Wednesday, February 25

There's No Reason To Believe Geoffrey O'Connor's Feelings Were Hurt By Not Going Along

Perry, staff took Bahamas trip paid for by donors

AUSTIN -- Gov. Rick Perry, his wife and staff and some of the state's largest Republican donors traveled last week to the Bahamas, where they talked about school finance.

A Perry spokesman tells The Dallas Morning News that the three-day trip was a working retreat during Presidents Day weekend. Citizens watchdog groups slammed the trip as an example of how well-heeled donors gain access to the governor.

On the trip to the Abaco Islands were contributors James and Cecelia Leininger and John and Bobbi Nau. The Leiningers have given Perry's campaigns more than $75,000 since 2000. The Naus have donated more than $100,000 to his campaigns.

Also accompanying the Perrys were political adviser Dave Carney; chief of staff Mike Toomey; deputy chief of staff Deirdre Delisi; Delisi's husband, GOP political consultant Ted Delisi; and budget director Mike Morrissey.

Washington-based anti-tax leader Grover Norquist, Brooke Rollins of the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Rollins' husband Mark Rollins also took the trip.

Perry spokesman Robert Black said the Perrys used campaign funds to pay for their trip, while the staff's expenses were covered through private funds. He didn't elaborate.