Rick Perry Used Campaign Cash to Finance His Wife's Travels

(Bloomberg) -- Energy Secretary Rick Perry has used tens of thousands of dollars in campaign cash left over from his days as Texas governor to pay for his wife, Anita, to accompany him on his official travels around the world.

Perry’s political action committee has paid for Anita Perry’s trips to Paris, Vienna, Rome, and Cape Town, according to financial disclosure forms posted online by the Texas Ethics Commission.

Anita Perry, a nurse by training, has engaged in official government activities while her husband took part in the Africa Oil Week conference in Cape Town in October 2017 and a G-7 ministerial meeting in Rome in April 2017, according to the filings.

In all, at least $60,000 in funds from the committee, Texans for Rick Perry, has been used to pay for Anita Perry’s air travel, according to the San Antonio Express-News, which earlier reported on the financing.

While using campaign funds to pay for the trips is legal under Texas law, one advocate called the practice unethical.

“The laws are little bit permissive down here,” Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, an Austin-based group that tracks money in state politics, said in an interview. “We don’t think it’s appropriate.”

Shaylyn Hynes, an Energy Department spokeswoman, said the agency follows all federal travel regulations and that all of Anita Perry’s travels are reviewed and cleared by department ethics officials.

“Mrs. Perry has traveled with Secretary Perry on occasion, adding valuable support to him as he advances DOE’s mission abroad,” Hynes said in a statement. “As these filings confirm, no taxpayer dollars have been spent on Mrs. Perry’s air travel and funding for it is authorized under State and Federal laws and regulations.”

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