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Texas Governor Rick Perry Indicted Over Veto Threat

Texas Governor Rick Perry Indicted Over Veto Threat

Texas Governor Rick Perry Indicted Over Veto Threat

Surprising news out of Texas: Governor Rick Perry has been formally indicted by a grand jury for an alleged abuse of power involving a state official who was arrested for a DUI.

A grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday for allegedly abusing the powers of his office by carrying out a threat to veto funding for state prosecutors investigating public corruption – making the possible 2016 presidential hopeful his state’s first indicted governor in nearly a century.

A special prosecutor spent months calling witnesses and presenting evidence that Perry broke the law when he promised publicly to nix $7.5 million over two years for the public integrity unit run by the office of Travis County Democratic District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. Lehmberg was convicted of drunken driving, but refused Perry’s calls to resign.

Perry’s general counsel, Marry Anne Wiley, defended the governor’s action.

“The veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution,” she said. “We will continue to aggressively defend the governor’s lawful and constitutional action, and believe we will ultimately prevail.”

The unit Lehmberg oversees is the same that led the investigation against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican who in 2010 was convicted of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering for taking part in a scheme to influence elections in his home state.

Several top aides to the Republican governor appeared before grand jurors in Austin, including his deputy chief of staff, legislative director and general counsel. Perry himself did not testify, though.

Perry was indicted on charges of abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony with potential punishments of five to 99 years in prison, and coercion of a public servant, a third-degree felony that carries a punishment of two to 10 years.

No one disputes that Perry is allowed to veto measures approved by the Legislature, including part or all of the state budget. But the left-leaning Texans for Public Justice government watchdog group filed an ethics complaint accusing the governor of coercion because he threatened to use his veto before actually doing so in an attempt to pressure Lehmberg to quit.

“We’re pleased that the grand jury determined that the governor’s bullying crossed the line into illegal behavior,” said Craig McDonald, executive director of Texans for Public Justice. “The complaint had merit, serious laws were potentially broken.”

So the question is, what’s the full story here? Travis County D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg was pulled over for a DWI. This is the dashcam footage:

Here is the booking footage, in which you can see that Lehmberg had to be restrained:

Lehmberg plead guilty to driving while intoxicated and her blood alcohol level was indeed over the legal limit.

Lehmberg had been placed in an isolation cell for protective custody but she refused several orders to stop kicking the cell door and was put in “the emergency restraint chair,” the records say.

According to an inmate incident report, Lehmberg also resisted a pat-down, refused to comply with officers, tried to scratch and grab an officer’s hand and yelled.

… The results of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s blood test show she had a blood alcohol level of .239 following her drunken driving arrest last week, according to a statement issued by the county attorney’s office.

Lehmberg was sentenced to 45 days in jail, a $4,000 fine and a 180-day license suspension on Friday.

Rick Perry thought she was a disgrace to her office, and therefore called on her to resign. Lehmberg refused, and so Perry then threatened to veto funding to her office, and ultimately did just that, withholding $7.5 million from her office — specifically, $7.5 million that had been earmarked for the state Public Integrity Unit, which is part of Lehmberg’s office.

So all of this stems from Rosemary Lehmberg’s arrest for driving while drunk, and her refusal to resign from her office. Rick Perry did not feel he could, in good conscience, give money to the Public Integrity Unit when the person heading that unit up clearly has no integrity. And in an apparent act of revenge, Perry is now being indicted — because somehow, he’s the bad guy here, even though the governor of any state has the power to veto any legislation for any reason. Liberal logic, people. Rick Perry did not do anything that lies outside his authority or that was illegal. This is coming solely out of the liberal Travis County Democrat machine, hoping to get Perry out of office early and to ruin his chances of a 2016 presidential bid. It says a lot about Democrats, though, doesn’t it? They’ll fight on behalf of a woman who broke the law, endangered the lives of Texans, threatened police officers, and had to be restrained, because a man on the other side of the aisle rightfully called her out for saying she has no integrity and should resign. Shame on them.

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