Gov. Perry Defends Veto After Indictment, Democrats Call For Immediate Resignation
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is calling the criminal indictments filed against him for coercion a political play. Perry contends he was only exercising his constitutional right to threaten and then veto the budget for the state’s public integrity unit and then called the indictments a partisan attack.
On Friday Perry was indicted by a grand jury in Austin on the charges of abuse of power and coercion for publicly threatening to take away money slated for the state’s political corruption division unless Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, whose office includes the unit, resigned for a DWI conviction from earlier that year.
Speaking at the state capitol over the weekend, the governor said he intended to expose the case’s true intent.
“We don’t settle political differences with indictments in this country," Perry said. "It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to rip away from the very fabric of our state constitution. This indictment amounts to nothing more than abuse of power.”
Perry called the indictments a politically motivated farce.
“I intend to fight against those who would erode our state’s constitution and laws purely for political purposes and I intend to win," he said. "I’ll explore every legal avenue to expedite this matter and bring it to a swift conclusion. That this farce of a prosecution will be revealed for what it is and those responsible will be held accountable.”
The political watchdog group Texans for Public Justice originally filed the criminal complaint against the governor and his office and pointed out that both the state judge and special prosecutor assigned to the case are both Republicans.
Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Will Hailer called the governor’s actions a violation of the public’s trust.
“This is an unfortunate situation that we’re in and it has to change and that’s why the governor should not only be a leader of the state but the leader of his party and step down,” Hailer said.
Hailer said the governor shouldn’t be given the same consideration as any other individual facing criminal charges by being allowed to keep their job because he is the governor.
Perry said given the same circumstances he would have issued the threat and vetoed the budget again. He said he intends to use very legal option available to defeat the charge.