AUSTIN, TEXAS–A grand jury is expected to be called to investigate allegations that Texas Gov. Rick Perry abused his power when he vetoed funding for the Travis County District Attorney’s office as part of the state budget.
The veto came after Perry urged the DA to resign following an April 2013 drunk-driving incident for which she pled guilty and served time in jail, according to the Dallas Morning News.
KVUE-TV reported that Perry has hired a criminal defense lawyer.
Perry’s veto was directed at the operations of the Public Integrity Office, charged with investigating state officials and run by the Travis County District Attorney, a Democrat.
During the 2013 legislative session, lawmakers and others called on Rosemary Lehmberg to resign her seat after she was arrested for driving while intoxicated. Lehmberg pled guilty to driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to 45 days in jail. Lawmakers said Lehmberg and her office were no longer qualified to investigate questions of public integrity.
“I don’t know if you’ve seen the two videos that are out there,” the Texas Tribune reported State Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford) as saying during legislative debate at the time. “She showed incredible belligerence and disrespect.”
Video released from the police officer’s vehicle and the jail show a combative Lehmberg requiring restraint and demanding that she be allowed to speak with the Travis County sheriff, who is also a Democrat.
King proposed a legislative amendment defunding the office. Despite claiming to have majority support, he pulled the amendment down without requesting a vote when challenged by the leadership team of House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), specifically Fort Worth Republican Charlie Geren, according to the Texas Tribune.
A special prosecutor was named in August 2013 after complaints from liberal groups that Perry’s threat of a veto, which he subsequently acted on, amounted to a bribe. If Lehmberg had resigned, Perry would have been allowed to appoint a successor.
Michael Quinn Sullivan is the President of Empower Texans. Follow Michael on Twitter @MQSullivan