In last night’s GOP debate, Michele Bachmann criticized Perry for requiring sixth grade girls to get a vaccine made by Merck, which both donated to his gubernatorial campaign and employs his former chief of staff as a lobbyist. Perry response: “I raise about $30 million, and if you’re saying that I can be bought for $5,000? I’m offended.”
Turns out that $5,000 is indeed chump change to Perry, and Merck has paid him far more than that. Here’s Drum:
It turns out it was more like $30,000 [according to the Wall Street Journal.] And wait again! Over the past five years, it turns out that Merck gave over $350,000 to the Republican Governors Association, a period in which Perry was heavily involved with the group, and the RGA in turn gave $4 million to Rick Perry.
And wait some more! Merck’s lobbyist on the vaccine issue was Mike Toomey, Perry’s former chief of staff. Toomey recently co-founded a super PAC that plans to raise over $50 million for Perry’s campaign.
So that’s that. Now we know what it takes to get in the door and persuade Perry to do something that violates his most deeply held principles and enrages his most zealous supporters. Five grand is indeed far too little. But 30 grand plus 350 grand plus some arm twisting from a pal with deep pockets apparently does the trick.