Rick Perry will spend Saturday meeting with one of his top donors, and a pseudo-historian who took part in 2010′s “Texas schoolbook massacre.” Good times.
Here’s a clip from my article at TheGrio:
While hundreds of thousands of Americans converge on the National Mall to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend as the president dedicates a memorial to the slain civil rights leader, Rick Perry, the newly minted Republican Party presidential front-runner, will be attending a retreat with a man who believes King deserves no such honor.
The “call to action” retreat, reported by Politico’s Jonathan Martin earlier this month, will be hosted by a prominent San Antonio doctor, Jim Leininger, and his wife Cecilia. Among the co-hosts of the Fredericksburg, Texas event, which is being called a “get together to discuss the 2012 election,” rather than a fundraiser, will be David Barton, the founder of the evangelical Christian group WallBuilders.
It’s ironic that Perry will be spending the day before the King memorial dedication with a man who has said that King does not deserve credit for the revolutionary changes in civil rights law that took place in the 1950s and 60s.
And here’s a clip from Thursday’s night’s MSNBC Live with Al Sharpton, where your humble editor talked with the Rev about Perry’s friends:
And what of the host, Dr. Leninger? He’s considered the “paymaster to the religious right” in Texas and is probably the single biggest financial backer of Perry’s career, dating to when Perry was the state’s agricultural commissioner.
More on Leninger:
Perry might never have been governor—nor now be a presidential candidate—but for James Leininger. In a game-changing 1998 race then-Texas Agriculture Commissioner Perry was elected Lieutenant Governor. That victory secured Perry’s automatic promotion to governor two years later when President-Elect Bush abandoned the Governor’s Mansion. Perry narrowly won his fateful 1998 race against Democrat John Sharp, capturing just 50.04 percent of the vote. This squeaker victory was secured by an eleventh-hour media blitz that Perry paid for with a last-minute, $1.1 million loan. Leininger and two other Texas tycoons guaranteed the loan,1 which supplied more than 10 percent of the $10.3 million that Perry raised for that election.
And there’s this:
The Dallas Morning News already reported on that relationship last year. But on Saturday, The New York Times resurrected the story as it examined how “one of [Perry’s] most potent fund-raising tools is the very government he heads.”
Over three terms in office, Mr. Perry’s administration has doled out grants, tax breaks, contracts and appointments to hundreds of his most generous supporters and their businesses. And they have helped Mr. Perry raise more money than any politician in Texas history, donations that have periodically raised eyebrows but, thanks to loose campaign finance laws and a business-friendly political culture dominated in recent years by Republicans, have only fueled Mr. Perry’s ascent.
Whether or not Leininger is the political puppet master that his liberal detractors allege, his fundraising prowess will likely form a vital part of Perry’s campaign operation in this state.