Tags: Perry | Texas | investigation | veto | 2016

Probe Over Veto Clouds Possible Perry Presidential Run

Image: Probe Over Veto Clouds Possible Perry Presidential Run

Friday, 16 May 2014 01:03 PM

By Melissa Clyne

As pundits debate whether a criminal probe into whether Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry abused the power of his office may derail a 2016 Perry presidential bid, Texas legal experts tell The Wall Street Journal that charges seem unlikely.

Perry’s action could be viewed as a form of "political payback," according to Houston criminal defense attorney Chip Lewis, the Journal reported.

"Isn't this sort of stuff done every day in politics?" Lewis said. "That's how our sausage is made."

A grand jury is currently investigating a claim by Texans for Public Justice that Perry violated the law when he vetoed $7.5 million in funding to the Travis County Public Integrity Unit. The veto occurred after Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, refused to resign following a guilty plea to drunken driving.

Police video captured Lehmberg’s arrest, where she can be seen cursing, arguing and threatening the responding officers.

"The person charged with ultimate responsibility of that unit has lost the public's confidence," Perry said at the time of his veto, according to the Journal. Lehmberg heads the public integrity unit. Travis County includes Austin, the state capital.

University of Texas criminal law professor Susan Klein told the Journal that should charges be brought, it would be "a novel use of the bribery statute." Perry’s decision to veto the funding because of Lehmberg’s refusal to step down doesn’t rise to the level of benefit typically needed to claim bribery, she said.

Perry’s spokeswoman said the governor is confident that his actions were well within the law.

"The facts will show this veto was made in accordance with the veto power afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution," Lucy Nashed said, according to the Journal. "Neither the governor nor any member of staff met with or spoke with Ms. Lehmberg."

While Democrats, or even primary opponents, may try to use the investigation to tarnish Perry’s name, all Perry has to do is show the video of a combative Lehmberg and put his critics "in the position of having to defend the dangerous drunk," wrote Slate columnist John Dickerson.

"Perry made his threat publicly and then followed through on his word," Dickerson wrote. "If any primary opponent wants to raise this issue, perhaps by saying Perry tried to eliminate an investigation into his personal integrity, Perry need only repeat a few highlights from Lehmberg’s arrest and explain why he thought that didn’t make her fit for the job."

Dickerson said Perry will appear as a 14-year "governor taking charge" rather than "a bumbling debate participant for a few short months in 2012."

Perry ran in the GOP primary in 2012, but the nomination ultimately went to Mitt Romney, who lost in the general election to President Barack Obama.

Texas A&M presidential studies expert George Edwards III told the Journal that Perry only needs to reference old-school politics when defending his actions.

"His first line of defense will be that this is all politics and I didn't break any laws," Edwards said.

Related Stories:

© 2015 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Jeb Bush Signals Focus on Middle Class

Friday, 23 Jan 2015 21:15 PM

Jeb Bush is offering policy prescriptions to boost the country's lagging middle class as he edges toward a presidential  . . .

Cornyn Under Fire for Changing Name of Subcommittee He Heads

Friday, 23 Jan 2015 22:30 PM

Sen. John Cornyn is coming under fire for stripping the words "civil rights and human rights" from the name of a subcomm . . .

Palin: 'Of Course' I'm Interested in 2016 Election

Friday, 23 Jan 2015 21:01 PM

Republican 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin declares that of course she's interested in the 2016 presidentia . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved