Saturday, January 12, 2008
The Dallas Morning News reports that the Texas Freedom Network, which monitors church-state issues, has filed a complaint with the IRS alleging a Houston-based foundation, supported by financial backers of Gov. Rick Perry, aided his successful re-election effort by donating more than $1 million to the Texas Restoration Project. The Texas Restoration Project hosted closed-door "Pastor's Policy Briefings" for thousands of pastors and their spouses in 2005. Gov. Perry, who was seeking re-election in 2006, participated in the briefings, as did a number of other statewide officeholders. The Project did not invite any of the other gubernatorial candidates to participate. The Project also apparently gave Gov. Perry access to its mailing and e-mail lists. A spokesman for Gov. Perry stated that neither the governor nor the Texas Restoration Project had done anything improper. According to the Texas Freedom Network's press release, the foundation involved was the Niemoller Foundation, and two of its three directors were the chairman of the Texas Restoration Project and his wife.