Texas Governor Rick Perry was indicted Friday on two felonies for abuse of power and coercion of a public servant.
This all stems from his threat, then eventual veto, of $7.5 million in funding for the Travis County Public Integrity Unit last year. All this was brought about when District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign from her position at the TCPL following her guilty plea for a DUI.
Following her guilty plea she served out her 45-day sentence and mandated treatment program.
Rick Perry had made it clear that he planned to veto funding for the agency unless she resigned. When she didn’t, Perry carried through with his veto promise.
In other words, he committed a blatant and illegal abuse of power.
But the story doesn’t stop there. The real motive behind his push to get Lehmberg to resign seems to have been due in large part to the fact that she was currently investigating possible corruption charges into a project Perry had been strongly behind.
And if she resigned, guess who would have gotten to appoint her replacement?
Because nothing at all seems corrupt about pushing for the resignation of the person investigating you for corruption – so that you can appoint their replacement.
After investigating the case since April, special prosecutor Michael McCrum ultimately decided to file charges.
Though, as expected, Rick Perry is denying all allegations.
So, let’s paint this picture a bit, shall we?
Rick Perry is being investigated by Lehmberg on possible corruption charges. She’s arrested for a DUI, prompting Perry to push for her resignation claiming that she had “lost trust” with the people. Then, to try to force her resignation, he threatens to veto funding to her agency. Following her decision not to resign, he then carries out that veto.
And had she chosen to resign, he would have been able to select the replacement to the agency investigating his office for corruption.
This seems pretty open and shut to me. Perry made a threat, carried out with that threat and by all indicators, in my opinion, that’s an obvious abuse of power.
But the kicker in all of this is the fact that this agency was investigating possible corruption charges against Perry, and had she resigned, he would have been able to select who took over the investigation.
And who here believes he would have selected someone who would have been impartial?
In other words, he’s now being charged with an abuse of power and coercion of a public official because he wasn’t able to rig an ongoing investigation into possible corruption within his office.
Nothing quite like trying to cover up possible corruption charges by blatantly abusing your power.