Some people wonder if this is a legitimate indictment. I believe it is.
Rick Perry was defunding the office of an elected official unless that elected official resigned. That elected official was of the opposing party. Rick Perry would then appoint a replacement with someone of his OWN party, who would not be elected (and in fact, would be his personal henchman). One thing I haven't heard anybody say: The voice of the people would be silenced by the power of the purse, and any governor could use it against any public official or department he chooses.
All of the pundits who are bewildered by this indictment and think it has no merit seem to forget one thing. Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg is an elected position with responsibility over the public corruption sector. Rick Perry says the people had lost faith in the person in charge of that office. That may or may not be true. However, it is an elected post. If, in fact, the people of Travis County had lost faith, they could have petitioned to recall the DA. But there is no provision for the Governor to make that determination on behalf of the DA's constituency and reverse the previously indicated will of the people at the ballot box.
If this was not just a convenient excuse for Rick Perry to capture a powerful elected office that the Republicans could not capture legitimately, we would expect to see consistency in Rick Perry's treatment of others public officials arrested and accused of crimes. Kevin Brady was a member of Congress from Texas who was convicted of DUI in 2005. He was not asked by Perry to resign. He was also a Republican. Harold Dutton was a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives convicted of DUI in 2007. He was not asked by Perry to resign. Mike Krusee was a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives convicted of DUI in 2008. He was not asked by Perry to resign. James Hawthorne, assistant police chief for the city of Arlington was charged with domestic violence in 2013. He was not asked by Perry to resign. Lubbock City Attorney Sam Medina was accused of sexually assaulting his daughter-in-law and was not asked by Perry to resign.
I mention these cases not to smear the people mentioned, but to show that it is NOT TRUE that Perry is driven by what he feels is a moral imperative. If that were the case, we would see consistency in Perry's treatment of other public officials who run afoul of the law. Lehmberg's DUI arrest, it seems to me, was used as an excuse for Perry to get rid of someone he found inconvenient:
What’s more, the Public Integrity Unit was in the process of conducting an investigation of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. CPRIT received a ton of money from the Legislature to award grants to high-level medical research projects. The problem: a lot of that money was going to people who shouldn’t have gotten it. And some of those folks had close ties to Perry. Just a few months ago, Lehmberg’s office indicted CPRIT’s former director over his allegedly improper disbursement of an $11 million grant. But when Lehmberg got pulled over with the potato juice in her car last spring, the investigation was just underway.It was also an opportunity to put his own henchman in a position to accuse Perry's enemies of corruption. Once Lehmberg was gone, Rick had the option of replacing her with a person of his own choosing. The replacement did not need ratification by the voters and did not even have to be of the same party as Lehmberg.
When Lehmberg’s DWI went public, Republicans saw a way to get rid of a pesky, entrenched foe. (Though they couched this in terms of their deep, abiding concern for the office’s integrity.) Meanwhile, Democrats who would have happily seen Lehmberg canned if the Travis County Commissioners Court could have appointed her replacement rallied around Lehmberg as if she was the last warrior for righteousness on Earth.
The line item veto is unlimited in Texas, according to Texas Politics: "In the case of appropriations bill, the governor also has the option of vetoing specific items with the line-item veto." This is how Governor Perry claims his actions are legal. However, there is nothing there that says he can defund offices of elected officials whose constituents select them to perform a given function. That may be a flaw in Texas law. But it simply can't be legal. I think about Colorado ... it is as if the Democrat governor could line-item veto the Attorney General's office or the Secretary of State's office unless he got to replace the Republican elected incumbent with a person of his own party and choosing. Any time the voters select someone who is not approved by the governor, the governor could defund the office until the voters select someone he likes. Democracy can't work that way. Line item vetoes cannot be used to thwart the vote of the people.