Since his first race for office more than a quarter-century ago, Gov. Rick Perry has emphasized his roots as a rural farmer.
Yet Perry's bank account no longer reflects those humble beginnings as his bottom line has soared in recent years, records show, thanks largely to a handful of real estate deals that critics allege were achieved through the presidential candidates' political connections.
In just about every campaign Perry has run since 1989, allegations of his using his position for financial gain have come up. It's an issue that Perry long ago accepted would linger as long as he remains in the public eye.
"I've been in politics long enough to know that this is just a part of doing business," Perry told the Star-Telegram in 1998. "I know full well, as my wife knows, that our private lives, particularly on the financial side, becomes fair game."
While much of the scrutiny has focused on land deals Perry made while a statewide official, "real estate investor" doesn't properly capture all of his recent financial activity, just as "farmer" is too simple a description of Perry's earlier years.
Perry's financial records were obtained via online databases from the Houston Chronicle and Texas Tribune and through the Texas Ethics Commission.
When he became the state representative from Haskell in 1985, the married father of two was far from living high on the hog. The earliest federal tax return Perry has released dates to 1987, when the couple reported total income of $45,224.