Swift Boaters for Rick Perry

By Laurie Bennett

July 22, 2011 at 8:27am

A presidential bid by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, widely regarded as imminent, could bring back the old Swift Boat gang.

Many of Perry’s biggest contributors in Texas campaigns were also backers of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that helped torpedo John Kerry’s presidential run in 2004.

The above Muckety map shows Swift Boaters who have also contributed to Perry’s campaigns.

T. Boone Pickens Jr.
T. Boone Pickens Jr.

The high-powered, deep-pocketed group includes oilmen T. Boone Pickens and Harold Courson, financier Harold Simmons, real estate mogul Harlan Crow, home builder Bob Perry and Albert Huddleston, whose wife is a member of the wealthy Hunt family.

In Texas, there is no cap on campaign contributions, and these men have all made six-figure donations to Perry.

At the federal level, contributors are limited to $2,500 per candidate per election.

However, there are ways around the limit, and one of them is through organizations that operate outside the campaign, often attacking the opposition.

Swift Boat Veterans broke new ground in this arena, running ads designed to discredit the Democratic candidate’s military service.

As the map shows, several of these donors also backed Progress for America, a group that supported George W. Bush.

Simmons and Bob Perry have provided funding to a newer organization, American Crossroads, which was founded by Perry’s friend, Karl Rove. The Republican SuperPac expects to spend $120 million in the 2012 election cycle.

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