Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Charged

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Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Charged

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New York Times wrote:AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry of Texas was indicted on two felony counts on Friday by a state grand jury examining his handling of a local district attorney’s drunken driving arrest and the state financing for a public corruption unit under the lawyer’s control.

The indictment was returned late Friday in Austin.

The investigation centered on Mr. Perry’s veto power as governor. His critics asserted that he used that power as leverage to try to get an elected official and influential Democrat — Rosemary Lehmberg, the district attorney in Travis County — to step down after her arrest for drunken driving last year. Ms. Lehmberg is Austin’s top prosecutor and oversees a powerful public corruption unit that investigates state, local and federal officials; its work led to the 2005 indictment of a former Republican congressman, Tom DeLay on charges of violating campaign finance laws.

Following Ms. Lehmberg’s arrest, Mr. Perry and his aides threatened to veto $7.5 million in state dollars for the public corruption unit in her office unless she resigned. The governor followed through on his threat, vetoing the money by stating that he could not support “continued state funding for an office with statewide jurisdiction at a time when the person charged with ultimate responsibility of that unit has lost the public’s confidence.”

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Gov. Rick Perry last week. Credit Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
Mr. Perry’s detractors said that his moves crossed the line from hard-ball politics to criminal acts that violated state laws. His aides denied that he did anything wrong and said that he acted in accordance with the veto power granted to every governor under the Texas Constitution. Ms. Lehmberg resisted calls for her to resign and remains in office.

The criminal case against Mr. Perry began when a nonprofit government watchdog group, Texans for Public Justice, filed a complaint last June accusing the governor of misdemeanor and felony offenses over his veto threat, including coercion of a public servant. A judge appointed a special prosecutor – Michael McCrum, a San Antonio lawyer and a former federal prosecutor – and the grand jury began hearing the case in April.

A number of Mr. Perry’s aides have testified in recent weeks before the grand jury, including Ken Armbrister, the governor’s legislative liaison. A previous grand jury was sworn in last year to determine whether Ms. Lehmberg should be removed for official misconduct. Its term expired, however, and it appeared to not consider the issues surrounding Mr. Perry’s threat and veto.

For Mr. Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, the criminal investigation had the potential to mar his legacy as his tenure neared an end. Along with his blustery image as a tough-talking, pistol-packing Texan, Mr. Perry has made it a point throughout his nearly 14 years as governor to tout his ethics and Christianity. He summed up his views in a book, published in 2008, about the values he learned as a Boy Scout; it was called “On My Honor.”

Mr. Perry has announced he is not seeking re-election and will leave office in January. He is considering a second run for president and has been crisscrossing the country and traveling abroad in recent months to raise his political profile and to show he has fully recovered from his unsuccessful 2012 campaign, which for a time turned him into a national punchline. Lately he seems to have rebounded, making numerous appearances on national talk shows to discuss his plan to deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to the border to stem illegal immigration and receiving high praise from conservatives on his recent trip to Iowa.

Still, Mr. Perry appeared to take the investigation into his actions in the Lehmberg case seriously, hiring a prominent defense lawyer, David Botsford, to represent him. According to information on the state comptroller’s web site, the governor’s office has paid Mr. Botsford nearly $80,000 since June.

One night in April 2013, Ms. Lehmberg was found by sheriff’s deputies with an open bottle of vodka in the front passenger seat of her car in a church parking lot in Austin and was arrested for drunken driving. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 45 days in jail.

She 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.

Mr. Perry’s critics accused him of using Ms. Lehmberg’s arrest to dismantle the public corruption squad, to thwart the investigation into the cancer-research agency and to seize an opportunity to take down a prominent Democrat.

“The governor has a legitimate statutory role in the legislative process,” said Craig McDonald, the director and founder of Texans for Public Justice, the group that filed the original complaint. “In the case of the Travis County district attorney, the governor had no authority over the district attorney’s job — a district attorney who was elected by Travis County voters and serves exclusively at their will.”

But Mr. Perry’s supporters said the accusations amounted to an attempt to criminalize politics. Republican lawmakers had attempted for years to strip the public corruption unit of state financing, accusing it of pursuing politically motivated prosecutions.

The last Texas governor to face criminal charges was James E. “Pa” Ferguson, who was indicted in 1917 by a Travis County grand jury on charges of embezzlement and eight other charges. His case also involved a veto that angered his critics: Mr. Ferguson vetoed the entire appropriation to the University of Texas because the university had refused to fire certain faculty members. The state Senate voted to impeach him, but he resigned the day before the judgment was announced.

Correction: August 15, 2014
An earlier version of this article and an accompanying summary described incorrectly the grand jury that issued the indictment against Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. It is a county, not a state, grand jury.
Link here

Oh man. It's been a rough few weeks as far as news is concerned, so I'm really glad that this story came along to lift everyone's spirits. I'm kinda sad to see him go, to be honest. I was really hoping he'd be around for 2016 so we might have some entertainment. In case anyone forgot what happened when Goodhair ran last time:

Uhhhh, the uhhhh, I can't. Oops

On the otherhand, I'm sure he'll make fewer trips to Dem-leading states and bragging about how he's "stealing their jobs" now that he's suddenly busy again.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

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Is it that unreasonable to expect the head of an anti-corruption unit to not commit any crimes? I disagree with the law in question, but it sounds like Perry was in the right to require that she resign.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

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A county grand jury? Yeah, this is going nowhere.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

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Patroklos wrote:A county grand jury? Yeah, this is going nowhere.
So Tom DeLay said back in 2006. We haven't heard much from him recently, have we? Travis county DA's have raised a lot of hell down there before.

Whether Perry gets convicted is sort of irrelevant for my money. He's out of office after January and will have to compete against Ted Cruz for the presidency. Now, though, he won't even do that. But his political career is probably over, and I think that's sort of important.
Grumman wrote:Is it that unreasonable to expect the head of an anti-corruption unit to not commit any crimes? I disagree with the law in question, but it sounds like Perry was in the right to require that she resign.
A drunk driving charge has nothing to do with anti-corruption. I'm not at all comfortable with political higher ups firing people for moral failings. If Lehmberg has actually lost public confidence, we'll know soon enough. This is why we have elections. Besides, the Travis County DA's office always elects Democrats who annoy Republicans. A political hack as mean and ruthless as Goodhair would be on the lookout for any reason to get rid of them.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

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Require her resignation, yes. Threaten to close down the program, not so much.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

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Maraxus wrote:
Patroklos wrote:A county grand jury? Yeah, this is going nowhere.
So Tom DeLay said back in 2006. We haven't heard much from him recently, have we? Travis county DA's have raised a lot of hell down there before.

Whether Perry gets convicted is sort of irrelevant for my money. He's out of office after January and will have to compete against Ted Cruz for the presidency. Now, though, he won't even do that. But his political career is probably over, and I think that's sort of important.
Grumman wrote:Is it that unreasonable to expect the head of an anti-corruption unit to not commit any crimes? I disagree with the law in question, but it sounds like Perry was in the right to require that she resign.
A drunk driving charge has nothing to do with anti-corruption. I'm not at all comfortable with political higher ups firing people for moral failings. If Lehmberg has actually lost public confidence, we'll know soon enough. This is why we have elections. Besides, the Travis County DA's office always elects Democrats who annoy Republicans. A political hack as mean and ruthless as Goodhair would be on the lookout for any reason to get rid of them.
It was not merely a drunk driving charge.

The D.A. pleaded guilty in a court of law. That goes far beyond merely "annoying Republicans".

What exactly are Perry's political opponents supposed to say? That he is a criminal because he vetoed a bill providing funding to an office whose head had plead guilty to drunk driving and refused to resign? All Perry has to do is trot our relatives of people who were killed by drunk drivers to refute the entire accusation.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

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Isn't there a mechanism in place for him to have this woman removed other than defunding her office? I would expect some kind of impeachment proceeding to be possible.

See, the desire to remove Lehmberg from office I get. But dismantling the county's anti-corruption unit is an abusive way of accomplishing that goal, and it leads one to be suspicious of his motives in wanting to make sure corruption cases were not investigated.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

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Simon_Jester wrote:Isn't there a mechanism in place for him to have this woman removed other than defunding her office? I would expect some kind of impeachment proceeding to be possible.
the threat to defund her office was right and proper.
Simon_Jester wrote: See, the desire to remove Lehmberg from office I get. But dismantling the county's anti-corruption unit is an abusive way of accomplishing that goal, and it leads one to be suspicious of his motives in wanting to make sure corruption cases were not investigated.
The motive was to get Lehmberg to do the right thing by resigning. People who are in a public integrity unit ought to, you know, have integrity.

The case is going to be framed as the governor of Texas trying to get a district attorney, who plead guilty to drunk driving, to resign.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

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amigocabal wrote:It was not merely a drunk driving charge.

The D.A. pleaded guilty in a court of law. That goes far beyond merely "annoying Republicans".

What exactly are Perry's political opponents supposed to say? That he is a criminal because he vetoed a bill providing funding to an office whose head had plead guilty to drunk driving and refused to resign? All Perry has to do is trot our relatives of people who were killed by drunk drivers to refute the entire accusation.
That doesn't "refute" anything! The District Attorney's office is an elected position. They don't serve at the governor's discretion and Perry absolutely doesn't have a legal leg to stand on when it comes to forcing her resignation. What you're talking about is political window-dressing that motivates low-level supporters.

By the by, Perry has the right to appoint Lehmberg's replacement to the DA's office while until the next election. This wouldn't be relevant if Travis was from some BFE part of the Panhandle or something. This DA's office has jurisdiction over the state capital and all the colorful characters that make up Texas government. The PIU's been really effective at going after corrupt officials like DeLay and his ilk. Incidentally, it's the most politically powerful position held by a Democrat.

Perry's been playing the drunk driving angle like a cheap fiddle, but it's not really the question at hand in this indictment.

As for removing her from office, I think the County Commissioner's Court has the authority to impeach and remove someone. I don't know the particulars though.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

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amigocabal wrote:the threat to defund her office was right and proper.
The Special Prosecutor's office clearly disagrees with this assessment.
amigocabal wrote:The motive was to get Lehmberg to do the right thing by resigning. People who are in a public integrity unit ought to, you know, have integrity.

The case is going to be framed as the governor of Texas trying to get a district attorney, who plead guilty to drunk driving, to resign.
Again, a drunk driving conviction has nothing whatever to do with prosecuting corrupt public officials. Perry's been shilling that framing for the last few months. If it hasn't caught on when he wasn't under indictment, why would it catch on now that he's been indicted?
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

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Maraxus wrote:
amigocabal wrote:It was not merely a drunk driving charge.

The D.A. pleaded guilty in a court of law. That goes far beyond merely "annoying Republicans".

What exactly are Perry's political opponents supposed to say? That he is a criminal because he vetoed a bill providing funding to an office whose head had plead guilty to drunk driving and refused to resign? All Perry has to do is trot our relatives of people who were killed by drunk drivers to refute the entire accusation.
That doesn't "refute" anything! The District Attorney's office is an elected position. They don't serve at the governor's discretion and Perry absolutely doesn't have a legal leg to stand on when it comes to forcing her resignation. What you're talking about is political window-dressing that motivates low-level supporters.
Well, he certainly can not go to court and seek an injunction requiring her to resign. I am not aware anyone claimed that Lehmberg had to resign as a matter of law.


But he can threaten to veto funding for her office unless she does so.
Maraxus wrote:By the by, Perry has the right to appoint Lehmberg's replacement to the DA's office while until the next election. This wouldn't be relevant if Travis was from some BFE part of the Panhandle or something. This DA's office has jurisdiction over the state capital and all the colorful characters that make up Texas government. The PIU's been really effective at going after corrupt officials like DeLay and his ilk. Incidentally, it's the most politically powerful position held by a Democrat.

Perry's been playing the drunk driving angle like a cheap fiddle, but it's not really the question at hand in this indictment.

As for removing her from office, I think the County Commissioner's Court has the authority to impeach and remove someone. I don't know the particulars though.
That drunk driving angle would not exist if Lehmberg, you know, did not drive drunk. One essential feature of an effective PIU is that the members must have integrity, even more so than most public officials. Lehmberg thus had a higher standard to fulfill, which she clearly failed.

Perry could not force Lehmberg's resignation. But he could promise to sign a bill providing additional funding to her office if she resigned, and he was right to do so.

As a general rule, I do not find it problematic for elected officials to use their law-given powers to pressure other elected officials to resign when those elected officials do what Lehmberg did, or worse.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

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Maraxus wrote:
amigocabal wrote:the threat to defund her office was right and proper.
The Special Prosecutor's office clearly disagrees with this assessment.
Maraxus wrote:
amigocabal wrote:The motive was to get Lehmberg to do the right thing by resigning. People who are in a public integrity unit ought to, you know, have integrity.

The case is going to be framed as the governor of Texas trying to get a district attorney, who plead guilty to drunk driving, to resign.
Again, a drunk driving conviction has nothing whatever to do with prosecuting corrupt public officials. Perry's been shilling that framing for the last few months. If it hasn't caught on when he wasn't under indictment, why would it catch on now that he's been indicted?
Having a special role in prosecuting public officials requires the utmost integrity. There is clear evidence that Lehmberg lacks the integrity necessary to have that role. Of course Perry was within his rights to use his lawful powers to provide incentives for her resignation. It is just pure common sense.

Nobody is saying it is all okay for Perry, or other governor, to use their lawful powers to attempt to get their political opponents to resign because of mere public policy disagreements. A plea of guilty to drunk driving is more than a mere policy disagreement. For someone in Lehmberg's position, it defies her office.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

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amigocabal wrote:Well, he certainly can not go to court and seek an injunction requiring her to resign. I am not aware anyone claimed that Lehmberg had to resign as a matter of law.


But he can threaten to veto funding for her office unless she does so.
That last point is, at best, ambiguous and is the reason they're having the case in the first place. So far, at least, the Prosecutor looking into the case does not agree with that assessment. Do you have some sort of reasoning behind Perry's abuse of departmental funding that suggests otherwise?
amigocabal wrote:That drunk driving angle would not exist if Lehmberg, you know, did not drive drunk. One essential feature of an effective PIU is that the members must have integrity, even more so than most public officials. Lehmberg thus had a higher standard to fulfill, which she clearly failed.

Perry could not force Lehmberg's resignation. But he could promise to sign a bill providing additional funding to her office if she resigned, and he was right to do so.
Of course! And the people on the Travis Commissioner's Court would have tossed Lehmberg out on her ass a long time ago. They're not doing it because there are, frankly, more important things at stake. In a state like Texas where the GOP has historically run roughshod over the Dems, they cannot afford to lose powerful positions like this. Considering the number of cases coming out of the PIU, including, incidentally, a Perry-allied ex-official who channeled millions of dollars to some of his big contributors, the Travis DA's office has more influence than just about any Democrat in the state. If Perry didn't have the right to appoint her replacement, and he almost assuredly would have appointed a fairly right-wing replacement, I'm sure the Travis County Dems would like to tell Lehmberg to take a short walk off a long pier. Unhappily, there are more important considerations at hand.
amigocabal wrote:As a general rule, I do not find it problematic for elected officials to use their law-given powers to pressure other elected officials to resign when those elected officials do what Lehmberg did, or worse.
I'm not sure how to address this. Like, the whole reason they're having this investigation, and the whole reason Perry's under indictment, is that the Special Prosecutor did not agree that Perry's actions were law-abiding. In fact, the bulk of the evidence so far suggests that his actions were very much illegal.
amigocabal wrote:Having a special role in prosecuting public officials requires the utmost integrity. There is clear evidence that Lehmberg lacks the integrity necessary to have that role. Of course Perry was within his rights to use his lawful powers to provide incentives for her resignation. It is just pure common sense.

Nobody is saying it is all okay for Perry, or other governor, to use their lawful powers to attempt to get their political opponents to resign because of mere public policy disagreements. A plea of guilty to drunk driving is more than a mere policy disagreement. For someone in Lehmberg's position, it defies her office.
:roll: jesus christ. You keep saying that Perry was well within his rights to use his "legal powers" to force Lehmberg's resignation when it's not at all clear that he had those powers. In fact, the evidence suggests the opposite.

Frankly, I don't put much stock into the idea that people who serve as prosecuting public officials have to be moral exemplars. It is much less important, in my mind at least, that we have moral exemplars in office so long as the prosecutor's office is efficient and effective and just. And so far, I've heard nothing to suggest that the PIU's work, before or after the scandal, has been anything other than excellent.

To me, Lehmberg's drunk driving falls under "moral character" that should ultimately be left up to the voters, not statue. I think that if the voters want to elect a drunken sot, that is their business. I don't think it matters much provided that it doesn't impact an official's ability to make sound public policy. If the voters want to throw Lehmberg out in the next election, that is completely their right. I'm not sure I'd vote to send her back to the DA's office. But I absolutely don't agree with Perry trying to force her resignation. Vetoing funding for her office because he wanted to remove her goes beyond hardball politics and crosses into the realm of illegality.

By the by, they sustained that veto. The PIU eventually got half of its funding back from the Travis County Commisioner's Court, rather than going to roads or schools or shit like that. Good thing Perry struck a blow for moral governance.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

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Maraxus wrote:
amigocabal wrote:Well, he certainly can not go to court and seek an injunction requiring her to resign. I am not aware anyone claimed that Lehmberg had to resign as a matter of law.


But he can threaten to veto funding for her office unless she does so.
That last point is, at best, ambiguous and is the reason they're having the case in the first place. So far, at least, the Prosecutor looking into the case does not agree with that assessment. Do you have some sort of reasoning behind Perry's abuse of departmental funding that suggests otherwise?
Look, Perry is not accused of threatening the veto in exchange for sexual favors. the actual conduct alleged was that he threatened to veto funding for the office of an elected official unless the elected official resigned, on the basis that the elected official plead guilty to drunk driving.
Maraxus wrote:
amigocabal wrote:That drunk driving angle would not exist if Lehmberg, you know, did not drive drunk. One essential feature of an effective PIU is that the members must have integrity, even more so than most public officials. Lehmberg thus had a higher standard to fulfill, which she clearly failed.

Perry could not force Lehmberg's resignation. But he could promise to sign a bill providing additional funding to her office if she resigned, and he was right to do so.
Of course! And the people on the Travis Commissioner's Court would have tossed Lehmberg out on her ass a long time ago. They're not doing it because there are, frankly, more important things at stake. In a state like Texas where the GOP has historically run roughshod over the Dems, they cannot afford to lose powerful positions like this.
Lehmberg should not have driven drunk in the first place.
Maraxus wrote: Considering the number of cases coming out of the PIU, including, incidentally, a Perry-allied ex-official who channeled millions of dollars to some of his big contributors, the Travis DA's office has more influence than just about any Democrat in the state. If Perry didn't have the right to appoint her replacement, and he almost assuredly would have appointed a fairly right-wing replacement, I'm sure the Travis County Dems would like to tell Lehmberg to take a short walk off a long pier. Unhappily, there are more important considerations at hand.
Lehmberg;'s presence in that office undermines its mission.
Maraxus wrote:
amigocabal wrote:As a general rule, I do not find it problematic for elected officials to use their law-given powers to pressure other elected officials to resign when those elected officials do what Lehmberg did, or worse.
I'm not sure how to address this. Like, the whole reason they're having this investigation, and the whole reason Perry's under indictment, is that the Special Prosecutor did not agree that Perry's actions were law-abiding. In fact, the bulk of the evidence so far suggests that his actions were very much illegal.
The idea that using lawful powers to convince an elected official, who plead guilty to committing crimes while in that same office, to resign is somehow abusive defies common sense.
Maraxus wrote:
amigocabal wrote:Having a special role in prosecuting public officials requires the utmost integrity. There is clear evidence that Lehmberg lacks the integrity necessary to have that role. Of course Perry was within his rights to use his lawful powers to provide incentives for her resignation. It is just pure common sense.

Nobody is saying it is all okay for Perry, or other governor, to use their lawful powers to attempt to get their political opponents to resign because of mere public policy disagreements. A plea of guilty to drunk driving is more than a mere policy disagreement. For someone in Lehmberg's position, it defies her office.
:roll: jesus christ. You keep saying that Perry was well within his rights to use his "legal powers" to force Lehmberg's resignation when it's not at all clear that he had those powers. In fact, the evidence suggests the opposite.
His power was the veto, specified in the starte constitution.

He was merely saying that he would not use his veto if Lehmberg resigned.

Maraxus wrote:Frankly, I don't put much stock into the idea that people who serve as prosecuting public officials have to be moral exemplars. It is much less important, in my mind at least, that we have moral exemplars in office so long as the prosecutor's office is efficient and effective and just. And so far, I've heard nothing to suggest that the PIU's work, before or after the scandal, has been anything other than excellent.
And for me, when we entrust people with special powers, we hold them to higher standards.
Maraxus wrote:To me, Lehmberg's drunk driving falls under "moral character" that should ultimately be left up to the voters, not statue. I think that if the voters want to elect a drunken sot, that is their business. I don't think it matters much provided that it doesn't impact an official's ability to make sound public policy. If the voters want to throw Lehmberg out in the next election, that is completely their right. I'm not sure I'd vote to send her back to the DA's office. But I absolutely don't agree with Perry trying to force her resignation. Vetoing funding for her office because he wanted to remove her goes beyond hardball politics and crosses into the realm of illegality.
It would be illegal if it were abusive. a promise not to veto the budget of an office in exchange for the resignation of one of its officials that plead guilty to drunk driving is not abusive.
Maraxus wrote:By the by, they sustained that veto. The PIU eventually got half of its funding back from the Travis County Commisioner's Court, rather than going to roads or schools or shit like that. Good thing Perry struck a blow for moral governance.
It was a well-struck blow. I would support anyone who used the threat of a veto, or the threat of a refusal to vote for legislation, to get a public official convicted of committing a crime while in office, to resign- regardless whether or not generally agreed with them on public policy matters.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

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amigocabal wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:Isn't there a mechanism in place for him to have this woman removed other than defunding her office? I would expect some kind of impeachment proceeding to be possible.
the threat to defund her office was right and proper.
Please provide justification for this claim, or withdraw it.
The motive was to get Lehmberg to do the right thing by resigning. People who are in a public integrity unit ought to, you know, have integrity.
And if the unit's ELECTED leader fails to show this integrity in a timely fashion, the entire unit should stop existing?

How the hell does that make sense? How does the governor get to require the resignation of elected law enforcement officials? And how does he get to decide to stop spending money to investigate corruption in the state capital?

This is like the fox deciding to defund the "lock-the-henhouse" program because the locksmith got caught cheating on their spouse.
amigocabal wrote:Well, he certainly can not go to court and seek an injunction requiring her to resign. I am not aware anyone claimed that Lehmberg had to resign as a matter of law.

But he can threaten to veto funding for her office unless she does so.
He could also buy a gun, walk over to her office, and start waving it around and threatening to shoot people if she doesn't resign.

Just because it is possible for him to do that doesn't make it "right and proper."
Perry's been playing the drunk driving angle like a cheap fiddle, but it's not really the question at hand in this indictment.

As for removing her from office, I think the County Commissioner's Court has the authority to impeach and remove someone. I don't know the particulars though.
That drunk driving angle would not exist if Lehmberg, you know, did not drive drunk. One essential feature of an effective PIU is that the members must have integrity, even more so than most public officials. Lehmberg thus had a higher standard to fulfill, which she clearly failed.
Cut the red herrings.

Justify your claim that it is "right and proper" to try and defund an anti-corruption unit in order to secure the resignation of its elected leader so you can replace it with your appointee.
Perry could not force Lehmberg's resignation. But he could promise to sign a bill providing additional funding to her office if she resigned, and he was right to do so.

As a general rule, I do not find it problematic for elected officials to use their law-given powers to pressure other elected officials to resign when those elected officials do what Lehmberg did, or worse.
An anti-corruption unit is a unique case because it is used to police the politicians. Politicians who even propose to defund anti-corruption units are automatically suspicious.

Again, it's like a fox who tries to defund the lock on the henhouse door. Unless you are as stupid as a box of rocks, you have got to be able to see the ulterior motive at work there.
amigocabal wrote:Look, Perry is not accused of threatening the veto in exchange for sexual favors. the actual conduct alleged was that he threatened to veto funding for the office of an elected official unless the elected official resigned, on the basis that the elected official plead guilty to drunk driving.
Yes. Which is unethical.

See, defunding the elected official's office isn't just a personal strike against the official. It's a strike against the public. It is in the interest of all Texans (including those of Travis County) that someone make sure there isn't massive raging political corruption going on in the state capital.

This is like when Chris Christie (or his staff) decided to shut down 2/3 of the lanes across a major bridge to punish some mayor for some political thing. Sure, the governor's office has the power to shut down the bridge, technically. But the bridge has uses for the public. It is not just a political bargaining chip, it is a public service, and denying the public access to it has consequences- such as people dying because of how long it takes an ambulance to cross the bridge.

It is the very definition of abuse of power for public officials to manipulate the availability, funding, or operations of important government services, in order to pursue a political agenda. Even if the agenda is "I think you are too immoral to hold office."

That is a MUCH worse abuse of the public trust than a district attorney driving drunk.

See, when we elect a district attorney, we trust them to do one thing: prosecute crimes. So long as they prosecute crimes, and do that properly and well, they're doing what we asked them to. They are doing the bare minimum of what we expect from them- correctly using the powers of their office to perform the assigned duty. Driving drunk may reflect poorly on the DA's character and mean they should not have been elected... but it doesn't mean they have failed to do the actual job the public trusted them to do. We didn't elect this DA to be sober, we elected them to prosecute cases.

Whereas it is a much greater violation of our trust for the DA to do something that results in cases not being prosecuted. Because then, the DA isn't just showing immoral character; they're showing that they will not or can not do what we asked of them, what they promised to do when we elected them.

Likewise, it is a major violation of the public trust for a governor to make public infrastructure be closed unnecessarily out of spite. Or for a governor to try and destroy the office responsible for investigating corruption among his own associates.
It would be illegal if it were abusive. a promise not to veto the budget of an office in exchange for the resignation of one of its officials that plead guilty to drunk driving is not abusive.
You keep saying that. Did you ever actually justify the claim, or is it just an arbitrary opinion on your part?
It was a well-struck blow. I would support anyone who used the threat of a veto, or the threat of a refusal to vote for legislation, to get a public official convicted of committing a crime while in office, to resign- regardless whether or not generally agreed with them on public policy matters.
So if the chair of the board of education is convicted of a crime, it is appropriate to abolish that district's school system?
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

Post by eyl »

Simon_Jester wrote:See, when we elect a district attorney, we trust them to do one thing: prosecute crimes. So long as they prosecute crimes, and do that properly and well, they're doing what we asked them to. They are doing the bare minimum of what we expect from them- correctly using the powers of their office to perform the assigned duty. Driving drunk may reflect poorly on the DA's character and mean they should not have been elected... but it doesn't mean they have failed to do the actual job the public trusted them to do. We didn't elect this DA to be sober, we elected them to prosecute cases.
I have to disagree with this bit. The DA is elected to uphold the law. Thus, it behooves the DA to uphold the law in her personal conduct. This isn't a cease of something like adultery - the DA broke the law in this case. Would you make the same argument if the person in question was the chief of police rather than the DA?
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

Post by Grumman »

Grumman wrote:I disagree with the law in question...
As it turns out, I do not disagree with the law in question. The article made it sound as if Lehmberg was arrested and charged on a technicality - "driving drunk" without either "driving" or being "drunk". This is not true. Other articles indicate that she was driving drunk in the literal sense - a witness called 911 because she was driving onto the bike path and into oncoming traffic, and she had a blood alcohol reading three times above the legal limit.

Given this, she is clearly unfit for the job, and she should have resigned. And frankly, this sounds a lot more like corruption on Lehmberg's end when she starts throwing around accusations that people were specifically trying to ruin her career - first at the cops and then at Perry - than the other way around.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

Post by Mr. Coffee »

eyl wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:See, when we elect a district attorney, we trust them to do one thing: prosecute crimes. So long as they prosecute crimes, and do that properly and well, they're doing what we asked them to. They are doing the bare minimum of what we expect from them- correctly using the powers of their office to perform the assigned duty. Driving drunk may reflect poorly on the DA's character and mean they should not have been elected... but it doesn't mean they have failed to do the actual job the public trusted them to do. We didn't elect this DA to be sober, we elected them to prosecute cases.
I have to disagree with this bit. The DA is elected to uphold the law. Thus, it behooves the DA to uphold the law in her personal conduct. This isn't a cease of something like adultery - the DA broke the law in this case. Would you make the same argument if the person in question was the chief of police rather than the DA?
She did uphold the law. She was arrested, went to court, pled guilty to the charges (i.e. she accepted responsibility for her actions), and was punished accordingly. She could have pulled a Perry and attempted to use her position to get out of the DUI charge, but instead she had enough integrity to accept responsility for her actions.

Seriously, why the fuck are some of you actually arguing in favor of removing the kind of elected official that has clearly demonstrated the meaning of integritynin order to replace them with a Perry appointed shill?
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

Post by amigocabal »

Mr. Coffee wrote:
eyl wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:See, when we elect a district attorney, we trust them to do one thing: prosecute crimes. So long as they prosecute crimes, and do that properly and well, they're doing what we asked them to. They are doing the bare minimum of what we expect from them- correctly using the powers of their office to perform the assigned duty. Driving drunk may reflect poorly on the DA's character and mean they should not have been elected... but it doesn't mean they have failed to do the actual job the public trusted them to do. We didn't elect this DA to be sober, we elected them to prosecute cases.
I have to disagree with this bit. The DA is elected to uphold the law. Thus, it behooves the DA to uphold the law in her personal conduct. This isn't a cease of something like adultery - the DA broke the law in this case. Would you make the same argument if the person in question was the chief of police rather than the DA?
She did uphold the law. She was arrested, went to court, pled guilty to the charges (i.e. she accepted responsibility for her actions), and was punished accordingly. She could have pulled a Perry and attempted to use her position to get out of the DUI charge, but instead she had enough integrity to accept responsility for her actions.

Seriously, why the fuck are some of you actually arguing in favor of removing the kind of elected official that has clearly demonstrated the meaning of integrity in order to replace them with a Perry appointed shill?
She demonstrated her integrity when she drove drunk while in office.
Simon jester wrote:He could also buy a gun, walk over to her office, and start waving it around and threatening to shoot people if she doesn't resign.

Just because it is possible for him to do that doesn't make it "right and proper."
I am sure there are various state laws against waving a gun around and threatening to shoot people.


Now here is a link to the text of the very statute Perry is accused of breaking.


http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/D ... /PE.39.htm


Note what word is missing?

"Veto"

The very absence of that word in the statute should be dispositive of the issue of whether the threat of a veto constitutes abuse of office.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

Post by Gaidin »

amigocabal wrote: Note what word is missing?

"Veto"

The very absence of that word in the statute should be dispositive of the issue of whether the threat of a veto constitutes abuse of office.
Why would that matter? Abuse of office or employment is just that, and veto is a part of Rick Perry's office. Functionally that's why the judge thought there was such an argument and appointed the special prosecutor.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

Post by amigocabal »

Simon_Jester wrote:So if the chair of the board of education is convicted of a crime, it is appropriate to abolish that district's school system?
If the crime were something like engaging in sex with underage prostitutes, then every elected official would be justified to use whatever legal and political means they have to pressure the chairman to resign if the chairman refuses to do so.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

Post by PKRudeBoy »

amigocabal wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:So if the chair of the board of education is convicted of a crime, it is appropriate to abolish that district's school system?
If the crime were something like engaging in sex with underage prostitutes, then every elected official would be justified to use whatever legal and political means they have to pressure the chairman to resign if the chairman refuses to do so.
If the crime were something like having sex with underage prostitutes, the official would probably be in jail, rendering the issue moot. The question is where to set the bar. Should politicians who have speeding tickets be forced to resign? What about ones who have admitted to drug use? Personally, I think for nonviolent misdemeanors it should be up to the voters, but I'm sure others draw the line somewhere else.
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

Post by Dr. Trainwreck »

amigocabal wrote:If the crime were something like engaging in sex with underage prostitutes, then every elected official would be justified to use whatever legal and political means they have to pressure the chairman to resign if the chairman refuses to do so.
And abuse his power in the process? Like, even in the most pro-Perry narrative, he cut down all laws to get at the devil. Why should this be tolerated in a country ruled by law?

And Simon is very correct in saying that you don't ever, never, for any reason under the sun, attack your anti-corruption agency. Like, what kind of comments would you expect from your opposition if you did this?
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

Post by Vehrec »

amigocabal wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:So if the chair of the board of education is convicted of a crime, it is appropriate to abolish that district's school system?
If the crime were something like engaging in sex with underage prostitutes, then every elected official would be justified to use whatever legal and political means they have to pressure the chairman to resign if the chairman refuses to do so.
And if the crime were Jaywalking, punishable with a 50 dollar fine, should they also force the chairman out of office?
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Re: Gov. Goodhair Perry Indicted, Felony Abuse of Power Char

Post by Maraxus »

amigocabal wrote:She demonstrated her integrity when she drove drunk while in office.
By pleading guilty, taking her sentence to completion, and continuing on with her duties? Lawmakers are human just like everyone else. It's entirely possible to be a good and decent public servant and have demons and/or make terrible mistakes. I'm not sure why you think our public servants should all be saints, but "because I say so" isn't really a good enough warrant for me. Again, if you have any evidence that her office is performing with less integrity after her arrest, I'd be more than happy to see it.
amigocabal wrote:I am sure there are various state laws against waving a gun around and threatening to shoot people.


It's Texas. Don't be so sure.
amigocabal wrote:Now here is a link to the text of the very statute Perry is accused of breaking.


http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/D ... /PE.39.htm


Note what word is missing?

"Veto"

The very absence of that word in the statute should be dispositive of the issue of whether the threat of a veto constitutes

Actually, that's really only dispositive of the notion that you have no idea what the case is about. Here are two of the four statutes Perry allegedly broke.
Sec. 36.03. COERCION OF PUBLIC SERVANT OR VOTER. (a) A person commits an offense if by means of coercion he:
(1) influences or attempts to influence a public servant in a specific exercise of his official power or a specific performance of his official duty or influences or attempts to influence a public servant to violate the public servant's known legal duty; or
(2) influences or attempts to influence a voter not to vote or to vote in a particular manner.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor unless the coercion is a threat to commit a felony, in which event it is a felony of the third degree.
(c) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (a)(1) of this section that the person who influences or attempts to influence the public servant is a member of the governing body of a governmental entity, and that the action that influences or attempts to influence the public servant is an official action taken by the member of the governing body. For the purposes of this subsection, the term "official action" includes deliberations by the governing body of a governmental entity.
Lehmberg had a legal duty to enforce public ethics laws, a legal duty made impossible by Perry vetoing funding for her office. Incidentally, coercing a public official violates Texas criminal statute and is one of the two felony counts Perry's charged with.
amigocabal wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:So if the chair of the board of education is convicted of a crime, it is appropriate to abolish that district's school system?
If the crime were something like engaging in sex with underage prostitutes, then every elected official would be justified to use whatever legal and political means they have to pressure the chairman to resign if the chairman refuses to do so.
So drunk driving and child rape are roughly morally equivalent for you? Good to know. Guess that clears up why you're being such a dingus on this topic.

Look, you clearly don't have a whole lot of love in your heart for people with DUI convictions. That's fair enough. Leaving aside that politicians are people and it's unrealistic and utterly naive to hold them to a higher moral standard than us, I'd like to know the basis for your assertions here.

1. You've asserted that Lehmberg has violated the public trust on this issue and should resign. Please provide a warrant, not an assertion as you have previously, that Lehmberg's DUI charge impacts the "public's trust." It'd also be nice to know why that's important for a public corruption unit.

2. You've asserted that Perry acted legally in firing her. The special prosecutor in Austin disagrees. Please provide some reasoning that this is so. How did defunding the PIU office do anything except unduly hamper Lehmberg's office.

3. You've asserted that public officials must be held to a higher moral standard than the rest of humanity. First, I'd like to know why that is the case. Second, I'd like to know where you draw the line between "must be publicly pennant" and "must be run out of town on a rail."


Since you clearly didn't bother to understand exactly why Perry's under indictment, here's the unsealed indictment. I'll even put it in big bold letters so you can't miss it.
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