"I think it's disingenuous or very disengaged, one of the two — either real disengaged, not paying attention, or disingenuous to tell the people of the state of Texas that you didn't know what was happening in that savings and loan," Perry said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press.

Sanchez spokesman Mark Sanders said Perry is engaging in "outrageous political trash talk" and "should be ashamed of himself." The Sanchez campaign has repeatedly denied Sanchez knew about the money laundering.

"There were some unscrupulous depositors who misrepresented themselves and put the money in the bank," Sanders said. He noted that three federal agencies and a federal judge said Tesoro Savings and Loan followed the law.

Investigators have said $25 million in Mexican drug cartel money was laundered at Tesoro in 1983 and 1984. The thrift failed in the late 1980s for unrelated reasons and was bailed out at taxpayer expense for $161 million.

Sanchez, a multimillionaire banker and oil and gas executive, faced attacks over the Laredo money laundering during the spring primary race against former Attorney General Dan Morales.

The Perry campaign has also criticized Sanchez on issue. But until Wednesday, Perry himself had said little about it.