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Texas Democrats say GOP Gov. Rick Perry's former chief of staff paid for an unsuccessful effort to get the Green Party on the ballot in Texas in a scheme to divert votes from Democratic challenger Bill White.
Green Party member Garrett Mize testified at a hearing this week that Perry's ex-staffer, Mike Toomey, paid him about $12,000 to persuade his party to use out-of-state contributions to help the petition drive, The Houston Chronicle reported.
Toomey, a lobbyist, is a close friend of Perry's and led the governor's staff from 2002 to 2004. He could not be reached for comment.
"Mike Toomey's involvement in this deal is a watershed today," Chad Dunn, a lawyer for the Texas Democratic Party, told the Chronicle. "Rick Perry needs to answer questions about what he knew and when he knew it."
The Perry campaign denied it was involved in the petition drive. "Our campaign had nothing to do with the Green Party," spokesman Mark Miner told the newspaper.
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