Governor Goodhair Agonistes

I’m both deeply unversed in Texas politics, and utterly not a lawyer, but my spidey sense tells me that this is good news for John McCain:

 A grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday for allegedly abusing the powers of his office by carrying out a threat to veto funding for state prosecutors investigating public corruption — making the possible 2016 presidential hopeful his state’s first indicted governor in nearly a century.

A special prosecutor spent months calling witnesses and presenting evidence that Perry broke the law when he promised publicly to nix $7.5 million over two years for the public integrity unit, which is run by Travis County Democratic District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s office. It’s the same office that indicted U.S. Rep. Tom Delay as part of a finance probe.

Tribunal_de_la_Inquisición

Seems to me that being indicted for being a dick to a Democrat might just help Perry in the Republican primary, but as this only reinforces a general election theme that we know what Perry (and the Texas GOP governing elite, and the national Republican Party) are, so now we’re just haggling over price … well, that’s just not good.  The ads write themselves and all that.

But, as I said up top, what the hell do I know.  For now, I’ll enjoy the spectacle of the newly bespectacled governor talk grand juries and not guilty pleas, while quietly marveling the the managed to beat Chris Christie in the who gets charged first sweepstakes.  I thought the Jersey blowhard had this stakes race nailed.

Update: It occurs to me that the true sweetness of the story is the sheer stupid involved.  If I read the report correctly, Perry could have simply vetoed the funding with no prior thuggery and achieved the desired goal — shutting the investigation down.  It was the act of opening his fettering gob that got him into trouble:

No one disputes that Perry is allowed to veto measures approved by the Legislature, including part or all of the state budget. But the left-leaning Texans for Public Justice government watchdog group filed an ethics complaint accusing the governor of coercion because he threatened to use his veto before actually doing so in an attempt to pressure Lehmberg to quit.

Hee.

Image: Francisco de Goya, Trial by the Inquisition1812-1819

92 replies
  1. 1
    Helen says:

    OOPS!

  2. 2
    burnspbesq says:

    Whoa.

    Perry isn’t running for re-election. The Republican nominee to succeed him is the state AG, the equally odious (yeah, I know, hard to believe, but trust me on this) Greg Abbott, who will now be walking on eggshells lest the state criminal justice establishment he nominally heads be perceived as cutting this defendant any slack. Or maybe I have that backward, and any failure to cut this defendant slack will get Abbott crossways with the state’s lunatic Republican mainstream.

  3. 3
    FlyingToaster says:

    Confirmed at Reuters.

    Wow. He passed the Jersey Whale before the first turn.

    If Michele Bachmann does run, can we get her indicted on violating Federal Election law, too?

  4. 4
    Turgidson says:

    The knuckledragging base won’t care about this and might even find it endearing, but the “invisible primary” fat cats he’ll need to write the checks won’t be thrilled. Not so much that they disapprove of “being an insufferable dick to a Democrat” as a guiding principle, but getting caught doing so in illegal ways is a serious red flag.

    Too bad. I was looking forward to having Rick Perry in the clown car again.

  5. 5
    Arclite says:

    If he’s vetoing something, and that’s his job, I’m not understanding how they’re charging him. Can’t a gov veto any thing for any reason?

  6. 6
    dmsilev says:

    Jersey blowhard

    That’s ‘the outlaw Jersey whale’, per TBogg.

  7. 7
    Greg says:

    @Arclite:

    If he’s vetoing something, and that’s his job, I’m not understanding how they’re charging him. Can’t a gov veto any thing for any reason?

    Apparently vetoing is okay, but _threatening_ to veto as blackmail to try to force some other action is not.

    Which makes some sense, but seems really difficult to find the right place to draw the line.

  8. 8
    efgoldman says:

    I am certainly not the first to say: the Schaden it is freude!

    It were a state prosecution that done in the equally repulsive Tom DeLay, also too.

  9. 9
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    It’s actually stunning, these Republican governors.

    Perry.

    Christie.

    McCrory.

    Deal.

    McDonnell.

    Presumption of innocence and all, but even five governors (one an ex-gov) under indictment, investigation, or ethical/legal scrutiny, seems like an extraordinary number at one time. And I don’t for a minute believe that’s the lot.

  10. 10

    @Arclite: No.

    That is his defense: That TX’s veto power for the governor gives him unlimited discretion.

    The prosecutor convinced a grand jury (and you know what they say about those) that while the veto is a broad power, it is possible ot use that power in a fashion that violates criminal statutes–which are separate laws.

    They’re not specific to making a governor who vetoes funding for something he dislikes into a felon; they are broad limitations on how any state official’s power can(‘t) be used.

    The charges indicate that Perry publicly threatened to use his veto power, in a way that intimidated another official, unlawfully. The veto itself wasn’t the felony.

  11. 11
    burnspbesq says:

    One of the offenses with which the Guv is charged, “abuse of official capacity,” apparently carries a maximum sentence of 99 years’ imprisonment.

    PRAISE JESUS!

  12. 12

    From the Austin American-statesman, which also provides a handy timeline of related events:

    Grand jurors charged Perry, 63, with abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public servant, a third-degree felony. The first charge carries a punishment of 5-99 years. The second charge is punishable by 2-10 years.

    The indictment stems from Perry’s threat last summer to withhold $7.2 million in state money from Lehmberg’s office unless she step down – a threat he later carried out by vetoing an appropriation in the state budget.

    His position, apparently, is that these charges can’t apply to him because he has the right to do what he threatened to do. But the charges are based on the threat.

  13. 13

    And it’s a felony, so if convicted, he’ll have lost his right to vote in Texas.

  14. 14
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    Sorry, but this doesn’t seem like it leads anywhere. Public threats to veto bills as a way to apply pressure to people happens all the time. Some of the time, like this one, it’s sleazy. But I’m seeing no way to criminalize this. And the indefensible behavior of the Travis County DA that underlies it isn’t going to make the case any easier to win.

  15. 15
    burnspbesq says:

    The DWI arrest of the DA that Perry was allegedly trying to force to resign was captured on video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-bj-BLTRRo

  16. 16
    Valdivia says:

    http://www.texasobserver.org/e.....w-scandal/

    Excellent backgrounder. Reposted from different thread.

  17. 17
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @PhoenixRising: The whole thing rests on a really stupid setup for the Public Integrity Unit. It’s meant, among other things, to investigate the office of the governor for malfeasance, but the governor has veto power over its budget and has the power to appoint a replacement if the DA resigns. To me, that means that the entire relationship is based upon multiple overlapping conflicts of interest and its impossible to separate legitimate exercise of the governor’s power from an abuse.

    I can’t see this working as a prosecution and the fault is on the legislature for setting up such an idiotic system.

  18. 18
    Felinious Wench says:

    The Coif overreached.

    There is much guffawing amongst my fellow Texas liberals on the internets this fine Friday night. We are hoisting Shiner Bochs and margaritas in the general direction of Austin.

  19. 19

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Yeah, threats to veto to get political leverage or outcomes are common as dirt.

    Threats to use the power of the office to force another public official (who you don’t like) to resign an elected office? Not as common. Because they’re illegal.

    For the very good reason that the DWI is a red herring here; it’s irrelevant WHY Rick Perry thought he was doing the Lord’s will in coercing this other (Democrat) elected official to quit her job and let him pick her replacement.

  20. 20
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @efgoldman: Commented in an earlier thread — that storage place where they found the bodies? I have a unit there. Yuck.

  21. 21
    Dog On Porch says:

    I don’t know squat about Texas politics either. However, I do know that if you are an incumbent governor who is indicted in that particular State, you are a blundering boob. Above-and-beyond even the boobdom already accorded Rick Perry by damn near everyone outside of Texas.

    Digression: To this day I still wonder. What is the name of that individual who destroyed G.W.’s National Guard records? And what was Captain Mission Accomplished up to during those years?

  22. 22
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @PhoenixRising: Jim Moore said there are strong rumors that Perry offered to find the DA another job if she resigned, which could be worse for him than the current charges. Again according to Moore.

  23. 23
    gf120581 says:

    Well, this is a new development.

    Whether this indictment goes anywhere or not, this is just another example of Perry’s stupidity. Glasses are not enough, Rick. In fact, I’m fairly sure you found those in a toilet and are wearing them against your aides’ advice.

    “Sir, you shouldn’t wear glasses that aren’t perscribed for you. It’s not healthy.”

    “Look, just because you’re ten feet tall doesn’t mean you get to tell me what to do.”

  24. 24
    KG says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): i don’t know about that. If Perry really said he’d veto the bill (or line item veto the funds) if the democratic official didn’t resign, that’s probably outside his authority. It’s akin to acting under the color of law, something members of the Ferguson PD are likely going to learn a lot about in the coming weeks/months. Or as another example, it’s illegal to kill another person, but if you’re acting in self defense (or defense of another) and have a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm, it is not illegal. The veto was legal, but the threat of extortion “do this or I do that” is illegal. Essentially it’s blackmail… If I ha knowledge of a person’s illegal/unethical/immoral activities and I released that information to the media, that wouldn’t be illegal. But if I told that person to give me ten million dollars or I’ll release the information, that’d be illegal.

  25. 25
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @PhoenixRising: I disagree that the DWI is just a red herring. It may not be the actual reason why Perry pushed for her resignation but it provides a plausible reason for it. Let’s face it, Lehmberg’s behavior is every bit as much an abuse of power as what Perry is accused of. If you believe that Perry should be censured for this, you really had better believe that he should have pushed for her resignation, because it’s the same basic issue and her behavior is at least as egregious.

  26. 26
    Jay C says:

    Maybe someone can set up a bipartisan ethics court, and we can put both Rick Perry and Andrew Cuomo in the same dock for the same offense (on either side of an aisle, of course….)

  27. 27
    PaulW says:

    What does it say that out of all the corruption that state has seen over the decades, Perry is the first governor indicted in over 100 years?! How inept can you be to get caught like that?

  28. 28
    Helen says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    IANAL, but

    Public threats to veto bills as a way to apply pressure to people happens all the time

    seems dubious to me.

    The Libby trial was my gateway drug back into politics after many years of apathy. That is where I first heard the phrase “the criminalization of politics” and I thought then, and I think now – “NO this is not the criminalization of politics; it’s the politicization of crime.” Just because politicians do it and just because it’s been done forever does not make it legal.

  29. 29
    Mike in NC says:

    Re: asshole Tom DeLay. Is the Hammer still in the slammer?

  30. 30
    shelley says:

    Well, his eyeglasses can always decide to run in 2016. It’s the only intelligent thing about him.

  31. 31
    PaulW says:

    @burnspbesq:

    One of the offenses with which the Guv is charged, “abuse of official capacity,” apparently carries a maximum sentence of 99 years’ imprisonment.
    PRAISE JESUS!

    it’s the minimum we gotta look at. They’re not gonna hit Perry with a maximum count if they convict him.

  32. 32
    Amir Khalid says:

    @burnspbesq:
    Best-case scenario: both. The State AG might best serve his ambition to be Governor by steering well wide of this case.

    Oh, by the way: for those familiar with their Monty Python (see Argument Clinic sketch) the expression is “shut his festering gob”.

  33. 33
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Mike in NC: No. His conviction was overturned on appeal due to a lack of evidence. Frankly, the Travis County DAs office doesn’t have a very good track record on these sorts of prosecutions.

  34. 34
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Helen: No, but if it’s been done that way forever it’s really difficult to make a prosecution out of it. Just because something is wrong doesn’t mean that it’s criminal.

  35. 35
    gwangung says:

    Think this is also relevant:

    [Ms. Lehmberg] plays a powerful role in Austin in overseeing the Public Integrity Unit. At the time of Mr. Perry’s veto last year, prosecutors in the unit had been investigating a state agency called the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, which finances cancer research and prevention programs. The agency — one of Mr. Perry’s signature initiatives — came under scrutiny by state lawmakers after accusations of mismanagement and corruption; a former official there was indicted last year for his handling of an $11 million grant.

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014.....;referrer=

  36. 36
    Amir Khalid says:

    @PaulW:
    Don’t forget, there are bags of rocks that can out-think Rick Perry.

  37. 37
    burnspbesq says:

    @PaulW:

    Minimum is five, IIRC. No idea whether there is any lesser included offense he could bargain down to.

  38. 38
    JPL says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Her video is bait for the right wing. She’s probably not a person I would defend but it appears he did break Texas law.

  39. 39
    efgoldman says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Frankly, the Travis County DAs office doesn’t have a very good track record on these sorts of prosecutions.

    Got him out of DC, didn’t it?

    ETA: Although with this Congress, i wouldn’t have made a hell of a lot of difference.

  40. 40
    Mike J says:

    @Arclite:

    If he’s vetoing something, and that’s his job, I’m not understanding how they’re charging him.

    If buying things is legal, and having sex is legal, isn’t buying sex legal?

    Context matters.

  41. 41
    burnspbesq says:

    Just imagine the fun Saint Molly would be having with this if she were still among us. :-)

  42. 42
    piratedan says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): that’s incorrect, having a DWI/DUI does NOT exclude you from holding public office. IIRC, Texas has an elected Congressman (sitting) since 1996 who was convicted of DUI in 2005 (Brady, K)

  43. 43
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I like to picture her giving Anne Richards a big ol’ heavenly high-five.

  44. 44
    Console says:

    This is no different than bribery. It is legal for me to donate to a campaign. It is legal for a candidate to support my cause. It is illegal for a candidate to support my cause as a condition of my donation. All abuse of power issues involve authorities doing things that are within their power to do.

  45. 45
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @JPL: I’m a lot less convinced that he broke the law. I’m just not seeing it. As I said, though, that’s because the legislature created a setup that almost can’t do anything but devolve into a morass of conflicts of interest. It’s dumb, but that’s the system they wanted.

  46. 46
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @piratedan: It isn’t the DWI that’s the big problem. It’s her threatening the deputies when they arrest her for it that’s the abuse of power. To me, that sort of behavior means that she HAS to go.

  47. 47
    skerry says:

    Joaquin Castro first Dem to call for Perry’s resignation:

    For the sake of Texas, Governor Perry should resign following his indictment on two criminal felony counts involving abuse of office.
    Special prosecutor Mike McCrum said he would work with Perry’s attorneys on Monday to set up a time for Perry to be arraigned.
    If convicted, Perry could face jail time. The first count carries a penalty of 5-99 years in prison. The second count could result in two to 10 years in prison.
    — Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) August 15, 2014

    I like the Castro brothers.

  48. 48
    gian says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    don’t forget scott walker
    and the current florida governor…

  49. 49
    piratedan says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): it would be different if Perry had just stated that he was going to veto the funding for some bullshit reason, but the moron went ahead and stated publicly that he was going to use the power of his office to remove the funding for her position if she didn’t resign. That’s coercion and that’s illegal. If Perry had provided any kind of phony baloney negligee thin reason, no one would have said anything, but the Governor is apparently not that smart.

  50. 50
    skerry says:

    @Scott Peterson: Seeing as it is Texas, I’d bet he can still get a gun.

  51. 51
    Mobile RoonieRoo says:

    Meh. Having lived in Texas my whole life I already know what the result will be. Nothing. The end result will be absolutely nothing. Sorry but he is a Republican which means that even if you are indicted it will be overturned.

  52. 52
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    You remember Bobby Jindhal saying he was tired of being the stupid party? He’s going to have to be tired for a while longer.

  53. 53
    piratedan says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): then that’s between her and her constituency, i.e. a recall or her fellow elected officials shaming her out of office, doesn’t always work though… see Vitter, David. It’s not up to the Governor to force her to resign. If the people of Travis County send her back to office or don’t recall her, that’s up to them, correct?

  54. 54
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @piratedan: Actually, the fact that the exact same actions could have so easily clearly not been criminal is one of the reasons that I think the prosecution is weak. The line between what would be legal and what is illegal, even under the theory of the case, is so fine that it just doesn’t hold up.

    I think that there is a fuckload of wishful thinking going on in this thread.

  55. 55
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @piratedan: Sorry. If we’re going to be upset about abuse of power and not demand Lehmberg’s resignation for threatening police officers who arrest her for committing an obvious felony, then it means that we don’t care about abuse of power, just who we are targeting.

    That isn’t any more between her and her constituents than this indictment is between Rick Perry and his. It’s a flagrant abuse. More flagrant than Perry’s.

  56. 56
    piratedan says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): more to this than the lawsuit brought against the President. You have a threat of executive action against the funding of a public officel based on activities outside that office. So, we disagree. Then again, this is Texas, where barely ethical is a somehow seen as a standard to be striven for.

  57. 57
    Console says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    If I fire you, that’s generally my prerogative as an employer. If I fire you and then tell everyone that it’s because you’re black, then that’s illegal.

    I don’t get what’s so crazy about the idea that an action can be made illegal given its context. All abuse of power issues inherently require this concept. The use of a valid power in an invalid way.

  58. 58
    piratedan says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): well if we’re splitting hairs, she wasn’t convicted on the roadside was she? Yeah, she acted boorishly and improperly and tbh, I wouldn’t want her representing me. Yet… she was tried and convicted and served her time. At what point does what she did mean that the funding for her position should be threatened because of her actions? At what point in Texas law does it state that upon conviction you should have to resign the office?

  59. 59
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mobile RoonieRoo: I have only ever set foot in Texas to change planes on my way to Europe, but I’m inclined to agree with you. I’m also pretty confident Rick Perry has peaked. Rand Paul has a smart ass streak, and I can see him having some fun on a debate stage with Perry and Christie– who if he isn’t indicted will go for it.

  60. 60

    Okay, has Fox News already blamed this on Eric Holder and President Obama yet? If not, why not?

    Yes, I know this is a Texas issue and no federal interest exists, but that’s not going to mean anything to them.

    ETA: Good backgrounder here on the whole scandal:
    http://www.texasobserver.org/e.....w-scandal/

  61. 61
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @piratedan: Again, you’re completely missing the point. I’m starting to think that’s deliberate. The problem is not the DWI. It has nothing to do with whether she served the time for that. Repeating that Texas law doesn’t mandate resignation for a felony is just repeating an irrelevancy.

    It’s that fact that, while the officers were arresting her, she threatened them for doing their jobs. I don’t care whether she served her time for the DWI. I care that a prosecutor was threatening the police for carrying out their duties. That’s an abuse of power. Any prosecutor who does that needs to resign or be forced out of the position. It’s deeply unethical and I’m dead certain that if a Republican DA did it, you’d be among the first to howl for it.

  62. 62
    JPL says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): The grand jury chose not to indict her.

  63. 63
    Helen says:

    @Turgidson:

    Too bad. I was looking forward to having Rick Perry in the clown car again

    Never fear. There will be plenty of clowns.

  64. 64
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Console: As far as I’m concerned, the governor zeroing out the funding of the Public Integrity Unit’s funding while it’s in the middle of an investigation of him ought to be an illegal abuse of power, full stop. That’s corruption. The governor calling for the head of that unit to resign under those circumstances when he has the power to appoint a replacement should also, on its face, be an abuse of power.

    But the Texas legislature, in its far less than infinite wisdom, deliberately set up a system in which he can do exactly those things. I just don’t see how saying the obvious in public turns his legal actions into a crime.

    And, about this, you’re just wrong:

    If I fire you, that’s generally my prerogative as an employer. If I fire you and then tell everyone that it’s because you’re black, then that’s illegal.

    It doesn’t become illegal because you tell someone that you fired the person because they’re black. Firing someone because they’re black is by itself illegal. The public statement has no effect on its legality; it can only provide evidence that the act was illegal. So your analogy doesn’t support your claim that the context creates the crime.

  65. 65
    Comrade Luke says:

    Man, Charles Pierce picked one helluva week to go on vacation, didn’t he?

  66. 66
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @gian:

    Well, you know, there’s a limit to three links before you’re thrown in the moderation hoosegow.

  67. 67

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    a prosecutor was threatening the police for carrying out their duties. That’s an abuse of power. Any prosecutor who does that needs to resign or be forced out of the position.

    Agreed, if that’s what’s on the video, she done wrong.

    But can you understand the larger problem of making every job funded by a continuing resolution into a role that serves at the pleasure of the governor?

  68. 68
    Helen says:

    @Comrade Luke:

    Nah – it’s not about race. Because it’s never about race.

    h/t Mr. Pierce

  69. 69
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @PhoenixRising:

    But can you understand the larger problem of making every job funded by a continuing resolution into a role that serves at the pleasure of the governor?

    Sure. I think it’s a ridiculous, corrupt setup. But it’s the ridiculous, corrupt setup that the Texas legislature decided that it wanted. The blame’s on them. I don’t see how the governor using the powers that the legislature gave him rises to the level of a crime. Sleazy, yes. Corrupt, yes. But not illegal.

  70. 70
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Comrade Luke:

    I’ve been thinking that every day! I keep checking Esquire to see if he’s back, but I guess he decided not to cut short his fishing trip.

    Ferguson, Rick Perry, Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall, the Dancing Master and My Man Chuck Todd. Five major stories just since the weekend, and I’m probably forgetting some. Not even bothering with Ukraine, Iraq or Gaza — those are sort of maintenance news.

  71. 71
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @JPL:

    The grand jury chose not to indict her.

    I don’t really care. Even if the behavior wasn’t illegal, it was wrong and merited getting shitcanned from the job.

  72. 72
    Dog On Porch says:

    @skerry: “Sentences to run consecutively. Court adjourned [banging of gavel]”. I like the brothers, too.

  73. 73

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): How do you explain the existence of the statute Perry is alleged to have violated, then? The Lege, in its infinite wisdom, intended for everyone BUT the one official with veto power to be forbidden from threatening other public officials with the loss of funding?

    The DWI actually has nothing to do with any of it. I certainly don’t endorse driving impaired or throwing your weight around. Those are bad things, and the voters certainly ought to have their say about whether they want someone who did those things to represent them. That is the point.

  74. 74
    Helen says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    shitcanned

    But didn’t she have to resign; meaning Perry could not fire her? Doesn’t this go back to your argument that Perry’s actions may have been wrong and sleezy but not illegal? And your argument that the legislature set this up?

  75. 75
    max says:

    WP eated my post containing the enitre text of the two statutes at issue. Sigh.

    Anyways, I’m with JMN. I don’t see how Perry making a veto threat constitutes coercion of a public servant in the ordinary sense. The PIU isn’t ENTITLED to funding, and they aren’t getting funding as some kind of corrupt gift, so the threat to cut the funding isn’t the ordinary kind of threat you would associate with ‘coercion’. Geez, what a mess.

    max
    [‘I tried, Coach!’]

  76. 76
    Violet says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): You don’t know. I don’t know. We don’t know. We haven’t seen all the evidence that the grand jury has. We don’t know the intricacies of the laws. The grand jury thought there was enough evidence to indict Rick Perry and that’s where we are now. There’s evidently enough evidence for that. It’s not nothing or the grand jury wouldn’t have issued indictments. It would have been dismissed.

  77. 77
    Eric U. says:

    If PA Governor Drillbit hasn’t taken bribes or some other illegal thing for the way he has gifted drilling rights to the frackers, he’s even stupider than I already think he is

  78. 78
    cckids says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Let’s face it, Lehmberg’s behavior is every bit as much an abuse of power as what Perry is accused of. If you believe that Perry should be censured for this, you really had better believe that he should have pushed for her resignation, because it’s the same basic issue

    Lehmberg did a criminal, stupid thing. She spent 45 days in jail for it, which is, apparently, MUCH longer than most first-occurence drunk drivers do. It had nothing to do with her office or the use/abuse thereof.

    Perry threatened her, using the power of his office, to try to get her to quit. Very different things.

  79. 79
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @PhoenixRising:

    The DWI actually has nothing to do with any of it.

    How many times do I have to say that it isn’t the DWI that’s the problem?

    How do you explain the existence of the statute Perry is alleged to have violated, then? The Lege, in its infinite wisdom, intended for everyone BUT the one official with veto power to be forbidden from threatening other public officials with the loss of funding?

    I haven’t found a Texas statute that actually says that.

  80. 80
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @cckids:

    Perry threatened her, using the power of his office, to try to get her to quit. Very different things.

    Lehmberg threatened the deputies, using the power of her office, to try to get them not to arrest her. Very similar things.

  81. 81
    Helen says:

    @Eric U.:

    And therein lies the problem with our politics. Years ago we did not care if a politician was corrupt, provided he (and it was always a “he” back then) was corrupt in our interest. And he almost always was. Pork was good. Now they are corrupt in the interest of the NRA, Wall Street, and corporations; any corporation. That is where it broke down.

  82. 82

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Yeah, you aren’t the prosecutor, though.

    The one public official with the power to make and carry out the threat of taking away funding is the governor.

    The statute clearly draws a line, and puts Perry’s actions on the felony side. What do you speculate to be the purpose of that law, if not to forbid this exact type of action?

    Of course you’re right, too, that all of us are all the time violating some statute or other. (Without excessive laws, it would be tough to prosecute folks for being poor, black and/or sassy to a cop.) But it’s not wrong to start at the top when enforcing those laws we probably didn’t even think through.

    Now, I live next door in NM, and we have only as many laws as we need. It’s legal to run to Gallup with my kid in the bed of my truck, as long as my dog ain’t back there with her (in city limits). That’s crazy. And it’s not well-designed.

    This entire prosecution is an example of enforcing the law on the most powerful as we do on the least among us, and therefore to be applauded.

  83. 83
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): The indictments were specific.

    Perry is allowed to veto.

    He’s not allowed to threaten an official investigating him.

    He threatened the official with defunding her investigation by veto, unless she resigned. From the Reuters article, the indictment charged him “with abuse of official capacity, a felony, and coercion of a public official, a misdemeanor.”

    She didn’t resign, he vetoed. The coercion is a misdemeanor (2-10), and is probably a slam dunk. It sure looks like the felony is provable as well.

    I’m in Massachusetts, where the previous 4 Speakers of our House have been indicted; and the current one will likely be. All for abuse of official capacity (sweetheart bids) or turning a blind eye to all sorts of graft. Finneran was caught doing EXACTLY the same offense as Perry: threatening to defund the Judiciary if the SJC went pro Goodridge (fortunately, not possible under the Commonwealth’s Constitution), though he was convicted for federal offenses.

    These are ethics laws. They’re crap law, but they are absolutely applicable, whether you like it or no. I would love to see who they get seated on that jury though…

  84. 84
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Memo to Governor Goodhair: No one buys the glasses, jackass.

  85. 85
    mikefromArlington says:

    ” that this is good news for John McCain:”

    I remember Idiotic from TPM and how we all waited for the moment to when we could all join in the THIS IS EXCELLENT NEWS!! FOR JOHN MCCAIN!!! mockery from I think Halperin’s dumb comments.

  86. 86
    iami says:

    This will not hurt Perry at all and will likely result in even more support from the GOP base.. As others here have pointed out, the DA in question was arrested and convicted of a DWI (after attempting to abuse the power of her own office to avoid arrest). Granted, she did her time, but for someone in her position it’s essentially a career-killer, and there’ve been calls for her to resign from both parties (though, of course, more-so from the GOP).

    With this new indictment from a Travis County jury (read: the elitist cesspool of liberalism that is Austin) in response to his demands with regards to another Austin Democrat, the right-wing base will just buy into the idea that this is nothing more than a politically motivated attempt to knock down Perry before he can crush the Islamofacist Hitlery KKKlinton in 2016 along with a heapin’ helping of dirty Austin hippies trying to protect another crooked DemocRAT. This sooooo fits into the fever-dream narratives of the right, while also leaving the people rooting against Perry having to explicitly align with an utterly unsympathetic “victim” in Lehmberg.

    Sadly, given the political climate in Texas, this is sort of a “win” for Perry..

  87. 87
    Radio One says:

    Rick Perry was never going to win the GOP nomination for 2016. We’re just piling on at this point.

  88. 88
    patroclus says:

    This is essentially what got Pa Ferguson in trouble in 1917, when he threatened to veto the entire University of Texas budget if they didn’t fire five professors, which he then did, just like Perry. Ferguson was a semi-populist Texas Democrat, but he was also known for giving the principal anti-women’s suffrage speech at the 1916 Democratic national convention (which re-nominated Wilson on a “He kept us out of war” platform. He beat that rap, but was later convicted of other shenanigans, which led to Ma Ferguson, Texas’ first woman governor, who, like with George Wallace, was largely a placeholder for continuing Pa Ferguson rule in the 20’s. (Which was better than the then-alternative, the Klan). Sort of.

    Perry’s a dumbass and will go nowhere nationally. But watching an indicted ex-Governor attempting to run for President will be very entertaining.

  89. 89
    bad Jim says:

    Lehmberg’s misbehavior is irrelevant. She shouldn’t have tried to throw her weight around, but she was drunk at the time. A grand jury declined to remove her from office.

    Saying “Lehmberg was bad, too!” isn’t an argument, merely a tu quoque, no better than a schoolyard taunt.

  90. 90
    Maggie May says:

    @Scott Peterson: If Perry is convicted, he will not lose his right to vote. In Texas, felons regain that right after the end of their sentence–imprisonment, parole, probation…

    Although it’s great fun to see Perry in trouble, I doubt he’ll spend time in jail. After all, Tom Delay is still a free man. And I’m not happy that we Texans are paying Rick’s legal fees.

    Still, Ted Cruz is even worse…..

  91. 91
    Fred says:

    It’s the stoopid stupid.

  92. 92
    Tonya Tipton says:

    @Arclite: Yes he has the power to veto but in Texas you can’t use that veto power to get an elected official to step down, that’s blackmail.

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