By now most people have heard about Texas Governor Rick Perry being indicted on two felonies for abuse of power and coercion of a public servant.
If convicted, Perry faces anywhere from 5-99 years for the first count and between two and ten years for the second.
Naturally, Perry has denied these allegations. He’s claiming that his actions were within the law when he threatened to, and ultimately did, veto $7.5 million in funding to the Travis County Public Integrity. He did so because District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign from her position at the TCPI following a DUI conviction.
And as it just so happens, Ms. Lehmberg was investigating Perry’s office for possible corruption charges during the time of her DUI.
Which is where the real heart of this entire story lies. Because had she resigned from her position at the TCPI, Rick Perry would have been the person who chose her replacement.
Pretty convenient, right? Nothing like being able to handpick the replacement for the person investigating you for corruption.
The “reasoning” Perry is using is that her conviction for a DUI made her unfit to hold her position.
And while he might have a point, that still doesn’t justify him using his power as governor to unlawfully try to blackmail and intimidate anyone. Which is exactly what he did. And in my opinion, he clearly broke the law.
He doesn’t deny making the threat, which he later carried out. So now it’s just getting down to the legal aspect of whether or not what he did was legal. Which is what the trial will hopefully tell us.
Well, a new bit of information coming from the Dallas Morning News might very well be what strips all credibility from Perry’s “defense” of his actions, proving he did indeed abuse his power as Governor of Texas.
It seems that during Perry’s time as governor there have been two other District Attorneys who were convicted of DUI’s, but Perry didn’t push for them to resign.
In 2002, Swisher County District Attorney Terry McEachern was arrested in New Mexico after a family called into police reporting someone swerving into oncoming traffic and driving off the shoulder of the road.
Then in 2009, Kaufman County District Attorney Rick Harrison was arrested after driving the wrong way down a street and hitting another car. Oh, by the way, this incident was actually Harrison’s second DWI conviction.
Just in case you’re wondering, both of these men are Republicans and neither were investigating Perry’s office for corruption.
But it gets better. According to Progress Texas in 2011, former Republican state representative Jim Stick was convicted of drunk driving. Since that conviction he’s been appointed as chief legal council for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
So we have four different individuals who were convicted of driving drunk while Rick Perry has been governor. Three of those individuals were Republicans, one was a Democrat. Two of the three Republicans were District Attorneys who weren’t asked to resign by Rick Perry. While the third was actually allowed to take a prominent legal position within a state agency.
But when it came to the fourth, the Democrat investigating Rick Perry for corruption, he used threats and blackmail to try to force her to resign from her position so that he could personally choose her replacement.
For someone to look at this information and not see that Perry clearly had political motives behind his actions towards Lehmberg is either incredibly naive or just flat-out lying.
There’s no way Perry can rationally go into a courtroom and make a case as to why he felt Lehmberg should have been removed from her position when he clearly had no problem with these other two Republican District Attorneys staying in office following their DUI convictions.
In my opinion, it’s clearly obvious what happened here. Rosemary Lehmberg was investigating Perry’s office on possible corruption charges. Then following her DUI conviction, Perry saw an opportunity to get rid of her. So he used his position as governor to try to intimidate, threaten and blackmail Ms. Lehmberg into resigning, because if she resigned, he would have been able to choose her replacement.
Because nothing at all sounds corrupt about a governor using their power to try to force the resignation of someone investigating his office for corruption, knowing that he would be able to personally handpick whomever would take over the investigation.
Na, that doesn’t sound corrupt at all.