August 18, 2014


Five Things to Know About Perry Indictment (Jay Root, Aug. 16, 2014, Texas Tribune)

No one disputes that Perry, a Republican, had the authority to use his line-item veto power, guaranteed by the Texas Constitution, to eliminate the $7.5 million in two-year state funding for the public integrity unit.

That unit, charged with prosecuting public corruption cases in the state capital, is operated by the office of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat. Nor does anyone dispute that Perry, under the First Amendment, has the unfettered right to call for the resignation of Lehmberg or any other DA.

The allegation is that Perry improperly combined the two -- that he illegally tied his power over integrity unit funding to his demand that Lehmberg resign, essentially setting up a quid pro quo arrangement that crossed the line into an abuse of power.

Even after the veto, there were numerous reports that Perry's office continued to dangle a restoration of the state funding or a future job offer to Lehmberg if she would leave office. Sources said Lehmberg rejected the deal because she questioned whether it was legal.

Asked about those reports Saturday, Perry said: "The details of my decision-making were very clear. I said early on that I was going to clearly veto those dollars as long as they had someone in that office who I had lost confidence in, and I did exactly what I said I was going to do."

Perry's strongest case going forward, at least in the court of public opinion, will probably center on Lehmberg's outrageous conduct during and after her arrest.

According to arrest reports and published accounts, a driver called 911 in April 2013 after seeing someone in a Lexus driving erratically, crossing into the bike lanes and swerving into oncoming traffic. Lehmberg, Travis County's top law enforcement official, was later found in a church parking lot with a bottle of vodka in the front seat.

The video of her field sobriety tests and from inside the Travis County Jail is scandalous and highly embarrassing: She screamed and cried, kicked a door, stuck out her tongue and repeatedly tried to pull rank by telling authorities to "call Greg"  -- meaning Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton. "Y'all are gonna be in jail, not me," she declared at one point.

She ultimately had to be restrained in leg irons before her blood was drawn. Even hours after her arrest, her blood-alcohol content was found to be at nearly three times the blood-alcohol limit.

...that in her video she'd said the stuff Mel Gibson did; would anyone even question the veto?

Posted by at August 18, 2014 7:40 PM

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