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Most UT, A&M regents contribute to Rick Perry’s presidential campaign

Regents appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to oversee Texas’ two flagship universities have been substantial donors to his gubernatorial reelection efforts. True to form now, many of those regents from the University of Texas and Texas A&M have quickly contributed to Perry’s presidential campaign too.

As a report by Texans for Public Justice showed, regents at A&M and UT have been among the most generous donors to Perry’s campaigns over the last decade. Regents from A&M donated a total of $2,036,290 and averaged $113,127 per regent, and regents from UT contributed a total of $1,669,263, averaging $83,463 per regent.

An examination of Federal Election Commission campaign finance records shows that twelve of the eighteen regents between the two universities have already given to Perry’s latest campaign. On each board, six out of nine regents from both A&M and UT have given.

A&M regents Jim Schwertner and John D. White have both contributed $5,000 to Perry’s campaign, while Richard Box, Phil Adams, Morris Foster, and Judy Morgan all contributed $2,500. Only regents Elaine Mendoza, Cliff Thomas, and James P. Wilson have not contributed to Perry’s campaign.

While he has not donated to the presidential campaign, Thomas —also appointed by Perry as a past board member of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority — did contribute $251,000 to Perry’s gubernatorial campaigns. Wilson has also donated to Perry’s gubernatorial campaigns, contributing $177,300.

Among UT regents Alex Cranberg, James Dannenbaum, Paul Foster, Printice Gary, Brenda Pejovich, and Robert Stillwell all contributed $2,500 to Perry’s campaign. Regents Wallace Hall Jr., Steve Hicks, and Gene Powell have not contributed to Perry’s campaign.

Hicks has contributed $265,000 to Perry’s gubernatorial campaigns, and Powell has given over $100,000. While Powell may not have donated to Perry’s presidential run, as the Washington Post reported, he has helped lead fundraising efforts for Perry.

As the Texas Independent reported Thursday, Perry has been criticized for promoting a system of crony capitalism in Texas, but little attention has been paid to his financial ties to officials he’s appointed to oversee the state’s public universities, or to those backing controversial reform proposals for higher education.

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