On today’s WallBuilders Live, David Barton responded to a Houston Chronicle report that from 2000 to 2009, Rick Perry gave just $14,243 of his of $2.68 million fortune to churches and religious organizations. Barton, who claimed throughout the show that people who support social justice efforts are less likely to support charities, tried to defend Perry by pointing to the fact that the Texas governor has given away all the proceeds from his books:
Governor Perry’s getting his brains beat in because look how little he gave to charity. Time out! There’s another story there. Number one he does not itemize his deductions so you don’t know how much he gave to charity. Number two is he writes entire books and gives 100% of the proceeds to charity which doesn’t show up on his income sheet. He gives millions to charity but because he does not itemize and because he does entire books and signs the rights over there’s a lot going out that doesn’t show.
Which charities have the proceeds of Perry’s books gone to? He donated the proceeds of his first book, about the Boy Scouts, to the Boy Scouts of America. And he declares in his most recent book, the policy blueprint Fed Up!, that “all of the author’s net proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Foundation to support the work of the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies.” The Center for Tenth Amendment Studies is a division of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a right-wing think tank allied with Perry that was founded by James Leininger, who is now the group’s Chairman Emeritus.
Leininger is one of Perry’s biggest political bankrollers – he has donated and loaned millions of dollars to Perry’s political campaigns for over a decade and just so happens to be a close business partner of the governor. Columnist Molly Ivins dubbed Leininger “God’s sugar daddy” because of his prolific financial support for Religious Right activists and the Texas Restoration Project, including an Austin “Pastors’ Policy Briefing” to celebrate Perry’s reinauguration in January of 2007. The Texas Restoration Project was a pet project of Perry’s – Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News notes that “the governor helped create a network of ‘patriot pastors’ in Texas called the Texas Restoration Project, which worked for passage of the gay-marriage ban in 2005 and Perry’s reelection a year later.”
Most recently, Leininger hosted a summit to introduce Religious Right leaders to Perry shortly after he announced his candidacy for president. Notable guests at Leininger’s ranch included James Dobson, Richard Land, Harry Jackson, Jim Garlow, Rick Scarborough… and, of course, David Barton.