Rick Perry Is on the Payroll of His Super-PAC’s Biggest Sugar Daddy

The GOP candidate is on the board of a pipeline company whose CEO is spending millions to get him elected president.

Brian Cahn/ZUMA

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Rick Perry’s fundraising for his second presidential campaign is off to a tepid start. Last week, his campaign announced a $1.07 million haul since Perry officially declared his candidacy at the beginning of June. Though he entered the race later than some of the other GOP candidates, that’s far lower than the amounts raised by some of his rivals including Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson.

Things were a bit better for Perry on the super PAC front, where a trio of interlocking groups supporting his campaign claimed $16.8 million in donations, according to CNN. The largest donor to this outside spending effort is the billionaire owner of a Texas pipeline company that also happens to write Rick Perry’s paycheck.

As Mother Jones reported last month, Perry is still sitting on the corporate board of Energy Transfer Partners, even after making his presidential campaign official. Perry had joined the board of the oil and natural gas pipeline company in early February, shortly after leaving the Texas governor’s office. Politicians typically step down from such jobs before launching a presidential bid to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, but Perry’s kept his board spot while hitting the campaign trail. While the company isn’t willing to disclose his salary for the board spot, past Securities and Exchange Commission records show that the job has recently come with about $50,000 in compensation.

But Energy Transfer Partners’ CEO Kelcy Warren is putting far more money into Perry’s presidential ambitions. According to CNN, Warren accounts for $6 million of Perry’s super PAC donations to date. Warren—worth $6.7 billion according to Forbes—chipped in just $250,000 to the pro-Perry super PAC in 2012, but he is clearly more invested in Perry’s second campaign. In addition to ponying up the most money for the super PAC’s, Warren is working for the official campaign as its finance chairman.

More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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