Rick Perry’s crony capitalism problem

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential pitch goes something like this: During one of the worst recessions in American history, he’s kept his state “open for business.” In the last two years, Texas created over a quarter of a million jobs, meaning that the state’s 8% unemployment rate is substantially lower than the rest of the nation’s. The governor credits this exceptional growth to things like low taxes and tort reform.

It’s a strong message. But one of the governor’s signature economic development initiatives—the Texas Emerging Technology Fund—has lately raised serious questions among some conservatives.

The Emerging Technology Fund was created at Mr. Perry’s behest in 2005 to act as a kind of public-sector venture capital firm, largely to provide funding for tech start-ups in Texas. Since then, the fund has committed nearly $200 million of taxpayer money to fund 133 companies. Mr. Perry told a group of CEOs in May that the fund’s “strategic investments are what’s helping us keep groundbreaking innovations in the state.” The governor, together with the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the Texas House, enjoys ultimate decision-making power over the fund’s investments.

Among the companies that the Emerging Technology Fund has invested in is Convergen LifeSciences, Inc. It received a $4.5 million grant last year—the second largest grant in the history of the fund. The founder and executive chairman of Convergen is David G. Nance.

In 2009, when Mr. Nance submitted his application for a $4.5 million Emerging Technology Fund grant for Convergen, he and his partners had invested only $1,000 of their own money into their new company, according to documentation prepared by the governor’s office in February 2010. But over the years, Mr. Nance managed to invest a lot more than $1,000 in Mr. Perry. Texas Ethics Commission records show that Mr. Nance donated $75,000 to Mr. Perry’s campaigns between 2001 and 2006.

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5 thoughts on “Rick Perry’s crony capitalism problem

  1. Norman

    Just another of the Texas flimflamer’s out to steal a buck from the people. Another Billy Sol Estes. All mysterious fluff, B.S. mixed with the evangelicalism to garner the couch potatoes. Snake oil salesman? What ever floats your boat. Indeed, the gates to the asylum have been thrown wide open, rationality has been replaced with stupidity.

  2. dickerson3870

    RE: “Mr. Nance donated $75,000 to Mr. Perry’s campaigns between 2001 and 2006.” ~ WSJ

    MY COMMENT: That might well be the kind of change/coinage Rick Perry believes in, but it is certainly not the kind of change/coinage that most of us can believe in!

  3. scottindallas

    Perry has borrowed money at a faster rate than the federal gov’t itself. He’s left us with huge budget deficits, having to gut the budget just this year. He’s beggared the cities, and sold us out to the highest bidder. We went from having effected regulated electricity, the lowest rates in the nation, to the among the highest. We have the highest insurance rates in the country, for no apparent reason. (a friend moved to Colorado, only to find her health ins. was 1/2 what it is here) He’s full of gimmicks and crony capitalism. Farmer’s Insurance refused to donate to his campaign like the others, and they were punished for it. He’s a former cheerleader, a real dandy–his wife suggests that he likes his young male aid’s company more than her own, after catching him in a compromising position. (I know from experience, it’s hard to identify a West Texas homosexual, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m not wearing the Christian Conservative label.)

  4. scottindallas

    Also, he hasn’t won a majority in either of his last two elections, each time he’s run against 2 others, Perry never garnered more than 40% in either the primaries or the general election in a state where Republicans win every statewide office. He may not win Texas in the General election for President. That said, I’m ambivalent about his running. Like Bush, we’d love to get rid of Perry anyway possible.

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