Texas Gov. Rick Perry and his family have reportedly flown to campaign events on the private jet of a wealthy businessman under investigation for possible securities fraud.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
Perry, who has emerged in just weeks as the new front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, flew last weekend aboard Brian D. Pardo's Cessna Citation X jet from a remote Texas airport to various campaign events in Iowa, according to a Perry campaign aide and flight records obtained via Flightwise.com.
Pardo, who donated $50,000 to Perry's Texas campaign fund last year according to the Daily Mail, is the CEO of Life Partners Holdings Inc, a company that sells investors the right to collect on strangers' life-insurance policies. The company is being investigated by Texas regulators and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Regulators filed suit against Pardo and Life Partners at the end of July, the Daily Mail reports.
Perry's campaign reportedly says said the plane carried the his relatives to the campaign kickoff and that they reimbursed Pardo.
Federal election laws allow candidates to fly on supporters' private jets, provided they reimburse them.
Mark Miner, a spokesman for Perry said "it was a plane we chose to use" and the owner was "paid in full in accordance with federal election laws," Fox News reports.
According to the Associated Press, the "Republican race for the White House is about to accelerate dramatically" with a series of debates in the next 16 days pitting Perry against seasoned opponents, and answering a range of questions.
The first debate takes place in California on Wednesday and “will be most critical” for Perry because “it will be his first time out,” Terry Nelson — campaign strategist for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, now out of the 2012 race — told the AP.
Sarah Palin may also soon announce her bid for the White House, although she told the Des Moines Register on Saturday that she is "still not ready to make any kind of an announcement."
Palin did, however, use the opportunity of a Tea Party of America rally in Iowa to disparage the other GOP candidates.