Rick Perry seems to have a knack for getting a great many excellent deals on private jets, The New York Times informs this morning. Not only has the Texas governor been subject to Times and Wall Street Journal scrutiny recently for very cheap flights on a wealthy donor's charter jets (he ended up reimbursing the owners of the jets after scrutiny), it looks like his jet-setting habits were quite the norm during his Texas governorship, The Times writes today:
....more than 200 flights worth a total of $1.3 million that Mr. Perry has accepted — free — from corporate executives and wealthy donors during 11 years as governor, according to an analysis of Texas Ethics Commission records by The New York Times. Although many of the trips were for political or ceremonial events — not unusual for elected officials — others involved governmental functions, including some that were of interest to the planes’ owners.
Since the free flights are legal, The Times tells us, the story seems to just imply more about his cozy relationship with special interests--many of them apparently--who seem to fly him around in their jets to their events around the world and to D.C. And, of course, allow him to enjoy a great deal of contributor-funded luxury gifts, as we've already noted. The newspaper's quote from an Austin, Texas lawyer who specializes in ethics cases summed up the trend: "If you want to say it smells to hell, it does," Buck Wood said. "But the fact is, that sort of transaction is not uncommon and is permitted in Texas."