What is this all about, you ask -- in case you haven't heard?
Well, a grand jury indicted Perry on Friday on first-degree felony charges for allegedly abusing his powers by vetoing $7.5 million of funding over two years for the unit run by Texas state prosecutors who investigate public corruption. Perry is also charged with the third-degree felony of coercion of a public servant.
Perry didn't do this under cover of darkness; he threatened to veto the funding bill and followed up on his threat.
Why did he threaten and carry out this veto? The public integrity unit investigates allegations of corruption and political wrongdoing in Texas. The unit was overseen by Democratic Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg's office. Perry said he was not about to allow a woman of Lehmberg's character supervise an ethics department with a budget of $7.5 million of taxpayer money. "If Travis County wanted to separately fund that office," said Perry, he would have had no objections to it.
Perry said he believed that Lehmberg had lost the public's trust based on her behavior in connection with a drunken driving charge in 2013 and the manner in which she conducted herself throughout the ordeal.
A shocking video of Lehmberg's arrest and her abusive treatment of the arresting officers has gone viral. The video shows her kicking the door of her cell, repeatedly protesting the injustice of her being arrested, reminding the officers what her position is, denying that she was intoxicated and accusing them of ruining her career. This woman, who must have told one officer 10 times she wasn't drunk, registered a blood alcohol level that was almost three times the legal limit for driving a motor vehicle. She became so unruly that they eventually had to physically restrain her.
She ended up pleading guilty to the drunken driving charge in April 2013 and served about half of her 45-day prison sentence, but she refused to resign from her office when released. Though a grand jury indicted Perry for lawfully exercising his veto power, a grand jury investigating Lehmberg determined that she should not be removed from office. Go figure.
The leftist group, Texans for Public Justice, which filed the ethics complaint against Perry, claims it was not objecting to Perry's veto. It says Perry's wrongful misconduct was his threatening to use his veto power to pressure Lehmberg to resign.
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