13 August 2007 at 1:07:56 PM
Okay, the article doesn\'t call the money TexasOne paid to the non-profit ecomonic development organization that Phil Wilson managed as (private? No!) Perry\'s deputy chief of staff a *bribe*. But what would YOU call it if you were working FOR THE STATE OF TEXAS and a private business organization regularly gave you "Good Job" checks that were pretty big. This last check was 80 THOUSAND smacks. I never got that kind of bonus in MY job. Maybe I should go try to work for Perry. That way, I\'d get all kinds of supplemental bonus money paid to me AND I could travel to other countries on vacay at the taxpayer\'s expense!
On the same June day Gov. Rick Perry named him Texas secretary of state, Phil Wilson received an $80,000 check from TexasOne – the nonprofit economic development organization that he managed as the governor\'s deputy chief of staff.
That\'s in addition to the tens of thousands of dollars Mr. Wilson has accepted in monthly salary supplements from the group, Mr. Perry\'s key business recruitment initiative, since 2004.
Mr. Wilson, 39, who is credited with closing deals on some of the state\'s biggest economic development projects, as well as shepherding the TexasOne program through its first few years, said the voting members of the organization\'s board wrote him the $80,000 check to "recognize the work I\'ve done" for the organization.
"It was an opportunity to say, \'Phil Wilson, job well done,\' " said Robert Wingo, president of TexasOne\'s board. "We felt like, \'What\'s wrong with rewarding people for doing a great job?\' "
The group\'s funding comes from memberships purchased by businesses and local governments and does not include taxpayer money.
WHY is a private entity paying a PUBLIC jobholder that kind of extra money if it\'s NOT, as kindly put *slush* money, unkindly, BRIBES. I notice that a spokesman for Perry said he wasn\'t involved in the decision to take the money. Well, you know, Perry\'s hands aren\'t clean-he didn\'t STOP Wilson when Wilson was working for him in that position from doing it, and he has REWARDED Wilson by giving him a new position now. Perry is just as corrupt.
And there\'s more.....
Seems it ain\'t just the big ole checks that these crooks had coming to them, but
Skybox seats at the Super Bowl and the NBA All-Star Game. First-class flights and hotel suites at the Ritz Carlton and the Four Seasons. And $15,000 worth of personalized cowboy boots and belt buckles, according to a Dallas Morning News analysis of top-dollar spending habits at TexasOne, Gov. Rick Perry\'s nonprofit economic development initiative. ...
Critics call the organization a glorified slush fund that wines and dines wealthy executives to persuade them to bring companies and jobs to Texas. And while it\'s funded by private donations and millions in corporate membership fees, some ethics watchdogs fear TexasOne allows corporations, which can\'t legally donate campaign funds, to buy face time at such events with the governor, his aides and others who make the state\'s economic development decisions, while getting a hearty tax write-off.
"What they\'re getting is extraordinary access to the governor by donating to a nonprofit," said Tom "Smitty" Smith, director of the Texas office of Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group. "This is one of the new loopholes emerging as a way corporations can wield influence." .....
There are the $25,000 skybox suites and $10,000 chartered helicopters, the $3,000 steakhouse dinners and champagne brunches. There are the $600 per night hotel rooms – with unlimited room service, valet parking and long distance calls. One party at the 2006 Rose Bowl, where the University of Texas won the national football championship, set TexasOne back $113,000.
Ethics experts say it\'s ludicrous to believe that big companies are contributing to TexasOne out of their concern for the state economy and not for undue access to the governor and his staff. By giving money to join, executives are invited to participate in recruiting other businesses.
"It\'s a place for corporations to write an easy check, an opportunity to stay in the face of politicians," said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, which studies the influence of money in politics.
"If this didn\'t work, the smart businessmen in Texas wouldn\'t be continuing to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into this nonprofit," Public Citizen\'s Mr. Smith said.
Now here\'s what Wilson says. Keep in mind as you read this, that that 80 THOUSAND dollar check went to... HIM.
"This fat cat mentality, this, \'Gee, you\'re coming in with cigar-smoking, good-time guys,\' that\'s not what this is," Mr. Wilson said. "You\'ve got people in a decision-making role getting a chance to say, \'I went to Texas, I met the governor, I met business people, I had a good time. But more important, they\'ve got some really unique things going on down there.\'
And Wilson gets to have a fabulous life style. The only good thing is that the taxpayers aren\'t funding it, but it\'s crooked as hell that Texas people who work for us are getting bribes from corporations so that those corps can have special access to Perry et al.
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