Newly — and fiercely — critical of using public office for personal financial gain, Gov. Rick Perry this week unveiled a campaign addemanding that lawmakers who use “insider knowledge to profit in the stock market” be jailed, and he rolled out an overhaul plan of the federal government that would make that possible by criminalizing insider trading by members of Congress.
Some longtime observers of the Texas governor say his effort to portray himself as a reform-minded government “outsider” is inconsistent with his record, which they argue is peppered with instances in which his personal and political relationships became entangled in ways that helped him profit financially.
In a 1998 interview with the Morning News, Perry said he spoke with Leininger on the same day his stockbroker made the purchase but that they never mentioned the stocks, and that the timing was a coincidence. Though an anonymous Austin attorney’s reports of Leininger offering Perry a “stock tip” spawned a federal inquiry, campaign spokesman Mark Miner told The Huffington Post that he was only aware that the Securities and Exchange Commission “reviewed the matter and dismissed it.”
The governor’s critics are unpersuaded.
“If Perry thinks members of Congress belong in jail, what would he think about an elected official who purchased 2,800 shares of stock after speaking with that company’s CEO on the same day a giant investment group purchased 2.2 million of its shares?” said Chris Harris, the head of American Bridge 21st Century [sic], a progressive, anti-Republican political action committee.
Published: Nov 16, 2011