million) and Perry Homes ($2.5 million) top the list of donors to American Crossroads as of this year, ranking as the first and second biggest funders of the conservative 527 organization.