By now there should have been a pile on of stories shedding light on just how ridiculous the indictment of Texas governor Rick Perry is. Perry was indicted last Friday by a grand jury in Travis County, Texas, which includes the state capital of Austin. His alleged crime: “abuse of power” – for threatening to veto a provision in a pending state law that would fund a corruption unit in the office of the Travis Country prosecutor unless the prosecutor herself resigned.
Let’s stipulate that Perry didn’t like the idea of District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, investigating public corruption in Austin, which, of course, meant she could focus on the governor’s office.
Let’s also stipulate that when Lehmberg was arrested in a highly-publicized drunk driving case (police videos showed her stumbling around and belligerently reminding the cops who she was), Perry saw it as an opportunity. He was able to say that unless Lehmberg resigned he was going to veto the bill, which he ultimately did, because he didn’t want to fund “an office…at a time when the person charged with ultimate responsibility of that unit has lost the public’s confidence.”
So what? As in most states, the Texas constitution gives the governor broad veto power.
Lehmberg, did not resign, but her office did not handle the case. After a liberal public watchdog group called Texans for Public Justice lodged the abuse of power complaint against Perry, lawyer Michael McCrum was appointed by a judge as a special prosecutor to investigate the case.