From PERRY Presidential:
AUSTIN — Although never mentioned by name, Austin lobbyist Mike Toomey’s presence was felt keenly at Monday’s Republican presidential debate when Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann harshly criticized Gov. Rick Perry for his 2007 executive order mandating that Texas teenage girls receive an HPV vaccine that would have been worth millions in sales to Toomey’s client, Merck Pharmaceutical.
Calling it “flat out wrong,” Bachmann noted Perry had received campaign contributions from the drug maker and questioned Perry’s motives. “Was it about life or about millions of dollars to a drug company?”
Perry’s response — that he was “offended” by Bachmann’s suggestion that he “could be bought for $5,000” in campaign contributions from the drug maker — belied the powerful role that Toomey, a Houston native who once served as Perry’s chief of staff, has played in the governor’s political career. From advising Perry on personal legal issues to paying $10,000 to help the Green Party siphon votes from Democrats, Toomey has been a loyal and constant Perry political ally throughout his career.