Friday, September 21, 2007

Melissa Explains Perry Contributions

In post last week from Hugh at Brazos Democrat, he talks about meeting Rick:

I asked him what, if anything , he planned to do about the problem with the Bob Perry money. “What problem?” he said with a feigned look of surprise on his face, as if I were asking him about a five dollar donation from the little old lady down the street. I have little patience for this kind of passive aggressive indirectness. He wanted to pretend that there was no reason for anyone to question him about this money...

Melissa on the other hand spent much more time speaking to me. She listened and explained how they came about getting money from Perry.
In a letter, Melissa elaborates:
Dear Hugh,

May I clarify just a little? The donation from Perry I was referring to was in Fall 2004, which was not my Council race. Rick was in Afghanistan and didn't know about any donations.

I was alone, running back and forth between Austin and Houston, going into Rick's district office after a full day at work, and trying to raise money.

Rick had left for A-stan fairly abruptly, and our campaign dollars had been exhausted in a ugly fight over Alma Allen's seat--Rick had been involved in that race quite heavily, and we had no money. Normally a rep would recharge his campaign funds with a few fundraisers and move on, but I was left alone with this as just one of several challenges.

I did several fundraisers in Houston and in Austin, with the help of some of the state senators. During that time, a check came from Mr. Perry.

I asked the senators what I should do with it--I was surprised, because he did not normally give to D's, best I knew. I might also remind you that the Kerry/Perry swiftboat relationship was not particularly clear at this point. Mr. Perry is a businessman in Houston, and most electeds probably have a relationship of some kind with him.

I don't think I even asked Rick about it. I was truly petrified that if he got distracted by anything, he would die. That sounds melodramatic, but I don't know how to say it any other way. Folks applaud my performance in Austin, and my time there did give me the courage to run for city council, but my motivation was pretty basic--if Rick was worried about his House seat, he could make a mistake in some split second and die.

I have been astounded by all the Perry stuff--if we had a check from him any earlier than 2004, I don't remember it--because it was a time folks were really trying to help us; the Ausin lobby, both R and D were rousting money up, both R and D reps were calling and offering help.

We were in the news a lot; it was a tough time, and it was different than any other political experience I have ever had. It showed me what Texans are made of.

Bless you, Hugh, you got up in my husband's face, whether you meant to or not. Would he say to you (or to the bloggers as a group?) that his wife made the decision to keep whatever contributions were sent to us at a difficult, difficult time? I think not...

It is a shame ya'll had a tough interaction. Rick is a rock, and honorable warrior. I know him when he is sick, cranky, sad or any other way, and I would trust him with my life. He is strong and tough and in the fight of his life, and you are asking him about something that went on while he was gone. Something I am responsible for, not him.

My first personal interaction with Mr. Perry was at the GRB during Katrina: he kissed my hand and told me and my son that "Daddy was a hero" and he admired him. He refused to support at least one R that I know of against me, and he contributed to my campaign. City Council in Houston is a nonpartisan race, and I was in a special election that NO one thought a Democrat could win at Christmas, and I won.

Rick has a voting record, and I do, too. We have done our best to serve honorably and feel priviliged to have done so. We have worked hard and supported things we believe in, sacrificed family time and been terrified for weeks on end that we would never see each other again.

Mikal Watts has sued people.

Repectfully submitted,

Melissa Noriega

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