presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry
Leading Republican contender and prominent Christian candidate Rick Perry has been accused of hypocrisy after it was revealed that he invested thousands of dollars in the country's largest pornography distributor.
Just a week after he launched his presidential campaign, the Texas governor has come under fire for his investment in Movie Gallery, a company that rented pornographic movies.
In 1995, while serving as Texas' agriculture commissioner, financial disclosures reveal that Mr Perry bought between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of the company's stock.
The revelation is particularly embarrassing for the Republican candidate as the company was boycotted by the American Family Association, which hosted Mr Perry's high-profile prayer rally in Houston a week before he kicked off his campaign.
In potentially even more damaging allegations, Mr Perry is accused of signing into law bills that could have benefitted the pornography distributor.
Texas-based website The Burn Orange Report reported that Movie Gallery, which filed for bankruptcy in February 2010, had been facing two lawsuits for illegal business practices.
Smaller video stores had accused the company of illegally distributing pornography across state lines, but the company's chief financial officer had described the lawsuits as 'frivolous'.
The website reported that Mr Perry used similar language when signing a tort-reform bill that limited the liability of companies like Movie Gallery.
Mr Perry said the bill would 'remov[e] the incentive for trial lawyers to file frivolous lawsuits,' the website claimed.
The American Family Association led a high profile of Movie Gallery until it went into administration, which has added weight to the accusations of hypocrisy.
Patrick Vaughn, general counsel with the American Family Association, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: 'They sold family-friendly material in the front but had adult rooms in the back.'
Mr Perry has spoken out against pornographers in the past and in his 2008 book 'On My Honor' suggested that pornography plays a role in 'turning some viewers into eternal perdators'.
Mr Perry's team have tried to dismiss the allegations of hypocrisy, saying that he sold his entire investment in the company the same year as he bought it.
This company was a regional video store that he owned [stock in] for less than a year,' his campaign spokesman Mark Miner told the newspaper.
This is nothing different than a Blockbuster chain.'
But Matt Angle, director of Democratic research group the Lone Star Project, said this is part of a higher level of scrutiny that Mr Perry can now come to expect on the national political stage.
He doesn't get a pass for something that happened in 1995,' Mr Angle told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
He was a statewide elected official in Texas and let me tell you, Rick Perry is not... the type of candidate who would give his opponent a pass on anything like that.