Much of Texas first lady Anita Perry's $60,000-a-year salary at an Austin nonprofit comes indirectly from Gov. Rick Perry's political donors, state contractors and companies that do business with the state or have issues before the Legislature.
Of 37 major donors to the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault during Anita Perry's tenure as a fundraiser for the group, only three have no ties to the governor or state business.
Anita Perry is paid out of the nonprofit's pool of money that includes these contributions. The group also receives grants from state agencies, including the governor's office.
Donating to the TAASA has become just one more legal way for those with an interest in state government to get close to Texas' first family.
Allison Castle, a spokeswoman for the Perrys, said there is no conflict of interest in Anita Perry getting paid for raising money for the nonprofit from donors to the governor's political account.
"The organization is nonpartisan and attracts support from a broad array of Texans and does great and important work," Castle said Tuesday in an email. "Mrs. Perry is proud of her efforts on behalf of sexual assault survivors."
In 2003, the group reported to the Internal Revenue Service that it had received no donations of $5,000 or more, the minimum required to be disclosed in public IRS filings.
In Anita Perry's first year raising money for the nonprofit, major donations jumped to $100,000 — with all the money coming from state contractors, lobbyists or donors to the governor's political account.
All told, more than 70 percent of the $634,500 in large donations given to the group between 2004 and 2009 came from businesses or individuals with ties to the governor. The group has not yet filed its formal statements with the IRS for 2010.
The nonprofit's donors gave the governor's political committee, Texans for Rick Perry, a total of $798,000 in contributions in the same year they gave to the nonprofit.
In total, his campaign fund received $2.77 million from the nonprofit's donors between 2004 and 2009.
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