Rick Perry told Michele Bachmann in Monday night's GOP debate that he received only a $5,000 donation from HPV vaccine maker Merck, but his financial ties to the drug maker are closer than that figure suggests, the Washington Post finds. Perry's campaigns have received almost $30,000 from Merck since 2000 and the drug maker has given $380,000 to the Republican Governors Association since 2006—which Perry has chaired twice and which has contributed around $4 million to his campaigns.
Almost a third of the $217 million collected at the RGA over the last five years came from 139 donors to Perry's gubernatorial campaigns, according to the nonpartisan Texans for Public Justice group, a frequent foe of the governor. "With Perry, there’s his Christian conservative base and crony capitalism, and when push came to shove, crony capitalism won the day,” the group's research director says of the vaccine issue. “This puts him in trouble with a key part of his coalition." (More HPV stories.)