September 17, 2011
Any insider at the Texas Capitol could have identified which aide-turned-lobbyist Rep. Michele Bachmann was talking about when she attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry over a 2007 executive order mandating that teenage girls receive a vaccination against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus.
“There was a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate,” Bachmann (Minn.) said during Monday night’s GOP presidential debate in Tampa. “. . . The governor’s former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company. The drug company gave thousands of dollars in political donations to the governor, and this is just flat-out wrong.”
Perry retorted that he was offended by any suggestion that he could be swayed by a $5,000 campaign contribution — an inaccurate figure, it turned out, that wasonly a fifth of the actual amount he had received from the company.
Even so, Bachmann understated the role that lobbyist Mike Toomey has played in Perry’s fortunes.
In the Republican frontrunner’s charmed political career, few relationships have been more mutually beneficial than one that began back in the mid-1980s, when both he and Toomey were members of the Texas House and roomed together during legislative sessions.
Since then, Toomey has made himself useful to Perry in a number of capacities — and has become one of Austin’s most sought-after and highly compensated lobbyists as a result.