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Home / Articles / Views / The Highroad /  The corporate-funded merry-go-round
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Thursday, January 6,2011

The corporate-funded merry-go-round

By Jim Hightower

Headline: AT&T buys 700 copies of Perry book.


It’s a story about Rick Perry, the splendidly coiffed Republican governor of Texas, but it’s really about how corporations, corporate-funded right-wing organizations and corporate-backed politicians happily hum kumbaya together.

In December, Perry gave another of his rants on how he hates Washington’s power elites. Ironically, his speech was in Washington — delivered to an appreciative audience of lobbyists and other Washington power elites.

Perry thinks irony is a county in Iran, so he missed the absurdity of it all.

AT&T, which sponsored the luncheon where the guv held forth, has beaucoup business before the Texas state government and is a half-million-dollar donor to Perry’s gubernatorial campaigns. They’re tight. So tight that the corporation shelled out $13,000 to buy 700 copies of the governor’s book, giving them to every attendee. Perry donated his share of the sale to the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

What’s that? A virulently far-right corporate front that develops much of Gov. Perry’s agenda — and, in turn, backs him. Then there’s the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the group that invited Perry to do his schtick about the horrors of inside-Washington elites. ALEC is richly funded by such extremist laissezfaire corporate barons as the multibillionaire Koch brothers, who’re among the most elite players in Washington.

So, a corporate front group has a meeting in Washington, inviting the ambitious corporate-cozy Texas governor to strut his stuff at a lobbyistinfested lunch sponsored by his favor-seeking AT&T pals, who buy a bunch of his books, the proceeds of which go to another corporate front that backs Perry in exchange for him carrying their agenda. Everybody’s back gets scratched — and it’s all done in the guise of fighting power-hungry elites.

For more information on Jim Hightower’s work — and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown — visit


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