I hope and pray that my Democratic friends are outraged by yet another criminalization of political differences with the bogus criminal indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
What is this all about, you ask — in case you haven’t heard?
Well, a grand jury indicted Perry on Friday on first-degree felony charges for allegedly abusing his powers by vetoing $7.5 million of funding over two years for the unit run by Texas state prosecutors who investigate public corruption. Perry is also charged with the third-degree felony of coercion of a public servant.
Perry didn’t do this under cover of darkness; he threatened to veto the funding bill and followed up on his threat.
Why did he threaten and carry out this veto? The public integrity unit investigates allegations of corruption and political wrongdoing in Texas. The unit was overseen by Democratic Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s office. Perry said he was not about to allow a woman of Lehmberg’s character supervise an ethics department with a budget of $7.5 million of taxpayer money. “If Travis County wanted to separately fund that office,” said Perry, he would have had no objections to it.
Perry said he believed that Lehmberg had lost the public’s trust based on her behavior in connection with a drunken driving charge in 2013 and the manner in which she conducted herself throughout the ordeal.
A shocking video of Lehmberg’s arrest and her abusive treatment of the arresting officers has gone viral. The video shows her kicking the door of her cell, repeatedly protesting the injustice of her being arrested, reminding the officers what her position is, denying that she was intoxicated and accusing them of ruining her career. This woman, who must have told one officer 10 times she wasn’t drunk, registered a blood alcohol level that was almost three times the legal limit for driving a motor vehicle. She became so unruly that they eventually had to physically restrain her.
She ended up pleading guilty to the drunken driving charge in April 2013 and served about half of her 45-day prison sentence, but she refused to resign from her office when released. Though a grand jury indicted Perry for lawfully exercising his veto power, a grand jury investigating Lehmberg determined that she should not be removed from office. Go figure.
The leftist group, Texans for Public Justice, which filed the ethics complaint against Perry, claims it was not objecting to Perry’s veto. It says Perry’s wrongful misconduct was his threatening to use his veto power to pressure Lehmberg to resign.
You’re darn right he did, and properly so. He had the legal and constitutional right to both threaten to veto the bill and actually veto it. Why in the world would he not do everything in his legal power to prevent authority for that kind of funding to reside in this woman’s hands?
Perhaps the real reason Texas Democrats criminalized Perry’s legal conduct is that he has been sending unmistakable signals that he is strongly considering running again for president of the United States. Before you glibly dismiss that out of hand, consider the absurdity and outrageousness of these charges on their face. Moreover, know that the indictment was issued from the same county that issued the hideous political indictments of then-state Treasurer Kay Bailey Hutchison and then-Rep. Tom DeLay, who were later exonerated.
Even certain high-profile liberals, including former Obama presidential adviser David Axelrod and writer Jonathan Chait, have expressed their incredulity at this bizarre indictment.
Some liberals on Twitter are not so reasonable. They have suggested that Lehmberg was not acting in her official capacity when driving while drunk and when under arrest.
Really? Are you serious? It’s time to put a stake through the heart of this myth that one’s private character and one’s private conduct don’t affect her public character. But this is even truer in this case because we are talking about a woman who supervised a department whose very function centers on questions of ethics.
I defy anyone to watch these videos of Lehmberg’s conduct and tell us with a straight face that she shouldn’t have been expelled from this office immediately. I question anyone who would feel comfortable with a person of that character holding such a position. Is nothing sacred anymore?
Perry told Sean Hannity on his radio program that people should be very concerned when those who can’t win at the ballot box or in the court of public opinion resort to criminal indictments to defeat their opponents.
That is exactly right.
How would any of us like to be criminally prosecuted for partisan political purposes just for performing our job duties? This is not the America in which we grew up. This is not the America we can afford to accept.
It is time for all good Americans, irrespective of their party affiliation, to express their outrage at such Third World, banana republic tactics and demand that the rule of law be restored and partisan politics be removed from the halls of justice.
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book, “Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel,” will be released Sept. 8.
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