Reporting from Washington — A veritable who’s who of wealthy Texans poured money into a “super PAC” backing Texas Gov. Rick Perry before his presidential bid collapsed this month, along with nearly a dozen corporations, new campaign finance filings show.
In all, Make Us Great Again, an independent political organization launched by former Perry chief of staff Mike Toomey and G. Brint Ryan, a longtime donor to Perry's gubernatorial campaigns, raised nearly $5.5 million last year. The super PAC spent $4.8 million, mostly in television advertising backing Perry’s candidacy.
Nearly every donation was at least five figures, with most of the money coming from a cadre of rich businessmen who have been stalwart contributors to Perry’s gubernatorial bids over the years. Ryan put in $250,000, while home-builder Bob Perry gave $100,000 and telecommunications executive Kenny Trout gave $150,000.
But the biggest contributor was Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, who gave Make Us Great Again $1 million through his company, Contran Corp. The Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau reported last year that Simmons, who won permission to build a low-level radioactive waste disposal site in Texas, was among dozens of major donors who have benefited during Perry’s tenure in the governor’s office.