Within minutes, readers were pointing to Bob Perry, the Houston home builder who has bankrolled numerous conservative and Republican causes, including the Swift-Boat Veterans For Truth.
And sure enough, Pawlenty has now confirmed that it was indeed Perry. "The donor's name was Bob Perry and he was somebody I was visiting in Texas on behalf of the Republican Governors Association and he noted that I was going to Alabama and asked if I would bring them a check so I said I would," Pawlenty said today, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
It's perhaps not surprising that Pawlenty, a top 2012 GOP presidential hopeful, would have been hitting Perry up for cash. Perry helped ensure Pawlenty's re-election as governor in 2006 by funding Stronger America, a conservative 527 group that ran a blizzard of ads attacking Democrat Mike Hatch, Pawlenty's opponent, the paper adds.
But that's only the tip of the iceberg in terms of Perry's financial support for conservative causes. In 2004, Perry was the largest single donor to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which helped sink John Kerry's presidential hopes. Perry gave the Swift Boaters $4.45 million, and gave a total of $8.1 million to 527 groups that election cycle.
For an encore, in 2006 Perry was the largest political donor in Texas. He put $5 million into the Economic Freedom Fund, TPMmuckraker reported at the time. That group put out a stream of push-poll robo-calls against Democratic candidates, which were described by an independent polling group as "egregious."
Perry has also been a key backer of Tom DeLay's political action committee, and of the Hammer's legal defense fund.