It turns out that Ray issues bonds... but not just any bonds. He issues municipal bonds for bigtime government infrastructure projects.
Pork makes people angry less because of what goodies are involved (people seem to really like the actual goodies) and more because of the process. It is a hidden process. Earmarks can be slipped into bills without public consideration. Political favors can be repaid through earmarks. People can get rich through the very earmarks they include in bills.
Texas Watchdog touches on the potential conflicts of interest in the Kay and Ray earmark and bond network (link). Excerpt follows:
Like a front porch light luring flies on a summer night, municipal bond transactions have a way of attracting politically connected people. Attorney Ray Hutchison, the husband of Republican U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, helped write the bonds for Dallas’ Trinity River project. Sure enough, Texas’ senior senator helped allocate $13 million in earmarks for the project.Rick's people (I assume they are Rick's people, at least) have been sending me tips saying I should look into this issue. Like I have time to go do open records requests and sort through municipal bond paperwork. Methinks Rick's people are hoping the media and watchdog groups do their opposition research for them. Speaking from experience, opposition research is EXPENSIVE so I don't blame them!
Recently, the Dallas Morning News reported that aides to Gov. Rick Perry, who’s fending off a likely primary challenge from Hutchison, filled out a public records request to Dallas officials. In it, they asked for “copies of all letters, faxes, e-mails, phone messages, notes from phone calls or meetings, or any other documents in which Kay Bailey Hutchison’s name appears with the words bond; bonds; funds; funding or project.”
That’s not a bad start. But the governor’s office may soon discover that when it comes to municipal bond transactions, some of the most curious transactions don’t leave a paper trail. Just ask Sen. Rodney Ellis.