Skip to main content

Estimates Show Rick Perry's Presidential Campaign Cost Taxpayers $3.8 Million

MEMO: Update on Rick Perry's Taxpayer-Funded Security Costs

SUMMARY: Updated estimates show Governor Perry owes $3,799,132.67 to Texas taxpayers for costs incurred during his 160-day presidential run. That is a significant increase over our previous estimates, largely due to the news that it cost the state of Texas $1.1 million to cover the overtime costs for Perry's security-related travel. With $2,471,479.55 in his state account as of December 31, 2011, Governor Perry can immediately pay back 65% of those taxpayer dollars, leaving him with an outstanding taxpayer debt of $1,327,653.12.

ACTION: Sign our petition and tell Rick Perry to pay back Texas taxpayers the $3.8 million he owes us!


Governor Perry was a declared presidential candidate for an amateur 160 days. According to records released by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and published by the Texas Tribune, we can project Perry's security costs from the day he officially announced his candidacy (August 13, 2011) to the time he suspended his campaign (January 19, 2012). Determining the exact cost of Perry's security costs requires estimation, as the DPS explained recently in a story in the Austin American-Statesman:

Number[s] could rise, a DPS statement said, as unpaid invoices from vendors and reimbursement claims from troopers are settled. As-yet unpaid expenses will be reflected in late reports, the statement said. ("Perry presidential security cost taxpayers $800,000," Austin American-Statesman, 1/26/12).

The Statesman story tracks with reporting by Jay Root of the Texas Tribune in that it emphasizes that costs to-date are incomplete. However, we can estimate costs based on what we do know. The most recent figure we have comes from Root's story about an increase in overtime costs for Perry's security-related travel (emphasis added):

As the figures are updated, the costs rise. Late last year, for example, the agency had added up nearly $400,000 for travel-related security costs in September. In a more recent update, DPS disclosed that it had spent more than $500,000 that month, for airplane tickets, lodging, fuel, meals and “other” expenses. ("Overtime Bills Inflated Perry Security Costs," Texas Tribune, 2/23/12).

Unfortunately, Root's story does not specify how much more than $500,000 Perry spent in September. However, we can use the $500,000 for the month of September as the basis for our updated estimate on Perry's security-related travel costs. Assuming Perry spent the same on average for the rest of his presidential campaign as he did in September, he would owe $2,666,666.67 in security-related travel costs:

Time Period Security costs
August 13 – August 31 $316,666.67 (estimated)
September 1 – September 30 $500,000.00 (from 2/23 Tribune story)
September 29 – January 19 $1,850,000 (estimated)
TOTAL (160 DAYS) $2,666,666.67 (estimated)

In addition to these costs, we know of two other major taxpayer-funded expenses that were the direct result of Governor Perry's failed presidential campaign. The Texas Tribune discovered that, "in the six months in which Perry was an active presidential candidate, DPS spent $1.1 million on overtime pay for the Executive Protection Bureau." (Source: "Overtime Bills Inflated Perry Security Costs," Texas Tribune, 2/23/12). Additionally, the Associated Press reported that it cost the state of Texas $32,466 to pay for the salary of the acting governor while Perry was out of the state. The total of all three of these major expenses - security-related travel costs, DPS overtime pay, and the salary for the acting governor - comes out to $3,799,132.67:

Item Cost
Security-related travel $2,666,666.67
DPS overtime pay $1,100,000.00
Acting governor salary $32,466
TOTAL $3,799,132.67