Rick Perry Indicted for 'Abusing His Powers'
Texas governor indicted for carrying out veto threat
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 15, 2014 6:00 PM CDT
In this Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, file photo, Texas Gov. Rick Perry delivers a speech to nearly 300 in attendance at the 2014 RedState Gathering, in Fort Worth, Texas.   (Tony Gutierrez)

(Newser) – A grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry today for 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 District Rosemary Lehmberg's office. Several top aides to the Republican governor appeared before grand jurors in Austin, including his deputy chief of staff, legislative director, and general counsel. Perry himself wasn't called to testify.

He was indicted by an Austin grand jury on felony counts of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. Maximum punishment on the first charge is five to 99 years in prison. The second is two to 10 years. Perry said Lehmberg, who is based in Austin, should resign after she was arrested and pleaded guilty to drunken driving in April 2013. A video recording made at the jail showed Lehmberg shouting at staffers to call the sheriff, kicking the door of her cell, and sticking her tongue out. Perry eventually carried out his veto threat. No one disputes that he 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 since he threatened to use his veto before actually doing so in an attempt to pressure Lehmberg to quit.

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kgc
Aug 17, 2014 1:43 PM CDT
I found his article confusing. Here is the first paragraph of an article from the New York Times that summarizes the situation. "A grand jury indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two felony counts on Friday, charging that he abused his power last year when he tried to pressure the district attorney here, a Democrat, to step down by threatening to cut off state financing to her office." Perry was trying to exercise control over the judicial branch of the government which is supposed to be independent.
kumatose
Aug 17, 2014 10:32 AM CDT
There's nothing wrong with Perry vetoing something, there is if he used his veto pen as a threat to extort. I'm guessing there's a lot of republicans that don't understand that concept, seeing as how the republican party spent so much time trying to extort President Obama into gutting ORomneyCare. And so many republicans cheered him on for doing it. Boehner even went so far as to shut down the government for it... and Obama did the right thing and stood up to him without any capitulation. That means Obama is the kind of people we want in the government, and Boehner is the kind we want in jail. If Perry did use his pen to extort a resignation from the Travis County District Attorney to keep her from doing her job and exposing his corruption, then Perry should be in jail... and not in government.
Professor59
Aug 16, 2014 10:37 PM CDT
Glasses don't even begin to make him look smart.