Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rick Perry on Facing Adversity Fighting the Criminalizing of Politics

Mug shot of Tom Delay (2005)
Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) was indicted by federal grand jury in Travis County, Texas on two counts of abuse of power.  In 2013, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested for DWI with a blood alcohol level of .239 (thrice the legal limit).  Governor Perry refused to fund the Travis County D.A.'s office with $7.5 million of state funds as Mr. Perry cited a loss of confidence in the office while Lehmberg was still in office.  For publicly acting under the authority of his office as Governor, Mr. Perry potentially faces 99 years in prison.  Despite this potential outcome, Governor Perry insists that he would do it again.

Governor Perry submitted to a mug shot at the Travis County courthouse which could be mistaken for a glamour pose.  Perry followed the mirthful mien of former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX 22nd) who took a smiling mugshot when another Travis County grand jury indicted him on political charges (N.B.- Delay's conviction on trumped up campaign finance charges was overturned on appeal as there was not sufficient legal evidence for conviction).  Alas, Governor Perry did not seem to listen to "the Exterminator" Tom Delay's warnings about the Travis County D.A.'s office, as Ms. Lehmberg is in the same mold as her predecessor Ronnie Earle.

These are not the only prominent instances of the Travis County D.A. playing politics through malicious indictments.  After Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) won a special election with 67% of the vote to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Lloyd Benson (D-TX) in 1993, Travis County D.A. Ronnie Earle concocted charges of Hutchison allegedly abusing power as State Treasurer for ordering records destroyed.  Indubitably, this was meant to tarnish Hutichson's re-election bid in 1994.  But minutes after the trial got underway, the case was thrown out and the judge directed a "Not Guilty" verdict.  As former Senator Hutchison reflected at the time: "The only crime I committed was doing a great job as state treasurer and winning an election by a landslide."

Those with political aspiration should be concerned about brushes with the law, as adverse headlines can tarnish hold held political dreams.  That might explain Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg's addled obsession with the optics of being held overnight on DWI charges. But such uses of criminal charges ought to be constrained to real wrongdoing, not made up malfeasance such as using the authority of one's office to follow what an official believes is the will of the people.  Lehmberg's repeated requests to "Call Greg" (Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton) and her reminding law enforcement officers that she is the District Attorney smacks more of abuse of power than does defunding the Travis County D.A.'s office.

Progressive political players, like the George Soros funded Think Progress, have launched Battlefield Texas to try to to turn the Lone Star State blue. It is a pity that partisans in elective office seem intent to speed up the process by using their powers for transparent political purposes. 

In this constitutional Republic, we remain a nation of laws not of men.  Governor Perry acquiescing to a mug shot shows that the Governor still believes in the ultimate fairness process.  However,  do not let Rick Perry's happy face fool you, as he will vigorously fight what he believes is an unrighteous political prosecution.

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