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Never Say Never -- the Perry Indictment

Uploaded: Aug 19, 2014
I'm not sure I've ever expressed it aloud, but I can say with certainty that I never thought I'd write a blog in support of Texas' all-star all-hat/no-cattle Governor Perry. Ever.

Oops.

That has to change. Because even a man who packed and temporarily disbanded the Texas Forensic Science Commission to impede its investigation into the very shaky arson-murder case against a father executed during his watch (and bragged about the man-bits it took to do it), deserves fair treatment by the legal system on those occasions when he does his job. His recent indictment on abuse of power charges is a dog (as they say in Texas) that just won't hunt.

The backstory is that Texas has a statewide Public Corruption Unit led by Travis County (Austin) DA Rosemary Lehmberg, which seems remarkable enough in the land just east of the Pecos (for the record, it is 'against' public corruption). Odder still, Ms. Lehmberg was arrested for drunk driving, and made an embarrassing, Alaska-size scene about it -- her blood alcohol was a mere 3X the legal limit, and it showed. She, a Democrat, refused to resign from her office.

Mr. Perry, a Republican, thereupon threatened to veto the state funding for said anti-corruption unit if she failed to step-down, and then did so when she still refused. Because he may have had many excellent reasons to want to squelch the risk associated with that office, some fellers reckoned that the veto threat was a tee-ninesy bit political, in that he might-could appoint a GOP loyalist to run that henhouse. Ms. Lehmberg remains in office, and hopefully off the streets. The anti-corruption unit limps along without the $7.5M state funding that Mr. Perry has, in fact, withheld.

Whereupon an Austin-based Grand Jury has now indicted the Governor on two felony charges, potentially worth up to 109 years in the hoosegow. There's an old saying that any worthy DA can get a Grand Jury to indict a ham sandwich – and now, we know it's true. The Governor is charged with misusing that $7.5M in public funds, and trying to coerce a public official, DA Lehmberg.

Trouble is, this case is a non-starter from the git-go. In the rather tangled web of Texas governance, the state-wide corruption unit that looks into cases involving federal, state or local officials, is housed in one particular County DA's office. The state's general fund support amounts to a substantial share of the unit's budget, which seems both odd and prone to exactly this kind of dust-up. That said, Mr. Perry was very likely within his purview as the state's Chief Exec to veto that funding, which governors do all the time, and which he did in a very public way. Veto threats, arm-twisting, and vetoes themselves are, after all, part-and-parcel of the rough-and-tumble of politics.

The real problem is that Ms. Lehmberg lobbed a vodka-soaked hanging curveball into the Governor's wheelhouse, and he gleefully crushed it. The solutions include a veto override (doubtful -- as a legislator, you don't want to ham-handedly vote to un-fund an anti-corruption bureau, but that don't mean you have to throw it a lifeline if you can let it sink), and the ballot box. Perry is not running for re-election – but he seems to have his newly bespectacled eyes set on a wider horizon beyond the burnt orange Hill Country. It's a good look, but perhaps not sufficient. We'll see.

Moreover, this kerfuffle is in line with a recent trend for losers to turn to the courts to resolve political complaints. Many of the same arguments that defend Mr. Perry are also available to the President in his legal defense against the House lawsuit, in case it's actually ever filed. I do not know whether the inclination to sue derives from the new nadir of nastiness (like it?) that pervades our politics, or from our generally litigious society, or maybe it relates more particularly to these two defendants. We can hope for the latter – and for a quick and merciless failure of these peculiar cases. Indictments and lawsuits really ought to mean something -- these do not.

There. I've done it. I feel just a little bit soiled.

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Longhorn, a resident of Foothill Farms,
on Aug 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

It's good to have a blogger relay to us the Fox News version. Here's another....

Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of another community,
on Aug 20, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Well howdy, pardner.

Actually, a better treatment of the other side is the subject of my link to the politico.com article under "many excellent reasons" in the blog. I just don't agree with it. HuffPo has also carried other opinions contrary to the one you cite. NYT, New Yorker, Nat. Review and others have weighed-in, as have other commentators.

FWIW, I rarely consult Fox, which I do not consider to be a serious news site, and I did not do so for this blog.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Herman Glates, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 20, 2014 at 12:38 pm

What's your response to HuffPo's claim that Perry, "may have tried a bit of bribery, which is why he is facing criminal charges. Not because he exercised his constitutional veto authority."

Did Perry bribe someone? What's that all about? I'd Google it, but I'm too lazy. Plus, I don't care about Perry, glasses or no glasses. After George Bush, I adopted the motto: "No New Texans."


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Aug 20, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Herm: I'm dubious. When you read the rest of that paragraph, it's multiple fact speculation from unnamed sources. The claim of bribery appears to be based on a supposed offer of an apparently more lucrative job, that his minions may or may not have made, when they met with Ms Lehmberg or didn't, on his orders or not ...

The author lists several credentials, including: "Best selling author, TV political analyst, communications and public relations expert." His website elaborates slightly: "James Moore is a New York Times best selling author, MSNBC political analyst, an Emmy winning TV news correspondent, a strategic communications consultant, and a technology start up entrepreneur."

Now, you don't need to be a lawyer to be right on the facts or the law, but he doesn't give us much to go on in the article, or many other reasons to trust his judgment. And all those important facts need to be vetted. Zen master time.

Anyway, I'd love to do more research for you, but you're probably too lazy to read it.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Peter Kluget, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 20, 2014 at 11:44 pm

After my law and order take on Ferguson you probably won't be surprised that I agree with you on this one, Tom. When lawsuits are filed over essentially political actions I think both the courts and the political arm of government are demeaned. I don't like it when you-know-who pulls it on a-certain-Kenyan-socialist-if-you-know-who-I-mean-and-I-think-you-do so they can bloviate all over the evening news and I don't like seeing it go the other way either.

On the other hand, once a lawsuit is filed I'm inclined to let the evidence come out and drive the result, rather than armchair-quarterbacking the case from afar. It may be that there are actual legal grounds for the suit (under Texas law, which I don't claim to know anything about.) My position here is simply that I question the judgment of the folks who brought the indictment. Maybe there really is a smoking gun of some sort that we just don't know about. But if it's just a PR ploy, shame on them.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by DirkaDirka, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 11:23 am

This article is a shining example of mental agility. God bless you Tom Cushing, for clearing this up. Your stance on frivolous political lawsuits is as altruistic as you buying girl scout cookies and hiding them in your desk drawer. Sometimes my goat poops in the shape of Elvis, do you know what it means? Is it a sign? Nope, just goat poop, like this stuff.

I never did drugs in college, so I don't think it's a flash back, maybe my curry was a little spicy last night, but that's it. Rabbit curry is yummy. Yep fluffy didn't make it out of the garden yesterday. That's what he got for messing with my veggies, he got the pot. Even whole foods is selling bunny now. Try it, it's low fat and low cholesterol. No I didn't mess with Ms. Bunny, just a rabbit.

Love, Dirka Dirka

Cue Klu to fire up your keyboard and find something wrong with fox news, drudge and all the rest, in a giant conspiracy to parrot conservative nonsense, I mean common sense. We wish you well singing kumbaya over an nice glass of Chardonnay and a tofu quiche for a starter. Tommy's trying to build a coalition. Buena suerte senior a la izquierda. No tenemos el tiempo para su tontería. Dice en espanol por su amigos, cortesía de la política ilegal de Barry. No es necessario que protecta la frontera, porque es su pias tabien, no. { Vulgaridad español retira} Tenga una buena dia. {Gracias}


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Never!, a resident of Apperson Ridge,
on Aug 23, 2014 at 9:51 am

Never!!!!!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Bassomatic, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 25, 2014 at 11:29 am

Corruption in Politcs??!!??? Awesome!

Just shows to go you that, "Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely".

Rick forgor to get out of his bubble scho chamber and stepped in a steaming pile of INDICTMENT! SWEET! Go Rick 2016! OOPS!

Go Austin!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 25, 2014 at 7:28 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

PK,

"Texas law?" isn't that an oxymoron?

Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Watcher, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Aug 27, 2014 at 5:15 pm

I an not a Perry supporter. However, this is exceptionally dirty partisan politics. I don't know if this was Dem Party or the 'brainstorm' of master politician Slick Willie Clinton. Current polls were showing Perry top of the heap (thus a threat to Dem nominee...LIKELY Hillary CLINTON) so he had to be knocked down. Timing NO coincidence, exactly like Christie who for several MONTHS over Xmas holidays into new year consistently lead ALL POLLS BEATING HILLARY. NO COINCIDENCE that a TOP DEM politico EASILY, called in DEM officials in 'NEW JOYSY'. Other than Christie, a state of DEM OFFICIALS, current and former, and big-time corruption. Not difficult to make something OUT OF NOTHING....DIRTY.
Both Perry and Christie were becoming threats to Hillary!! The only corruption in either case was that of the DEM politicos who are willing to lie and create anything else necessary to make sure they are 'knocked out of the polls'. ONLY a politically gullible fool would think otherwise.



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