Texplainer: Can Perry Use State Campaign Dollars in a Presidential Run?

Rick Perry for President campaign bus in Iowa on August 15th, 2011
Rick Perry for President campaign bus in Iowa on August 15th, 2011

Hey, Texplainer: Can Gov. Rick Perry use money in his state campaign account for his presidential campaign?

Texans for Rick Perry, his state campaign committee, listed $2.1 million in cash on hand at the end of June, according to its most recent filing to the Texas Ethics Commission. But Perry can't touch it for his just-launched presidential campaign. 

Experts say Perry needs to create and use a federal campaign account in his run for the White House. Until he announced, his trips around the country could be expensed to his Texas political account or, if they were for state business, from state funds.

While he runs for president, Perry, of course, remains governor of Texas, which raises complex questions about which accounts he should use for his expenses. If Perry is handling state affairs, he can use state funds. However, if he is campaigning for federal office, even in the state of Texas, he should use his presidential campaign funds.

Counting the money and keeping track of all his expenses will fall to his gubernatorial committee. It will continue to keep records on the money raised and spent but will also track any presidential campaign money that is used. The presidential campaign money will be reported to the Federal Election Commission.

Bottom Line: Perry can't use state campaign dollars for a presidential run and must route money through a federal campaign committee.

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