On Dec. 30, the last day of business, Rick Perry released another $4.5 million in taxpayer dollars to Convergen, owned by his friend and donor David Nance. A first payment was made in August. Two items from Laylan Copelin’s Austin American-Statesmen report jumped out at me:
Nance’s application for the money did not follow usual channels for approval. An Austin-area screening board rejected the initial application, and then Nance sidestepped another screening by a board that focuses on life sciences applications. Instead, he took his application to a 17-member statewide advisory board, made up mostly of Perry appointees, and asked Alan Kirchhoff, Perry’s director of economic development at the time, to intervene.
But whyÂ should Alan Kirchoff remainÂ a mere director of economic development when the state is passing out free money?
Kirchhoff left the governor’s office in August, just as the Convergen contract was awarded. Within weeks, he and Nance were pitching another investment idea to state officials.
According to this report in the News, the Emerging Technology Fund owns 16.7 million shares in companies the governor has invested in. Nobody, including the governor, seems toÂ know what percentage of ownership these shares represent or how much they are worth. Which is worse than the federal government’s investment in GM.