Texas Gov. Perry says indictment is abuse of power

By Paul J. Weber, Associated Press

Published: Sat, Aug. 16, 2014, 12:00 a.m. MDT

 Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a news conference on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Austin, Texas. Perry said Saturday that the indictment against him was an \

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a news conference on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Austin, Texas. Perry said Saturday that the indictment against him was an "outrageous" abuse of power and vowed to fight it.

(AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Rodolfo Gonzalez)

AUSTIN, Texas — Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry vowed Saturday to fight a criminal indictment in a defiant response that showed an old slice of swagger that he's kept holstered lately while seeking to remake his image for a potential 2016 presidential run.

Perry called two felony counts of abuse of power issued by an Austin grand jury "outrageous" and made no apologies for his 2013 veto that prompted a criminal investigation against the longest-serving governor in Texas history.

Perry made it clear he will finish his term that ends in January and said it was the investigation against him — and not his actions — that amounted to an abuse of power. A Travis County grand jury on Friday indicted Perry for carrying out a threat to veto state funds to the local district attorney, an elected Democrat, who refused to resign following a drunken-driving arrest.

"We don't settle political differences with indictments in this country," Perry told reporters outside his office in the Texas Capitol. "It is outrageous that someone would use political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state's constitution."

Perry, the first Texas governor since 1917 to be indicted, again dismissed the charges as nakedly political and said he would not hesitate to execute a veto under the same circumstances again.

"The details of my decision-making were very clear. I said early on that I was going to clearly veto those dollars as long as they had someone in that office who I had lost confidence in," Perry said. "And I had lost confidence."

Perry's veto cut $7.5 million in funding to the state's ethics watchdog housed in the Travis County district attorney's office. A Texas state judge assigned a special prosecutor to investigate the veto following a formal complaint filed by a left-leaning watchdog group, which accused Perry of trying to leverage his power to force the resignation of District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.

That unit of public corruption investigators is based in Austin, a liberal haven in mostly conservative Texas and a city that reliably elects Democrats to serve as district attorney.

Perry said he was confident that he would prevail and vowed that those responsible for this "farce of a prosecution" would be held accountable.

Many Democrats criticized Perry's aggressive reaction to the indictment and accused him of trying to shift the blame. Yet state Sen. Wendy Davis, the face of the party in Texas who's running a high-profile campaign for governor, took a more cautious tone Saturday.

"The charges that were brought down by the grand jury are very, very serious," Davis said, adding that she trusted the justice system to do its job.

Tensions between Republicans and the public integrity unit have simmered for years. Conservatives have long grumbled that the unit operates through a partisan lens and targets Republicans.

Former U.S. House Majority Tom DeLay and former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, two Republicans, are among the biggest past names to have been indicted in Travis County on ethics charges. Hutchison was acquitted and an appeals court overturned a guilty verdict against DeLay.


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1. Jimmytheliberal
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 16, 2014

Indictment dropped if you are able to name all three branches of government Governor!

2. Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT,
Aug. 16, 2014

So for our two leading contenders for the GOP presidential nomination, one is indicted on abuse of power in Texas and the other is charged for using his office to create traffic jams over a bridge in New Jersey to punish a mayor foe.

Recruit Mitt for 2016 -- at least all he's done is invert his companies to be based in nearby small nations in the Caribbean to avoid paying taxes in America. At least that's legal! God Bless America!

3. Thid Barker
Victor, ID,
Aug. 16, 2014

Remember when Harry Reid lied about Mitt Romney and claimed Romney had not paid taxes in 10 years? This is just more of the same from the left. Democrats can't run on their record so what else have they got but to tell lies about their opponents?

4. GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA,
Aug. 16, 2014

Perry refuses to fund the Public Integrity Unit.

He’s indicted for abuse of power.

He says the courts abused their power in indicting him.

. . . Okay, but why did he have so much problem with the Integrity Unit in the first place?
Is there some integrity violation he’s trying to hide?

He’s says he won’t fund the Public Integrity Unit because the woman who leads the Public
Integrity Unit got a DUI and refused to resign her position.

Is that really it?

Was Perry really feeling threatened because a woman DA has a DUI on her record? Or was he feeling threatened by the very existence of a Public Integrity Unit.

5. not here
Aug. 16, 2014

@ Thid Barker:

Please if you would show where it was ever proven that MR Reid lied, and when did Romney so us the ten years of tax returns. And if you can do that I will get back on here and say I am sorry. Now it's your turn to put up, or and I think you know the rest.