Posts Tagged ‘Gov. Perry’

Pay-to-play tradition for Perry appointees continues with Texas Tech regent appointment

Posted on: February 2nd, 2012 by Teddy Wilson No Comments

Now that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is out of the national spotlight, it’s back to business as usual in Texas. Last week Perry appointed John Walker to the Board of Regents for the Texas Tech University System. With this appointment Perry continues his long tradition of appointing campaign donors to state offices and giving plum positions to supporters.

A Texans for Public Justice report found that Perry’s regent appointees have contributed over $6 million to his campaigns since 2000. Those appointed to the boards of regents at the University Texas System, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University and University of Houston have given the most money to Perry’s campaigns.

Walker is the president and CEO of EnerVest Ltd, an oil and gas company that is described on its web site as “using private equity” to “acquire onshore properties with proven reserves, enhance and build up those assets, then sell prudently three to five years out.” In addition to being a Texas Tech alum, Walker is also a member of the National Petroleum Council, past chairman of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, and a past board member of the Natural Gas Council.

While Walker has contributed to Perry’s campaigns, four other Texas Tech Regents have contributed significantly more. According to Texas Ethics Commission records, Walker has contributed $75,000 to Perry’s gubernatorial campaigns, which is still above the $64,343 average from Texas Tech regent appointees. In addition to contributions to Perry’s campaigns, Walker also donated $1,000 to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and $7,000 to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

Before the donations to Perry’s campaign, Walker also initially contributed $26,000 to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s campaign for governor, and it has been alleged that regents that supported Hutchison’s challenge of Perry faced political retribution. The Austin-American Statesman reported that two Texas Tech appointees said that Perry’s campaign pressured them to resign after they endorsed Hutchison.

Walker has been a much more active contributor to federal campaigns than he has to state campaigns. A review of Federal Elections Commission records found that Walker has contributed more than $73,000 to 22 different candidates, including $2,500 to Perry’s failed presidential campaign. In addition, Walker has contributed another $38,500 to political action committees, including $26,250 to the Republican National Committee.

The vast majority of Walker’s contributions have gone to Republican candidates. While he has contributed to several candidates from Texas such as more than $8,000 to Sen. John Cornyn and nearly $10,000 to Rep. Pete Olson, Walker has also contributed to candidates elsewhere including $2,400 to Sharon Angle in Nevada and $4,800 to Carly Fiorina in California.

Major Texas donors to Perry super PAC also give big to Karl Rove-aligned American Crossroads

Posted on: February 2nd, 2012 by Mary Tuma No Comments

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. (more…)

While Texas CPCs get more money, welfare programs they refer to are cut

Posted on: September 21st, 2011 by Sofia Resnick 1 Comment

As The American Independent has reported, Texas’ six-year-old Alternatives to Abortion program has consistently received increases in state funding, while organizations that provide reproductive-health and family-planning services for the uninsured has steadily decreased. This year, the state Legislature did more than cut family-planning funding, however. It also cut billions of dollars from social-service programs that crisis pregnancy centers and maternity houses refer to under the directive of Alternatives to Abortion.

The services — nutritional supplements through the Women, Infants, Children program (WIC); free medical care through Medicaid; children’s health insurance through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); and cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance to Need Families (TANF) program – benefit Texans in need. In Alternatives to Abortion evaluation reports produced for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), one of the main services highlighted for each entity that receives state money for this program is referrals for state social-service programs.

For Texas’ 2012-2013 biennium budget, the state Legislature:

  • cut family planning funding, from approximately $111.5 million to $37.9 million,
  • raised Alternative to Abortion funding, from $8 million to $8.3 million,
  • left the state’s Medicaid funding about $4.8 billion short of full funding (though, as The Washington Post recently reported, a lot of this money will likely have to come out of the state’s “Rainy Day Fund.”).

After the Alternatives to Abortion program was created, HHSC commissioned site-evaluation reports from the Texas Pregnancy Care Network (TPCN), the nonprofit contracted by the state to manage and disperse funding to currently 33 CPC and maternity agencies (about 44 individual sites total).

In a collection of site reports from June 2005 to October 2010 – previously obtained by The Texas Independent — the most common services, as documented by TPCN, included “counseling and mentoring”; education classes on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and adoption; assistance with food, shelter, clothing and medical care; and referrals to other community resources.

A frequent phrase found in the reports: “The Center receives client referrals from local churches and schools, and makes referrals to local adoption agencies and community services like WIC Program” (San Martin de Porres House of Hope in El Paso), or “The Center makes referrals to State services like Food Stamps, WIC Program, Community Health Clinics, Attorney General’s Office Child Support Enforcement, Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (Gabriel Project Life Center in Austin and Bryan).

On subsidized centers’ individual websites — such as those of Gabriel Project Life Center, A Woman’s Haven in San Antonio and Austin LifeCare in Austin – under “Services,” they commonly list referrals to state health and social-service programs.

Last month, state Rep. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) wrote an editorial in the Houston Chronicle, criticizing the GOP-dominated Legislature’s final budgetary decisions, claiming the family-planning cuts “could also mean more than 20,000 additional unplanned pregnancies – which means more emergency Medicaid births, more parents dependent on CHIP, WIC and Medicaid, and an increase in abortions in Texas.”

While these programs to which Alternatives to Abortion frequently refers women have faced deep budget cuts, the Alternatives to Abortion program, particularly its staff, has been relatively insulated from the same treatment. As The Texas Independent has previously reported, TPCN’s reimbursement rate is higher than what the state pays, under Medicaid, for nurses to provide family-planning services. The rate is also higher than the Medicaid rate for therapy sessions with master’s-level social workers.

According to the Center for Public Policy Priorities (PDF), Texas Medicaid funding, as it currently stands, provides “basic health care and life-saving supports” for:

  • Nearly all Texans with intellectual disabilities and other serious lifelong or childhood-acquired disabilities
  • 55 percent of Texas babies who receive prenatal care and delivery from Medicaid and CHIP
  • 2.5 million kids (3 million with CHIP)
  • Hundreds of thousands of seniors and Texans with disabilities who avoid institutional care through Medicaid community supports
  • More than 1,600 women every month who are undergoing treatment for breast or cervical cancer

As Texas cuts family-planning funding, more goes to crisis-pregnancy services

Posted on: September 20th, 2011 by Sofia Resnick 3 Comments

Image by Matt MahurinWith presidential hopeful Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s blessing, as of this month, Texas women’s health clinics and hospitals that provide medical and reproductive health services to low-income, uninsured women across the state have collectively lost approximately $74 million in state funding. Meanwhile, a state network of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) (more…)

Perry criticized by family-planning friends and foes on Texas funding, HPV policy

Posted on: September 8th, 2011 by Sofia Resnick No Comments

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the lobbying arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), has launched a campaign targeting Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has been pegged by many media outlets as the current leader in the race for the Republican nomination for the 2012 presidential election. (more…)

Former manager of defunded Planned Parenthood clinic now giving speeches on her ‘pro-life conversion’

Posted on: August 29th, 2011 by Sofia Resnick 1 Comment

Two years after Abby Johnson, the former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas, abruptly quit her job and began protesting abortion rights (and profiting heavily from it), another former Planned Parenthood worker has recently begun accepting speaking gigs to denounce abortion, according to (more…)

Perry pledges to select only ‘pro-life’ cabinet members if president

Posted on: August 24th, 2011 by Sofia Resnick 1 Comment

Texas Gov. Rick Perry — currently in the lead, according to Gallup, to be the Republican nominee for president in 2012 — signed (PDF) on Wednesday the Susan B. Anthony List’s controversial anti-abortion pledge. (more…)