Last summer, Rick Perry was indicted on two felonies for abuse of power and coercion of a public servant. These charges stem from his threat (that he eventually followed through on) of vetoing $7.5 million in funding for the Travis County Public Integrity Unit last year. Perry allegedly unethically used his veto power when District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign from her position at the TCPIU following her guilty plea for a DUI.
Now, should Lehmberg have resigned? Possibly, but her refusal to do so didn’t magically give Perry the legal authority to threaten and eventually use his veto power if he didn’t get his way.
Many say the real motive behind Perry’s move was 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 stepped down he would have been the person who would get to name her replacement. Nothing like trying to force the resignation of someone who’s investigating you for corruption charges so that you can name their replacement. Yeah, that doesn’t sound corrupt at all.
But soon after these charges were filed, several stories emerged concerning three Texas Republicans (two district attorneys and one state representative) who had been convicted of DUI’s (one receiving his second conviction) who weren’t asked to resign by Perry. In fact, one was later appointed to a prominent legal position within the state.
By the way, none of those three men were investigating Perry on corruption charges.
And now new information has emerged showing that Perry’s veto of funding for Travis County Public Integrity Unit also put an end to several investigations into high-ranking state officials and Perry’s office concerning no-bid contracts that were being handed out. These investigations were looking into whether or not loopholes in policies were being used to bypass the bidding process, giving out tens of millions of dollars worth of no-bid contracts to whatever company these officials chose.
Now, will any of this lead to Rick Perry spending time in prison? Probably not. Most of us know that the rich and powerful in this country deal with a completely different judicial system than the rest of us. Though, in my opinion, it’s very clear some extremely unethical behavior was going on within Perry’s administration. I want to see him answer for why he pushed so heavily for Lehmberg’s resignation, yet ignored DUI charges against two other Republican district attorneys – neither of whom were investigating his office for corruption charges.
So while it’s unlikely that Perry will ever see the inside of a prison cell, I can’t wait to see what sort of absurd excuses his defense team comes up with to explain the growing list of unethical behavior that seems to have been rampant in his administration.