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Organizing your community to bring public attention to builder’s bad deeds and seeking assistance from local, state and federal elected officials has proven to be more effective and much quicker for thousands of families. You do have choices and alternatives.  Janet Ahmad

TRCC Crony Capitalism Draws Negative Attention to GOP Race for President
Monday, 26 September 2011

'Crony capitalism' draws attention in GOP race
The TRCC, however, had at least one friend who mattered: Houston home builder Bob Perry, who has given Gov.
Rick Perry more than $2.5 million during his tenure in office. An advocate for the agency from its creation in 2003 until it closed its doors in 2010, the home builder's imprimatur was significant. His lobbyists played a key role in its inception; his company's general counsel, John Krugh, was appointed to serve on the commission by Gov. Perry, no relation to Bob Perry, one month after the home builder gave a $100,000 campaign contribution to the governor.

'Crony capitalism' draws attention in GOP race
 Comments (20)

In its brief but controversial life, the Texas Residential Construction Commission won far more detractors than admirers. Former Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn called it "a builder protection agency" that created additional roadblocks for homeowners living with shoddy construction. To state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, the agency served only "to shield home builders from being responsible" for defective work. The Texas Sunset Commission concluded the agency did "more harm than good."

The TRCC, however, had at least one friend who mattered: Houston home builder Bob Perry, who has given Gov. Rick Perry more than $2.5 million during his tenure in office. An advocate for the agency from its creation in 2003 until it closed its doors in 2010, the home builder's imprimatur was significant. His lobbyists played a key role in its inception; his company's general counsel, John Krugh, was appointed to serve on the commission by Gov. Perry, no relation to Bob Perry, one month after the home builder gave a $100,000 campaign contribution to the governor.

Now dormant, the TRCC serves as a case study of how wealthy contributors can shape public policy. In this year's hard-fought Republican presidential primary, the agency likely will get renewed scrutiny as Perry's Republican competitors search for ways to distinguish themselves from the Texas governor. In a speech last week in Iowa, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took aim against career politicians who reward their campaign contributors with government favors.

"There is a name for this. It's called 'corporate crony capitalism,' " she said. "I believe in the free market and that is why I detest crony capitalism. And Barack Obama has shown us cronyism on steroids. It will lead to our downfall if we don't stop it now."

While Palin won applause from her conservative audience by focusing on the president, many political observers believe her remarks were aimed at another target: Rick Perry, whose lengthy tenure in office leaves him vulnerable to the charge he has rewarded campaign contributors with government favors. She raised a question central to the GOP's mission: If Republicans hope to defeat Obama because he engages in "crony capitalism," is Perry the right candidate to carry that message?

"When she said 'crony capitalism,' who else could it be? It had to be Perry," said Dr. Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "She mentioned Obama, but whoever wrote her speech, it had a Republican dimension to it."

'Everybody does it'

To Sabato, the salvo from Palin provided evidence that the Republican contest was far from decided. He expressed doubts, however, that Palin or other Perry opponents would make much headway with the "crony capitalism" charge.

"People are cynical," he said. "Basically, people expect a certain level of corruption from all high officials. After all, you can go through and name probably 200 individuals that Obama has appointed who gave him big contributions. People shrug their shoulders and say 'everybody does it.' "

Sheila Krumholz, director of the bipartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign finance issues, agreed that Perry is "helped by the fact that this is the system by which all candidates raise money and the system in which they operate."

However, she added, "I do think there are lines in the sand which, when candidates cross them, they do so at their peril. There have been instances of a scandal or perceptions that candidates in the pocket of specific interests and that will be fodder for their opponents. I don't think he can count out the ire of the voters."

Inherent conflict

To Texas lawmakers of both parties, the TRCC crossed that line of propriety.

"This was a reward," said state Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, who fought to shut down the agency. "Bob Perry gave a ton of dough and got rewarded."

In its brief but controversial life, the Texas Residential Construction Commission won far more detractors than admirers. Former Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn called it "a builder protection agency" that created additional roadblocks for homeowners living with shoddy construction. To state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, the agency served only "to shield home builders from being responsible" for defective work. The Texas Sunset Commission concluded the agency did "more harm than good."

The TRCC, however, had at least one friend who mattered: Houston home builder Bob Perry, who has given Gov. Rick Perry more than $2.5 million during his tenure in office. An advocate for the agency from its creation in 2003 until it closed its doors in 2010, the home builder's imprimatur was significant. His lobbyists played a key role in its inception; his company's general counsel, John Krugh, was appointed to serve on the commission by Gov. Perry, no relation to Bob Perry, one month after the home builder gave a $100,000 campaign contribution to the governor.

Now dormant, the TRCC serves as a case study of how wealthy contributors can shape public policy. In this year's hard-fought Republican presidential primary, the agency likely will get renewed scrutiny as Perry's Republican competitors search for ways to distinguish themselves from the Texas governor. In a speech last week in Iowa, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took aim against career politicians who reward their campaign contributors with government favors.

"There is a name for this. It's called 'corporate crony capitalism,' " she said. "I believe in the free market and that is why I detest crony capitalism. And Barack Obama has shown us cronyism on steroids. It will lead to our downfall if we don't stop it now."

While Palin won applause from her conservative audience by focusing on the president, many political observers believe her remarks were aimed at another target: Rick Perry, whose lengthy tenure in office leaves him vulnerable to the charge he has rewarded campaign contributors with government favors. She raised a question central to the GOP's mission: If Republicans hope to defeat Obama because he engages in "crony capitalism," is Perry the right candidate to carry that message?

"When she said 'crony capitalism,' who else could it be? It had to be Perry," said Dr. Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "She mentioned Obama, but whoever wrote her speech, it had a Republican dimension to it."

'Everybody does it'

To Sabato, the salvo from Palin provided evidence that the Republican contest was far from decided. He expressed doubts, however, that Palin or other Perry opponents would make much headway with the "crony capitalism" charge.

"People are cynical," he said. "Basically, people expect a certain level of corruption from all high officials. After all, you can go through and name probably 200 individuals that Obama has appointed who gave him big contributions. People shrug their shoulders and say 'everybody does it.' "

Sheila Krumholz, director of the bipartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign finance issues, agreed that Perry is "helped by the fact that this is the system by which all candidates raise money and the system in which they operate."

However, she added, "I do think there are lines in the sand which, when candidates cross them, they do so at their peril. There have been instances of a scandal or perceptions that candidates in the pocket of specific interests and that will be fodder for their opponents. I don't think he can count out the ire of the voters."

Inherent conflict

To Texas lawmakers of both parties, the TRCC crossed that line of propriety.

"This was a reward," said state Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, who fought to shut down the agency. "Bob Perry gave a ton of dough and got rewarded."
http://www.chron.com/default/article/Crony-capitalism-draws-attention-in-GOP-race-2164766.php#page-1

 

 
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