Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has revoked the blind trust that holds the majority of his investments, revealing for the first time in 15 years where his money is invested.
The Texas governor provided a range for the number of shares he holds in each of 25 different stocks that together are worth between $108,000 and $319,000. His portfolio was well-diversified, with holdings in major corporations from the United States and Europe.
Perry also listed eight municipal bond holdings, all of them from outside of Texas. No value was given for those bonds. He also listed a money-market account worth more than $10,000. He also owns a home in College Station valued at $214,000 that is rented out.
At 61, Perry is nearing retirement, and a conservative broker would have moved most of his assets into bonds and cash to protect the value of the trust. Perry reported that his broker has recently sold 12 stocks, with half of them posting losses on the initial investment.
The trust was established in 1996, while Perry was agriculture commissioner, and was managed by a broker. Perry was not informed of what the trust held until last month. In a letter to the Texas Ethics Commission dated Aug. 12, he amended his annual personal financial disclosure to reflect that he now knows where his assets are invested.
Blind trusts are used by politicians to avoid appearances of conflicts of interest in making important decisions. The Associated Press obtained the letter and the new disclosure form in an open records request.
While blind trusts are legal in Texas, candidates for federal office must report all of their holdings to the Federal Election Commission. Perry launched his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination last month and will be required to file a federal candidate disclosure form by Oct. 15.
"This action is consistent with previous candidates and office holders and fully complies with federal law," said Mark Miner, a spokesman for Perry.
The most valuable holdings were in Donaldson Inc., a Minneapolis-based adhesives company. Other large holdings include payroll services company Automatic Data Processing Inc., industrial manufacturer Dover Corp. and cleaning and pest-control services company Ecolab Inc. The filing also discloses that the trust sold large amounts of stock in MDU Resources Group, a natural resource company, and Del Monte Foods Co.
In 2009, a Perry spokeswoman told The Associated Press that the entire blind trust was worth more $896,000. According to the governor's tax returns, the trust lost $308,496 between 1996 and 2009.
Perry also owns part of two companies, one a partnership with his father called J.R. Perry Co. The other is a working interest in a Weatherford company called MKS Natural Gas Co., which earned him between $10,000 and $25,000 last year.
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