Did Democrat Chris Bell Take a Payoff?

The 2006 Democratic challenger to Rick Perry filed lawsuit charging that Perry had illegally funnelled campaign contributions through the Republican Governors Association. New financial disclosures, reported today by Jason Embry in the Austin American-Statesman, show that the day after the GOP primary this year, the Perry campaign settled the lawsuit by paying Bell $426,000. The money went to Bell personally, not his campaign.

Three observations: (1) That’s a fairly strong admission of guilt by Rick Perry. (2) The timing of the settlement shows that Perry knew it was a fairly strong admission of guilt. (3) If I were a Chris Bell campaign worker/donor/supporter, I would be madder than hell. Not only did he profit from the lawsuit, but he agreed to keep it under wraps. It looks like collusion and personal profiteering of the worst sort.

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