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Gov. Perry Implicated in Teacher Life Insurance Scheme

By Frank Heinz
|  Thursday, Aug 25, 2011  |  Updated 4:13 PM CDT
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The HuffingtonPost says Gov. Rick Perry wanted the state to profit from life insurance taken out on retired Texas teachers.

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Gov. Rick Perry is being implicated in a plot where the state would have benefitted from life insurance policies bought on retired Texas teachers, particularly elderly ones.

According to a report on HuffingtonPost.com, "the Perry administration wanted to help Wall Street investors gamble on how long retired Texas teachers would live."

The report alleges that in exchange for helping Swiss bank UBS set up a business of teacher death speculation, the state could rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in just over a decade on the "dead peasant" policies.

The HuffingtonPost said that if teachers were convinced to allow UBS to buy life insurance for them, the when they died Wall Street speculators would be the beneficiary while their families would get nothing. The state would get paid for "arranging the bets," HuffPo reported.

The life insurance policies proposed in the plan would not have replaced polices held by the retirees or affected the beneficiaries of those retiree-owned plans. The "dead peasant" policies have been used by companies to dodge taxes and in the past have drawn harsh criticism because earn a profit covering rank-and-file employees who are paid low wages with little or no benefits.

The report cites a source who said Perry's office was pushing the idea to teacher's associations in 2003. However, the deal fell through because the Texas Teacher Retirement System was healthy and not in need of a safety net.

The report also implicates formed Sen. Phil Gramm, who at the time was the vice president of UBS bank and, according to the report, stood to make a fortune if the deal were approved.

According to HuffPo, the deal began to crumble because Gramm would never offer any real revenue figures for what the state may earn.

Once word of the deal leaked, teacher groups balked at the proposal, the report said.

It was just pretty morbid and I don't think it convinced anybody it was gonna enrich anybody except Phil Gramm and UBS," Texas State Teachers Association Spokesman Clay Robison told HuffPost. "Our members were pretty much appalled by it."

HuffPo said Perry's camp never returned a request for comment on this story. NBC 5's Omar Villafranca requested a comment on this story Thursday afternoon from Rick Perry, but has not yet received a reply.

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For the latest on Rick Perry's run for the White House, click here to see our special Tracking Rick Perry section. View videos, photos, and stories on the Texas Governor's Presidential run.

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