Austin, Texas--the seat of Texas' state government--is located in Travis County. The Travis County DA's office is tasked with not only prosecuting crimes committed by ordinary Travis County, but with investigating and prosecuting criminal activities by state officials--corruption, particularly--all over Texas, via a state-funded "Public Integrity Unit. Travis County--despite redistricting that split it into pieces as an attempt to overcome its own citizens' will--is basically Democrat territory, but the governor is Republican, as is the state Attorney General, and also the majority of the legislature. The present DA won the election and she is a Democrat, Rosemary Lemburgh. Under a succession of Republican governors, attorneys general, and legislatures, oversight of their activities has been minimal, and therefore the only hindrance to their desires has rested on the Travis County DA's office. Within the past few years, for instance, complaints have been made about the management of tax funds intended for one purpose and either being wasted or diverted to another; the DA's office was in fact investigating some of these complaints, as it should. In addition, charges were already pending against Tom De Lay for corruption, and a then-possible GOP candidate for attorney general was being investigated for violation of state securities law. The GOP has been...let us say...unhappy with any investigations into current corruption and has been griping about them as "politically motivated" since long before the current mess.
One night in April 2013, Ms. Lemburgh was arrested for drunk driving, proving to have way more than the legal limit of alcohol in her system. She pled guilty, served her jail time, and paid her fine for that offense. Governor Perry, eager to get rid of her and appoint a Republican to the Travis County DA position, wanted her to resign. Everyone in Texas knew that if he could get a Republican in, all the corruption investigations would disappear, along with the evidence so far collected. Charges against DeLay would be dropped. And a Republican DA would immediately start indicting Democrats in the state senate. However, Perry did not have the power to remove her from her position, so he tried to pressure her into resigning. He threatened her that if she did not resign, he would cut state funding to the public integrity unit in her office--state funding intended to allow the Travis County DA's office resources for investigating corruption. THAT is the offence for which he was indicted. She did not resign, and he vetoed the funding, knowing that the legislature would not overturn his veto. Later in the summer of 2013, when the Republican Lt Gov obviously falsified time documents following the Wendy Davis filibuster, that too would have been buried had Perry been able to put a Republican DA in the Travis County office.
Note: as governor, he has the right to veto funds for any project in the state--line-item veto is legal here. What he does NOT have is the right to threaten/coerce a state employee. That is a crime. That is what he has been indicted for. Perry is attempting to convince the public that he's innocent because it was legal for him to veto funding for corruption investigation...as if that were the reason he was indicted. That is a lie. Furthermore, the indictment clearly states what the cause is: so he knows damn good and well what he did wrong. He just doesn't think he's wrong. He never thinks he's wrong. That's a dangerous attitude for anyone, and for a person with political power, a danger to everyone he has power over.
Perry has wasted millions of Texas taxpayers' dollars on himself, demanding extra protection, a big fancy rented house (the Governor's Mansion wasn't good enough; he decided it had to be redone--which led to its being burned down.) In 2010, when he'd been in the rented house (base cost: $10,000/month) since 2007, the Dallas Morning News reported that he had spent at least $600,000 of taxpayer money already in living expenses. The Perrys moved back into the restored mansion in mid-year 2012, by which time the rental alone would have added another $240,000 to the cost of keeping a roof over his head. All his security is paid by taxpayers, of course, and that includes $2.9 million since 2010 for travel outside the state, much of that cost coming when he decided to run for President. But why does the governor of Texas need to run off to London, Las Vegas, New York, San Diego, and (most recently) Iowa? (Other parts of his travel cost are covered by his campaign or "another entity like an economic development group"...in other words, people who want to influence him. He's for sale, that's for sure.) In addition to that, Perry receives both state retirement and his governor's salary. (And this is a guy who claims to be committed to lean government. Oh, he did economize at one point--let one of the two housekeepers go, and put one of the two cooks on part-time work.) And then there's his mobilization of the Texas National Guard to the Border, at a cost of $12 million a month. Which he wants the feds to pay for (or it will have to come out of the state budget, which doesn't have it.)
Comments are Disabled.