Photo credit: Office of Texas Governor Rick Perry (Public Domain)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) gave his first press conference after being indicted by a grand jury in Travis County (the liberal bastion of Texas) on two counts of “abuse of official capacity.”

His crime?  He line-item vetoed funding of a state agency.  Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who is a Democrat, was arrested for driving under the influence after blowing a .239 on her BAC.  The legal limit is .08 so that means Ms. Lehmberg was incredibly drunk.  She proceeded to threaten the arresting officers.

Lehmberg oversees Texas’ public corruption unit which Perry threatened to veto funding for until she resigned.  She refused, he vetoed the agency’s funding.  She got a grand jury to indict him on using his line-item veto authority given to him by the Texas Constitution.

So he’s facing 5 to 99 years on each count for exercising his constitutional power.

If this doesn’t get laughed out of court our judicial system is even more broken than what I thought.

Who is abusing their power?

Perry gave his first press conference on Saturday in response to the indictment.

Here is his statement in full:

As governor, I took an oath to faithfully uphold the constitution of Texas, a pledge that I have kept every day as I’ve worked on behalf of Texans for the last 14 years. This same constitution clearly outlines the authority of any governor to veto items at his or her discretion. Just as I have following every legislative session during my service as governor, I exercised this authority to veto funding for an office whose leadership had lost the public’s confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically.

I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto, and will continue to defend this lawful action of my executive authority as governor. We don’t settle political differences with indictments in this country. It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state’s constitution.

This indictment amounts to nothing more than an abuse of power and I cannot, and will not, allow that to happen. I intend to fight against those who would erode our state’s constitution and laws purely for political purposes, and I intend to win. I will explore every legal avenue to expedite this matter and bring it to a swift conclusion. I am confident we will ultimately prevail, that this farce of a prosecution will be revealed for what it is, and that those responsible will be held to account.

This is the Rick Perry I think many hoped would have run in 2012.  If this Rick Perry showed up the 2012 Iowa Caucus results may have been different.  We’ll see if this Rick Perry shows up in 2016 assuming this indictment gets laughed out of court.  When even David Axelrod deemed this indictment as sketchy it doesn’t bode well for Texas Democrats who called for his resignation after one of their own has misused the justice system for political payback.

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  1. Targeting and thwarting an ongoing investigation is no small matter as it undermines the essential fact finding function of our judicial system. “At the time of Mr. Perry’s veto last year, prosecutors in the unit had been investigating a state agency called the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. The agency — one of Mr. Perry’s signature initiatives — came under scrutiny by state lawmakers after accusations of mismanagement and corruption; a former official there was indicted last year for his handling of an $11 million grant.”

    This, in itself, can be deemed as an effort “to thwart the investigation into the cancer-research agency” — and it confirms that “he was demonstrably trying to scrap the ethics unit for other than his stated reason.”

    As such, the indictment is not at all “sketchy.”

    1. Yes it is. You take the weird position that Perry cannot threaten to do something but he can do it. In other words Perry cannot tell you he is going to do what he is legally allowed to do. You sir are one strange bird.

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