Becky Moeller & the Texas AFL-CIO Offer Rick Perry Alternative Housing for $1 a Year

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Wednesday, Becky Moeller, President of the Texas AFL-CIO, offered Rick Perry Alternative Housing for $1-a-year. From a video report the Elise Hu of the Texas Tribune did, titled “A Luxury Liability” which includes footage of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee moving into his temporary home:

Join the Evict Rick Facebook page to see photos from inside the mobile home!

The AFL-CIO offer stems from details uncovered by Associated Press reporter Jay Root, in his story, “Gov. Perry's temporary digs costs Texas big bucks.” The AP story — which went national on Monday, making it to the top of Yahoo! News — uncovered that at a time when the state of Texas is facing an $18 billion budget shortfall and Rick Perry is slashing vital areas of state government over $1 billion at a time, Perry is charging the taxpayers for some truly fancy — and unnecessary — items:
  • $18,000 for “consumables” such as household supplies and cleaning products
  • $1,001.46 in window drapes from Neiman Marcus
  • $1,000 “emergency repair” for an ice machine
  • $700 clothes rack
  • $70 for a two-year subscription to Food & Wine Magazine
  • $8,400 for maintenance of heated pool

Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller laid down some of the hottest rhetoric of the year in her full remarks on Wednesday:

Perry's lavish lifestyle in his rental mansion is something even conservatives have expressed dismay over. Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and a prominently loud conservative here in Texas, had this to say when first asked about the mansion years ago:

“But my gut reaction is, 'Wow. That's a lot of money.' Most of us would expect the governor to go as modest as possible,” Mr. Sullivan said. […]

“No one expects our governor to live in housing on the Drag, across from the University of Texas. But it does seem a little extravagant,” Mr. Sullivan said.

More below the fold…

Join the Evict Rick Facebook page to see photos from inside the mobile home!

Rick Perry's hypocrisy is rampant on this issue. Perry has gone on record as saying that “Every penny we save now in the 2010-11 biennium is one penny closer to balancing the budget in the next legislative session.” [Source: San Antonio Express News, 5/20/10]. Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie pointed out that if Perry really wanted to save “every penny” then he should look in the mirror:

“Governor you’ve spent $600,000 of taxpayer money on your private palace, and that comes to 60 million pennies,” said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie. Richie added, “Sixty million pennies saved is sixty million pennies earned. The governor ought to give up his taxpayer-financed seven-bathroom mansion, his Neiman Marcus draperies, his $700 clothes rack, and his fancy gourmet food magazines.”

Perry's taxpayer-funded mansion is owned by one of Perry's donors:

The home at 8113 Hickory Creek Drive is owned by Murrell Campbell, a Perry political donor, but the transaction was handled by Campbell's daughter and son-in-law, Melinda and Guy Grace. Guy Grace donated $1,000 to Perry in 2005 and $2,500 in 2006, Black said.

“It's clear that the Perrys are using state money just to pay back a political donor,” said Texas Democratic Party spokesman Hector Nieto. “I'm sure there were several houses available in Austin that weren't associated with a donor.”

That's a pretty fantastic return on investment on a $3,500 political donation, don't you think?

Perry's rental mansion was relatively old news for a while, until the Texas Democratic Party released a web video highlighting Perry's extravagance:

We've covered the story for months on BOR, too. For more history and details for this story, follow the links below:

Previously on BOR:


About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.


  1. How many…
    How many homeless or foreclosed-on Texas families could be provided shelter for the $9K a month we're blowing on Perry's luxury digs? How many homeless veterans? How many homeless senior citizens? How many people who have been dropped by our social safety net could be picked up by the money we're blowing on Perry's housing tab?

    There are so many people struggling right now to make ends meet; it's absurd that our governor thinks it's “normal” to live in a $9,000-a-month mansion and tell folks that the economy is doing just fine. Why, I hear Texas is #1! Doesn't feel that way to most of the folks I know, but hey…

    • Rump Ranger on

      on the other hand…
      how much do we spend a month on the mansion when first families live there? That's the real comparison…not some donated, ugly green double-wide that not even an Arkansas hick should live in.

  2. I wonder how many unemployed
    have lost their homes and have been thrown into the streets b/c Perry refused to accept federal extended unemployment benefits?  The Governor was too concerned about passing a future burden onto businesses.  He obviously does not share the same concern for the jobless in Texas.

    It seems to me we have an Ebenezer Scrooge or a Marie Antoinette in charge who likes to live like a king while his subjects struggle to get by everyday.

    Shame on Rick Perry.  

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