Did Rick Perry aides give misleading testimony?

Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks about Israel during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) Mary Altaffer

Mary Altaffer

A Reuters report out Wednesday is raising questions about whether aides to Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry - among them his political guru, David Carney - made false or misleading statements under oath.

The charge is grounded in alleged contradictions found in sworn statements by Perry's aides and a statement from Perry's gubernatorial campaign committee.

Here are the basics, according to the Reuters report: After Perry was re-elected Texas governor in 2006, his Democratic challenger, Chris Bell, filed a civil suit tied to a $1 million contribution to the Perry campaign. Bell alleged, among other things, that the Republican Governors' Association was used to hide the fact that the money came from Texas multimillionaire Bob Perry, a longtime supporter of Perry, in violation of state campaign finance law. (The two men are not related.)

In 2010, the Perry team settled the case, paying $427,000 to the Bell campaign. The settlement barred the parties from discussing the case publicly. But depositions from the lawsuit reportedly show that while Carney and Perry's former chief of staff Deirdre Delisi - who is now a senior adviser to his presidential campaign - testified they had virtually no contact with the Republican Governors Association over fundraising during the 2006 campaign. Perry's campaign committee, however, swore in a statement that the two aides met with Mitt Romney - then the head of the RGA - in October 2006 to discuss a late contribution to Perry's campaign.

Evidence in the lawsuit suggests that Carney and Delisi met with Romney on October 4. Two days later, Bob Perry donated $1 million to the RGA. Then, on October 27, the RGA cut the first of a pair of checks to the Rick Perry campaign. Bob Perry would go on to donate another $500,000 to the RGA on October 30th, and the RGA would give Perry a check for that amount two days later. The late infusion of cash shortly before Election Day was credited with helping Perry fend off a late challenge from Bell.

Bell also sued the RGA, and was awarded $2 million for campaign finance violations - though the award was not specifically tied to the alleged use of the RGA to illegally funnel a $1 million contribution from Bob Kerry. The RGA is currently appealing the ruling.

Perry's campaign isn't commenting on the matter, pointing the fact that the settlement barred further discussion of the case.

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