Sunday, August 01, 2010

It Depends on What the Meaning of the Word “Is” Is

Remember that one? That was The Big Dog’s response to a fairly direct question in his Q&A over the Monica Lewinsky affair, an obfuscation that worked for awhile, until that is, someone produced the blue dress (aka the smoking gun).

I was reminded of that today when I read the end of this Jason Embry article in yesterday’s Austin American-Statesman.

You see, Bill White’s campaign is circling what is looking more and more to be a Rick Perry smoking gun. They have made their case that in two land deals on the same Horseshoe Bay property, deals which had Perry’s BFF involved both times, Rick Perry personally profited to the tune of a half a million dollars.

The plot thickens when we learn that Perry’s BFF is a founding investor in Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corp., and that in 2006 the company applied for a $2.5 million grant from the Texas Enterprise Fund, a cash cow that Rick Perry personally controls that is used to attract business to Texas. They wanted to expand by building a plant in the San Antonio area.

Only they fell on hard times and had to lay off workers, so the deal fell through and no grant was given to Perry’s friend’s company.

Bill White’s campaign charged that Perry tried to use the TEF to help his friend, and Perry’s said no, it doesn’t count if the deal falls through.

So if, say, I give a gun to a guy who tells me he wants to use it to shoot his wife, but then he changes his mind and doesn’t shoot her, that makes my gift perfectly OK. No crime, no foul, right?

Wrong. Foul, but no crime.

But wait, it gets better and this is where The Big Dog’s remark comes into play.

Bill White’s campaign has “papered” Rick Perry’s office with public information requests seeking paperwork on the TEF’s vetting of companies who apply for a TEF grant. They are saying that Sino Swearingen wasn’t properly vetted. But while Bill White’s campaign did receive lots and lots of data about companies that received TEF grants, they did not receive information on Sino Swearingen.


Well, according to a Perry spokesperson, the White request was for information on companies that “received” TEF grants. They didn’t ask, she said, for information on companies that did not receive a TEF grant.

In other words, information on the one company whose investor’s dealings with Perry have come up in the press, that one company, did not get included.

To resume my unlikely analogy, that’s like asking me for the names of all the people whom I have given guns to, and I comply in all but one case, the case of the guy who changed his mind, because he didn’t actually use the gun.

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