Along with thousands to Perry, Merck gave big to the governor’s biggest donor

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Image by Matt MahurinEarlier today, we reported that Merck, the manufacturer of the human papillomavirus vaccine that Gov. Rick Perry attempted to mandate for Texas girls in 2007, has given more than the $5,000 Perry said it had given him Monday night.

The figure on donations from the company’s political action committee actually come closer to $30,000 over the time Perry’s been governor — though still a pittance compared to the governor’s total campaign contributions, and Perry could still be “offended,” as he said last night, by the suggestion he coud be bought for even that much.

But as the Washington Post reports today, along with nearly $30,000 directly, Merck gave more than $355,000 to the Republican Governors Association in the years since Perry became prominent in the group. Perry was chairman of the RGA in 2008 and earlier this year, until he launched his presidential campaign.

As the Los Angeles Times points out today, Perry wasn’t just an influential figure in the group — he’s also been one of its biggest beneficiaries, bringing in $4 million from the RGA in the last five years, making it the top contributor to his reelection efforts:

The organization’s donations came as Perry helped infuse the governors’ group with millions of dollars from some of his major political patrons. Out of the $217 million the RGA raised between January 2006 and June 2011, $68.7 million came from 139 donors who have also given to Perry, according to a new report being released Tuesday morning by the watchdog group Texans for Public Justice.

Nearly a third of those contributors were wealthy Texans who form the backbone of Perry’s finance operation — many of whom were not active donors to the RGA until 2006, when the Texas governor took on a bigger role at the organization.

Perry’s rise in the group fueled not just new contributions from the RGA, the Times reports, but a new set of wealthy Texan donors for the RGA:

Once Perry became involved with the RGA, Texas donations to the group rose from an average of 5% of the RGA’s total funds between 2003 and 2005 to nearly a 15% average in the past six years. In that time, Perry’s state donors gave the RGA $24.3 million, according to data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics that was analyzed by Texans for Public Justice.

Read the full report from Texans for Public Justice below:

Perry RGA Cross Over

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