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From the “You don’t need to know” department

I think I’ve finally figured out what the big secret is with Rick Perry’s travels.

In a policy change criticized by open government advocates, the Texas Department of Public Safety will not reveal how much money is being spent to provide security when Gov. Rick Perry travels out of state, something he is doing with greater frequency as he weighs a run for president.

DPS no longer keeps a separate accounting of Executive Protection Bureau expenses devoted to Perry and his wife, Anita, agency officials said.

The new policy was revealed in response to a public information request by the Texas Tribune, which sought an accounting of all state money spent to protect Perry on out-of-state trips.

The protection bureau provides security for foreign dignitaries who visit Texas and state officials who travel outside Texas, and “we are unable to separate out such information,” Jennifer Cohen, assistant general counsel for DPS, told the Tribune in a July 22 letter.

“That’s ridiculous,” said Joseph Larsen, a Houston lawyer and open government advocate. “That number didn’t just fall from the sky. That number was aggregated from individual records.”

Each trooper who travels with Perry submits reimbursement requests that must, under state law, be approved individually, Larsen said.

“It’s not believable that those individual voucher records don’t exist,” he said. “If that level of detail is not there anymore, that means they are destroying those records, and they are destroying them well before the retention time on financial records is through.”

There isn’t just one entity named “Rick Perry”. There’s actually an army of clones that get dispatched around the country for various purposes (you don’t want to know what for). They keep a tight rein on all of the travel-related documents to hide this fact. It’s all so obvious once you think about it.

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