Politics | Texas Public Radio

Politics

Ryan E. Poppe

Wendy Davis' Republican gubernatorial opponent Greg Abbott has gone from asking for a general inquiry regarding Davis' book sales and promotional activity to launching a formal complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission.

The Abbott campaign filed the formal complaint during the first stop of Davis’ book signing tour in Austin.

In a statement, the Abbott campaign’s Matt Hirsch writes:

"Sen. Davis' book promotion has gone from ethically questionable to outright unlawful,"  

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio

Update (9/3): The debate scheduled for Sept. 30 is back on the schedule for both campaigns.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, and Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott have reached an agreement for a debate in Dallas.

Last week the Abbott campaign backed out of the event because it was formatted as a roundtable debate and they were concerned about response times.

KERA, Public Media for North Texas, was able to reach an agreement between the two campaigns by switching to a stricter debate format.

David Martin Davies / TPR News

A federal judge in Corpus Christi began hearing arguments this week in a case challenging the state of Texas’ 2011 voter ID law.

The federal case is the first of its kind in the nation, which is one of the reasons University of Texas at Austin law professor Joseph Fishkin said that it’s being followed closely by other state governments.

"I do think it’s a case that a lot of people outside of Texas are watching because it will be the first real test of the question of whether section 2 of the Voting Rights Act calls voter ID laws into any sort of question,” Fishkin said.

Travis County Jail

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s legal team has filed a constitutional challenge seeking to dismiss his two-count felony indictment.

In a writ of habeas corpus filed today, the governor’s legal team contends there are problems with separation of powers, rights to free speech, and say the penal code used to charge Perry is vague and overboard; that it doesn’t clearly define what is and isn’t permissible under the law.  

University of Texas at Austin School of Law professor Jennifer Laurin said this type of challenge has a very limited set of arguments.

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio

The state’s public integrity unit has filed a request with the governor’s office and legislative budget officials to restore funding to the agency in 2015.

But that effort may not be possible unless the unit is moved out of the Travis County district attorney’s office, which is headed by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.

State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance, said she would like to see the unit moved in 2015. In a statement, Nelson wrote that "we need to move the unit somewhere less partisan."

Texas State Library & Archives Commission

Rick Perry isn't the first Texas governor to stare down an indictment for his actions in the office. 

In 1917 the Travis County district attorney’s office filed an indictment against then Gov. Jim “Pa” Ferguson for vetoing the budget of the University of Texas.

Professor Don Carleton, who heads up the Dolph Briscoe American History Center at the University of Texas at Austin, described the political climate at the time as being a prohibition vs. anti-prohibition, rural vs. urban environment of political bosses, and Ferguson certainly was that.

Ryan E. Poppe / TPR News

The cost of Texas Gov. Rick Perry legal dream team, who is fighting his two-count indictment, isn’t one that is expected to come cheap, but the governor’s campaign has announced it will be picking up the tab.

In the last two month just prior to Perry’s indictment, the governor's office said his legal tab for one attorney was running just over $80,000. Perry has since added three more attorneys to work on his defense.

Lucy Nashed, a spokesperson with the governor's office, said the Texas taxpayers have nothing to fear regarding the cost of the case.

Ryan E. Poppe / TPR News

Indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s legal team is dismissing accusations that the governor’s veto of the state public integrity unit’s budget was related to another ongoing investigation involving the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.   

Travis County Jail

Update (8/20):  Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s legal team are waiving their client's right to an arraignment and Perry has pleaded not guilty to both felony counts involving abusing the power of his office.

Perry is charged with abuse of power, a first-degree felony punishable by 5-99 years in jail, and coercion, a third-degree felony punishable by 10 years in jail. 

rickperry.org

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s legal team said the governor’s 2013 announcement and veto of the state public integrity unit budget was the governor’s right to free speech and his desire to be transparent about his intended plans. Perry's attorneys say the court will see that the governor’s words did not constitute a threat.

In downtown Austin on Monday, just a few blocks from the state capitol, Houston attorney Tony Buzbee announced that he is Perry’s lead counsel on the case and then called the indictment "Banana Republic politics." 

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