AUSTIN, Texas -- Gov. Rick Perry, frequent guest on the Sunday television talk shows and frequent flier to Iowa, has not been coy about his interest in running for president again. Now comes RickPAC, a federal political action committee that will enable him to help elect Republican candidates across the country this fall.
"RickPAC will help support Republican candidates who share the governor's priorities, such as fiscal responsibility, low taxes, border security and job creation," said Mark Miner, a long-time Perry hand who is acting as spokesman for the political action committee, which filed its paperwork with the Federal Election Commission in Washington on July 31.
The PAC can give up to $2,600 to a candidate per election during its first six months. After that, if the PAC has more than 50 contributors and made contributions to at least five federal candidates, it can give as much as $5,000 per candidate per election. Perry also has $4.4 million in his state campaign account, which he can contribute to other candidates, but which he cannot transfer into RickPAC.
In the what-goes-around-comes-around karma of campaign finance, potential presidential candidates campaign for and contribute to candidates who they believe in and who they also hope will believe in them if and when they make a national run.
After his failed run for president in 2012, and his announcement in 2013 that would not seek another term as governor, Perry has worked assiduously to reinsert himself into the national dialogue and reestablish himself as a contender to be taken seriously. Even before border issues moved front and center as a topic of national concern, Perry had been appearing with some regularity on FOX, CNN, MSNBC, and the Sunday talk shows, often touting the economic success of Texas as a model of red state governance.
In the weeks since the situation on the Texas-Mexico border heated up, if it's Sunday, it's a near-lock that the governor is on at least one of the major public affairs shows.
On Saturday, Perry will open a four-day swing in Iowa, the first caucus state in 2016. According to a count by the Iowa City Press-Citizen, that will bring to 12 days the time Perry has spent in Iowa this presidential cycle, more than any other potential aspirant. According to the Press-Citizen, after the upcoming round of visits, "11 potential GOP candidates will have spent 52 days in Iowa this cycle."
The 11 potential candidates include another Texan, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who will be crossing paths with Perry at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames on Saturday. They will both also be appearing at RedState Gathering in Fort Worth on Friday.
RickPAC's treasurer is Stefan Passantino, based in Washington, D.C., who heads the political law team at McKenna Long & Aldridge. Passantino, who was counsel to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in his 2012 White House bid, was recognized by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the "Best Legal Minds in Washington" in the field of campaign and election law.
The assistant treasurer is Corry Bliss, a campaign operative, who, according to press clips, has left a trail of hard feelings with his bruising political style, particularly in a 2010 gubernatorial campaign in Vermont and a 2012 U.S. Senate campaign in Connecticut.
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