Gov. Rick Perry’s ‘charitable’ contributions

Benevolent charity has long been a cornerstone of conservative social policy, whether in the form of a religious group organizing large-scale relief programs or a quiet donor giving a helping hand to an individual man or woman. But how well conservative politicians might practice what they preach varies dramatically.

Remember, many conservatives issues with public programs that help those in need come from the position that they prefer to do their own “charitable giving.”

Rick Perry has had steady work as a politician since the mid-1980s, and his income increased dramatically when he became governor of Texas in 2000. Between 2000 and 2009, he has earned $2.68 million, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Yet Perry’s money hasn’t answered many prayers. A review of his tax records from the mid-1990s through 2009 show the governor has contributed very little to charity. When he has, Perry has given mainly to charities connected to his family, and even then, his donations have sometimes been slight.

An analysis by the San Antonio Express-News in mid-June reported that of his $2.68 million, Perry “gave half a percent to churches and religious organizations, or $14,243.”

The Express-News goes on to note: “By comparison, Americans averaged gifts of nearly 1.2 percent of their incomes to churches and religious groups from 2004 to 2008, according to Empty Tomb Inc., an Illinois-based research firm specializing in U.S.-church giving trends.”

In 1996, Tax records show the Perrys reported $182,318 in adjusted gross income with just $626 in gifts. Of that, $400 was non-cash donations to Goodwill.

In 1998, according to tax records, the Perrys donated to their children’s school, O’Henry Middle School. Their handout totaled $10. The Perrys later gave larger donations to Austin High School, when their two children attended in 2002 and 2003: They gave $50 each year to the school.

In 2007, tax records report the couple donating a total of $90 to their church at the time, Tarrytown United Methodist. That year, they gave a total of $413 in cash contributions to charity. Their adjusted gross income was more than $1 million.

Read more at the HuffingtonPost