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Gov. Perry's Secret Deal?

From June through August of 2004, she said, Perry's Office had a contract with Cassidy & Associates for a whopping $302,363. The law requires that such a contract be disclosed, but Cassidy did not disclose doing work for Texas until January of 2005, when they began lobbying for Texas' Office of State-Federal Relations. That contract was at a much more modest $15,000/month.

So what gives? Today's Houston Chronicle provides an explanation of sorts.

Strayhorn's spokesman said the contract was actually with Weber Shandwick, "a public relations firm whose lobby practice includes Cassidy & Associates." Perry's spokeswoman shot back, saying that the $300,000 was from a totally different part of the budget, for " tourism promotion."

Hmm... So the contract was ostensibly with Cassidy's parent company, but the Comptroller doesn't believe it, and says that the contract was really with Cassidy.

Who to believe? Our calls to Perry's and Strayhorn's offices were not returned. A full audit is forthcoming. Maybe Strayhorn is just trying to tar her oppponent. Cassidy's spokesperson, after all, denies they did any work for Texas in 2004.

Either way, something to keep an eye on.