WASHINGTON -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry's recently filed campaign finance report for his presidential bid shows that the governor has raised $17.2 million and reported more than 10,000 donors from Aug. 13 to Sept. 30. One thing, however, was missing: the name of Perry's biggest career campaign donor.
Texas homebuilder Bob Perry -- no relation -- has been included in nearly every list of important people behind Rick Perry, but as of Sept. 30, he had not donated to the governor's presidential campaign, according to the report.
Bob Perry and his wife, Doylene, have donated $2.5 million to Rick Perry's campaigns in the past, more than any other single donor to the governor's campaigns, according to campaign finance filings in Texas.
While the report shows that neither Bob Perry nor his wife have donated to Rick Perry's presidential bid, Bob Perry has given money to other candidates. The biggest recipient of his largesse happens to be Mitt Romney, the emerging nemesis of the Texas governor in the GOP primary. Bob Perry and his wife gave a combined $5,000 to Romney's campaign earlier this year, and another $500,000 to the super PAC Restore Our Future that is supporting Romney's presidential bid, according to publicly filed disclosure reports. In 2008, the couple supported Romney's bid for the Republican nomination with a combined $5,000 donation, the reports show.
Bob Perry and his wife have also contributed to the campaign of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. They gave a combined $10,000 to his presidential campaign and another $60,000 to his political action committee, according to disclosure reports. Pawlenty has since dropped out of the presidential race.
Craig McDonald, the executive director of Texans for Public Justice, a watchdog group that has tracked Bob Perry's contributions, was skeptical that Bob Perry's absence from Rick Perry's campaign finance report means anything significant. "I don't think it signals that Bob Perry will not support Rick Perry," McDonald said. "Bob Perry has a history of giving to both sides in a campaign."
As McDonald noted, Bob Perry could have given to Make Us Great Again, the super PAC run by Rick Perry's former chief of staff, a contribution that would not be disclosed until Jan. 31.
"I don't think they needed Bob Perry's 2,500 bucks," McDonald said. "Usually when they deal with Bob Perry, they deal in seven figures."
Bob Perry has given upwards of $40 million to Republican candidates, parties and independent committees since 2000. He is also the top donor to the Karl Rove-linked super PAC American Crossroads.
A request for comment from Bob Perry's spokesman was not returned, nor were requests for comment from the campaigns of Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.
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