Rick Perry makes no secret of his affection for Texas A&M, which has benefited handsomely from state grants and other goodies during the Aggie graduate’s tenure as Texas governor.
Now some Aggies hope to return the favor, forming a “super PAC” apparently focused on raising money from Perry fans connected to the school.
“Texas Aggies for Perry 2012” filed papers with the Federal Election Commission last week announcing its intent to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on the 2012 election, but pledging not to coordinate with the Perry campaign in doing so.
The group is only one the latest super PACs to form with the aim of helping Perry in his bid for the White House, including one organization, “Make Us Great Again PAC,” that has plans to raise as much as $55 million. Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money from corporate or individual donors.
Representatives of the new Aggie group could not be immediately reached for comment Monday, and the group’s Web site does not appear to be active yet.
The super PAC’s executive director is listed as Jon Andresen, a 2000 graduate of A&M who worked as an aide to Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.). He now runs a Houston law firm listed as the super PAC’s mailing address.
The FEC filing lists the group’s treasurer as Douglas J. Brickley, a bankruptcy, restructuring and financial services expert at the Claro Group in Houston.
Texans for Public Justice, an Austin watchdog group, calculated in a report last year that Perry’s appointees to the Texas A&M Board of Regents ranked among the top donors to his political campaigns, giving an average of $113,000 each in unlimited donations. One of his appointees was Wendy Lee Gramm, wife of Phil Gramm, whose 2002 U.S. Senate campaign transferred $610,000 to Perry, according to the report. Phil Gramm is now a professor at Texas A&M.
The College Station, Tex., school has also received a steady tide of state grants and other assistance during Perry’s tenure. A signature example is Texas A&M’s Institute for Genomic Medicine, which received $50 million in state subsidies in 2005, but so far has only 10 employees, according to a recent report by The New Republic.