|For Immediate Distribution:
October 7, 2010
|Texans for Rick Perry: (512) 478-3276|
Mark Miner: email@example.com
Catherine Frazier: firstname.lastname@example.org
Texas Watchdog has released a new report titled, “Bill White's city of Houston travel forms missing business purpose, other details.” (Full report below and online at http://www.texaswatchdog.org/2010/10/bill-whites-city-of-houston-travel-...)
Included in the report is a $1,609.50 plane ticket Bill White used to travel to Washington, D.C., from Jan. 18-20, 2009. The airfare was purchased on Nov. 5, 2008, the day after President Obama was elected, and his inauguration was Jan. 20, 2009. 
Bill White’s official mayoral calendar reveals that while in Washington from Jan. 18-20, 2009, Bill White met with one of President Obama’s top fundraisers and held political meetings to benefit his campaign for the U.S. Senate. 
“Bill White needs to explain his political travel while mayor of Houston,” said Texans for Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner. “Throughout this campaign, Bill White has tried to re-invent himself, leaving questions unanswered about his business and political past. Bill White needs to come clean and apologize to the people of Houston for using the Mayor’s office as his own personal travel agency.”
On Jan. 19, 2009, Bill White met with Kirk Rudy, a top Obama fundraiser who helped introduce President Obama during an August 2010 fundraiser in Austin. [3, 4]
The night before, Bill White attended a dinner organized by his chief political fundraiser that the Houston Chronicle described like this: “There are other more intimate Texas-related happenings in the coming days, and one of the more interesting is a Sunday night dinner hosted by a handful of Texas couples at the swank Hay Adams Hotel. It’s been billed as everything from a salute to the Texas congressional delegation to a thank-you for Obama supporters from Texas. We hear, however that the underlying purpose of the gathering for around 100 is a salute to Houston Mayor Bill White and his wife, Andrea, as he tosses his hat into the ring for the U.S. Senate seat expected to be vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison.” 
 “Bill White DC Trip 2008,” Texas Watchdog, http://www.scribd.com/doc/38700549/Bill-White-DC-Trip-2008
 Bill White’s official mayoral calendar, Jan. 18-20, 2009, http://www.scribd.com/doc/38909658/Bill-White-Official-Mayoral-Calendar-...
 “Texans help McCain, Obama amass money for campaigns in other states,” Austin American-Statesman, 10/20/08, http://www.statesman.com/news/content/region/legislature/stories/10/20/1...
 “Pool Report From Obama's DNC Fundraiser,” Texas Tribune, 8/9/10, http://www.texastribune.org/texas-politics/campaign-finance/pool-report-...
 “Texans headed to presidential inauguration festivities,” Houston Chronicle, 1/15/09, http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/society/6211366.html
“Bill White's city of Houston travel forms missing business purpose, other details”
Texas Watchdog, Oct 7, 2010
By Steve Miller
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White failed to provide reasons for travel on required disclosure forms during at least nine trips during his tenure as mayor of Houston.
While the city asked rank-and-file employees to provide details on all travel, in the trips reviewed by Texas Watchdog, the mayor left blank information such as the purpose of the trip, other employees traveling and business to be transacted -- information the city collects to ensure employees have a valid reason for taking a trip.
The omissions included trips to Washington D.C. in '07 and '08 and to New York in '07 and '08.
Forms are also missing for 2007 trips to Seattle and Midland, Texas. The Midland trip also included an unexplained additional fee paid to Advantage Travel, at that time the city’s travel agency, for a one-way ticket on the same flight booked previously.
In another 2006 transaction, which appears to be a single flight booked twice with an additional flight folded into a single invoice, White flew to D.C. in March and May, both times for unstated reasons. According to records, the city paid Advantage a service fee twice for the same March flight.
And for this 2009 trip to D.C., there is no authorization form at all in city records.
Campaign spokeswoman Katy Bacon couldn't say why White's office did not fill out the travel authorization forms, and that details of his meetings could be found on his weekly schedules, which she said were always disclosed.
"The information is on his calenders," Bacon said.
White refused a Texas Watchdog request last year for his calendar, only releasing it after a state attorney general's ruling.
White’s campaign, along with some open government advocates, has hammered incumbent Gov. Rick Perry on his refusal to turn over travel records.
In an Associated Press story last month about Perry’s travel: “(White spokeswoman) Katy Bacon said Perry should 'stop hiding the facts on fiscal issues like what he's charging taxpayers for travel.'"
Today, the White campaign alleged that Perry used secret schedules to cover up his use of state resources for campaign time.
Texas Watchdog reported Monday that White used the services of Advantage Travel, which tacked a $35 fee onto each flight booked by the city. Following Texas Watchdog's investigation finding more than $90,000 in fees in a five-year period, Houston Mayor Annise Parker ended the city's relationship with the agency and said the extra fees had been paid for years because of "bureaucratic inertia." Advantage had no contract with the city, so the mayor had the power to halt its use with a simple edict.
White also used Advantage to book hotels for himself and his staff in some cases.