Rick Perry's sugar papa

Texas presidential hopeful taps U-T publisher for RickPAC "advisory board"

Rick Perry
  • Rick Perry

While the fate of the San Diego Chargers and U-T San Diego hangs fire, the city's top two big-money political rivals have been out spreading some national cash.

On Thursday came word that former Texas governor and putative presidential hopeful Rick Perry had tapped U-T San Diego publisher “Papa” Doug Manchester and his Russian-born second wife Geniya for the "advisory board" of RickPAC, Perry's political action committee.

Since its purchase by Manchester in 2011, U-T San Diego has provided the Texas governor with extensive coverage. In particular, the paper has cited Perry's ongoing attempts to pirate corporate jobs from California with public subsidies as a reason to oppose taxes and social programs in the Golden State.

"The bald-faced effort by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to lure some of San Diego’s most important high-tech companies to relocate or expand in his state ought to raise giant red flags not only in San Diego, but even more importantly in Sacramento, the capital of denial," the U-T editorialized in February 2013.

In a similar vein, the U-T quoted Perry as saying he'd be interested in moving the Chargers to San Antonio if they didn't get a new stadium in San Diego.

"Dean is a good friend and I would be lying if I didn’t tell you, come to Texas and we would love to have their athletic club there," Perry told the paper. "If it gets so difficult for them to be able to operate, that’s always an option, but again you’d have to ask them."

Whether significant or not, members of the Chargers-owning Spanos family are absent from the latest list of Perry boosters.

During the run-up to the 2012 presidential race, the Spanos clan threw a Perry fundraiser at Sacramento's posh Park Ultra Lounge, co-hosted by Dean and Susie Spanos. Since then, the target of the family's interest in a new stadium has reportedly focused on Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, as locals continue to mull whether Manchester will turn the U-T over to a nonprofit funded by so far unidentified donors, the publisher's arch political nemesis Irwin Jacobs — the billionaire Obama Democrat who co-founded chip-making giant Qualcomm — has come up with another $100,000 for American Bridge 21st Century.

FactCheck.org describes the group as "a liberal super PAC that conducts opposition research to aid Democratic candidates and organizations….

"As a super PAC, American Bridge can accept unlimited donations and is largely funded by major Democratic donors and labor unions," notes FactCheck.

"Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros, a well-known supporter of liberal causes, was the group’s largest donor for the 2012 cycle, contributing $1 million."

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