Pro-Rick Perry PAC Raised $5.5 Million

Mike Toomey (l), former chief of staff for Texas Governor Rick Perry (r) with the governor on January 21, 2003 in his office on the eve of his second inaugural.  Toomey, now a high-powered lobbyist, and Perry have been friends since their first days in politics.
Mike Toomey (l), former chief of staff for Texas Governor Rick Perry (r) with the governor on January 21, 2003 in his office on the eve of his second inaugural. Toomey, now a high-powered lobbyist, and Perry have been friends since their first days in politics.

Wealthy donors and companies, most of them from Texas, poured more than $5 million into an independent Super PAC that tried for a few months to help Rick Perry get elected president.

The federal Make Us Great Again political action committee, co-founded by Texas lobbyist and Perry confidante Mike Toomey, raised $1 million alone from Contran Corporation, the holding company controlled by Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, new disclosures show.

Toomey lobbies for one of Simmons’ companies, WCS, which is planning to build a radioactive waste dump in far West Texas, records show.

Toomey shelled out a little more than $100,000 of his own money for the doomed effort, while his co-founder, Dallas businessman Brint Ryan, chipped in $250,000.

A total of $5.5 million was raised, most of it from Texas.

Also giving handsomely to Make Us Great Again were Houston Texans owner Robert McNair ($100,000); former Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane; Houston homebuilder Bob Perry ($100,000), who is not related to the governor; Western Rim CEO Marcus Hiles ($200,000); Chief Oil and Gas CEO Trevor Rees-Jones ($100,000); Buzbee Law Firm attorney Tony Buzbee ($250,000); and Chesapeake Energy Corporation and its federal PAC ($250,000 combined).

Besides Chesapeake, headquartered in Oklahoma, out-of-state donors included Ann J. Templeton of Sarasota, Fla., who gave $100,000; John Mumford of Portola Valley, Calif., and founding partner of Crosspoint Venture Partners, who gave $200,000; and Joe Sanderson, Jr., of Laurel Miss., chairman of Sanderson Farms, who gave $50,000, records show.

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma gave $50,000.

The PAC, which spent most of the money running TV ads in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, had spent all but about $600,000 of the money by the close of the reporting period on Dec. 31.

Perry pulled out of the race on Jan. 19.

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