AUSTIN -- Texas House Democrats are calling on Governor Rick Perry to pay back travel expenses incurred while campaigning for the Republican nomination for president.
House Democratic Caucus leader Rep. Jessica Farrar of Houston says the governor should pay back, either through fundraisers or out of his own pocket, over $2.7 million.
Of that mount, Farrar says $2.6 million is the approximate cost of travel and a DPS security detail over some five months of campaigning. She's also calling on Perry to to repay over $92,000 in pension he collected after officially retiring from the State of Texas while on the campaign trail.
Perry's predecessor, George W. Bush, ran up a nearly $4 million tab on his presidential run, but Farrar says there's a difference.
"One is, he became the president," Farrar told KVUE Monday. "The other, very seriously, is that we're in a fiscal crisis, and if we're going to put all the oars in the water, then we're just asking him to put his set in too."
The governor's office issued the following response:
"Not a dime of the governor’s political travel was borne by Texas taxpayers. Gov. Perry is governor no matter where he goes and the Department of Public Safety has a policy of providing security for governors and their families everywhere they travel, as they have back several administrations. These policies are determined by DPS and not the governor’s office. It’s unfortunate that we live in a day and age where security is an issue. We respect and appreciate the officers who provide security for the Governor and First Lady and other state officials, just as they’ve done for decades.
Gov. Perry retired under the Rule of 80 as is consistent with Texas state law and Employees Retirement System rules.
We’re encouraged to see Rep. Farrar wanting to join the ranks of fiscal conservatives in Texas, and look forward to her joining our efforts to persuade Congress and President Obama to repeal the fiscally irresponsible mandates of Obamacare, noting the importance that our nation live within its means."